USS Independence

lcs_independence

LCS or Littoral Combat Ships is the new class of surface vessels in the Unites States’ Navy.In 2000,Planning for a class of small, multipurpose warships to operate in the littoral zone began.The littoral zone is the part of a sea, lake or river that is close to the shore,the depth of the water is less in these areas.As a result of which,big ships cannot sail through such water due to the draft restrictions.The same applies to Naval vessels which have a high draft.The LCS class vessels are designed to sail in shallow waters where the conventional Naval vessels can’t.

The First ship of the LCS Class, The USS Independence was laid down at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, on 19 January 2006.The USS Independence was delivered to the Navy at the end of 2009.

The General Dynamics Independence Class design is a trimaran with a slender stabilised monohull.The USS Independence is 418-foot (127-meter) long and 104 ft(31.6 m) wide.It has surface combatant design  & requires a crew of 40 sailors.It uses two outriggers which move the displacement upwards and reduce the wetted surface. The shaping of the hull gives reduction in signature detection thereby allowing it a certain degree of stealth.

1502015The Austal team who designed the trimaran hull  of the USS Independence believe that such a design offers significant passenger comfort and stability advantages over both a catamaran and a monohull.With 11,000 cubic meters of volume,it can carry enough payload to carry out one mission with a separate mission module in reserve, allowing the ship to do multiple missions without having to be refitted.

The USS Independence  carries a default armament for self-defense, and command and control.However,its multimodul capability means that it can carry different modules which may consist of manned aircraft, unmanned vehicles, off-board sensors, or mission-manning detachments.

On board are integrated LOS Mast, Sea Giraffe 3D Radar and SeaStar Safire FLIR.The H-60 series helicopter carried in the USS Independence provide airlift, rescue, anti-submarine, radar picket and anti-ship capabilities with torpedoes and missiles.It is equipped with  the Raytheon Evolved SeaRAM missile defense system is installed on the hangar roof. The SeaRAM combines the sensors of the Phalanx 1B close-in weapon system with an 11-missile launcher for the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), creating an autonomous system.

Powered by a whopping 2× MTU Friedrichshafen 20V 8000 Series diesel engines, 2x General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, 2x American VULKAN light weight multiple-section carbon fiber propulsion shaftlines, 2x LJ160E and 2x LJ150E Wärtsilä waterjets,retractable bow-mounted azimuth thruster & 4× diesel generators,it can surf at a top speed of 44 knots (51 mph; 81 km/h).

The USS Independence has  a vast array of onboard sensors like SAAB Sea GIRAFFE 3D air and surface search radar,Sperry Marine BridgeMaster E navigational radar,AN/KAX-2 electro-optical sensor with TV and FLIR & Northrop Grumman ICMS (Integrated Combat Management System)

unknown 41The USS Independence is armed to the teeth with 1 AGM-175 Griffin (Modified to function on a ship),1x BAE Systems Mk 110 57 mm gun,4× .50-cal guns (2 aft, 2 forward),2x Mk44 Bushmaster II 30mm chain guns,1x Raytheon SeaRAM CIWS & Other weapons as part of mission modules.Electronic warfare can be easily dealt with by its ITT Corporation ES-3601 ESM system,4× SRBOC decoy launchers for chaff and infrared decoys & BAE Systems NULKA active radar decoy system.

The USS Independence carries 2× MH-60R/S Seahawk & the MQ-8 Fire Scout.The USS Independence has a range of 4,300 nm at 18 knots.

The USS Independence along with its sister ships of the same LCS class like the USS Freedom and many more on order, are a hint of the future of the most powerful Navy in the world,the United States Navy.The LCS Ships will play a decisive role in any operation with their multi role capabilities.