Innovative operating and combat systems will support USS Freedom when it deploys later this year
Until recently, the U.S. Navy has focused on getting the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) in the water. With the Lockheed Martin-led team’s LCS Freedom variant in full production, the Navy’s attention is turning toward vessel operations to see what the nation’s newest surface combatant can do on the high seas.
When the USS Freedom deploys to Southeast Asia later this year, the Navy will count on Lockheed Martin to help keep the nation’s first LCS and future ships fit for duty and ready for action. In addition to the sea frame, Lockheed Martin has developed a number of advanced systems that serve as the Freedom variant’s nerve center for operations and combat readiness.
Joe North, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of Littoral Warfare, discussed the various systems during a briefing on Jan. 15 at the 25th annual Surface Navy Association’s National Symposium in Arlington, Va.
The Freedom-variant features:
- The COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System based on Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Combat System integrates the ships’ radar, electro-optical infrared cameras, gun fire control system, countermeasures and short-range anti-air missiles.
- The MH-60R multi-mission helicopter designed and built by Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin extends the defensive perimeter to keep the ship and crew safer.
- The Remote Minehunting System being developed by Lockheed Martin will serve as the ships’ primary mine-warfare package.
Unlike the ships it’s replacing, the LCS requires minimal manning. With a core crew of 40 or so, the LCS relies on automation. Several Lockheed Martin systems will help ensure the ships’ systems operate effectively and efficiently.
- Beginning with LCS 5, Intelligent Ship Manager will manage the propulsion, electric plant, auxiliaries and engineering casualty/damage control systems, allowing one sailor to monitor them all from one central console on the bridge.
- Oculus-X autonomously monitors ship systems for maintenance issues, collecting near real-time data, recording lifetime information and playing back operational events.
- LaserNet Fines-Online uses laser technology that enables the crew to track and measure fluids in real time and instantly analyze oil, water and fuel.
To support the minimal manning, the Navy for the first time is using a contractor to perform much of the routine maintenance, repair, supply and logistical work when the ship docks.
Lockheed Martin’s integrated approach streamlines LCS’s sustainment by coordinating maintenance, planning and engineering to save the Navy significant time and money. When USS Freedom deploys, Lockheed Martin will support it with teams in Southeast Asia and the U.S., acting as a fast response team to do repairs and maintenance.