USS Freedom demonstrates its power plant can handle vessel’s sensors and electronics
U.S. Navy personnel and a team of industry companies led by Lockheed Martin in Bethesda, Md., powered up the nation’s first littoral combat ship, USS Freedom (LCS 1), to demonstrate that the on-board electric plant can deliver the power required by the warship’s advanced sensors and electronics systems.
By Courtney E. Howard
MARINETTE, Wis.—U.S. Navy personnel and a team of industry companies led by Lockheed Martin in Bethesda, Md., powered up the nation’s first littoral combat ship, USS Freedom (LCS 1), to demonstrate that the on-board electric plant can deliver the power required by the warship’s advanced sensors and electronics systems.
The Freedom passed “light off” or initial operation testing of the ship’s four 750-kilowatt Fincantieri Isotta Fraschini diesel generators and its 3-megawatt electrical power plant. Each generator was loaded to its full power capacity and synchronized to achieve the power levels necessary to support the combat ship’s operations at sea.
The ship’s power quality was determined to be sufficient for delivering the electrical power necessary for all ship systems and sensors to operate continually and effectively. Freedom’s electric plant is now functional and capable of supporting all tests, evaluations, and operations at sea—a significant milestone for the first ship in its class.
Freedom was designed and built by a Lockheed Martin-led industry team to assist the U.S. Navy in future littoral, or close-to-shore, operations. The team outfitted the LCS 1 with a survivable, semi-planing steel monohull to ensure the ship’s agility and maneuverability. The 377-foot Freedom can cruise faster than 40 knots and can operate in water shallower than 20 feet. “Freedom is a fast, maneuverable, and networked surface combatant with operational flexibility to execute focused missions, such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, and humanitarian relief,” says a Navy representative.
Freedom’s large deck is a platform from which manned and unmanned vehicles are launched and recovered. A Trigon traversing system assists in moving helicopters in and out of the hangar, whereas boats are launched and recovered via a stern ramp or a crane and a starboard side door.
The ship’s modular design supports interchangeable mission packages; LCS 1 can be reconfigured for antisubmarine warfare, mine warfare, or surface warfare missions as needed. In addition to a mission module bay, the ship has a modular weapons zone that supports a 57-millimeter gun turret or missile launcher. Further, a Rolling Airframe Missile launcher provides short-range defense against aircraft and cruise missiles.
U.S. Navy personnel christened and launched Freedom at the Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, Wis., last September.
Personnel from naval architect Gibbs & Cox in Arlington, Va.; ship builders Marinette Marine, a subsidiary of The Manitowoc Company Inc., and Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, La.; and various other domestic and international technology firms combined efforts with Lockheed Martin engineers to deliver this new and agile warfighting tool.
Freedom continues to undergo outfitting and testing at Marinette Marine. The new warship will be delivered to the U.S. Navy this year and will be homeported in San Diego.
The second LCS, named Independence, is under construction at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. General Dynamics Corp. is building Independence to a different design than that of Freedom. For more information, visit Lockheed Martin online at www.lmlcsteam.com.