While the nation’s fifth littoral combat ship (LCS), PCU Milwaukee, awaits upcoming trials in Marinette, Wisconsin, the pre-commissioning Crew 111 kicked off Crew Familiarization Training in San Diego, California, at the LCS Shore Based Training Facility. This phase of the training pipeline teaches the distinct skills required for LCS, including a comprehensive overview of the entire ship and its major systems. Crew 111 has already completed its first phase of training, during which sailors honed the required skills for systems and duties common between LCS and other ships within the fleet.
At the training facility, cutting edge simulation capabilities are combined with shipboard tactical software, bringing a level of fidelity that allows the crewmembers to complete many training certifications before actually spending time onboard a sea frame.
“As the Navy begins training for Milwaukee and follow-on ships, we have implemented best practices and lessons learned from the first two Freedom-class littoral combat ships across our training curriculum,” said Joe North, vice president of Littoral Ship Systems at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training. “These improvements enhance the sailors’ understanding of the littoral combat ships’ next-generation capabilities and how they will operate while deployed.”
Since crews began training on the nation’s first LCS, USS Freedom, Lockheed Martin has implemented changes to the curriculum based on sailors’ experiences on board the ships during training and deployment. One improvement included providing the initial familiarization phase to all 40 PCU Milwaukee crewmembers. On past ships, including USS Freedom and USS Fort Worth, only five crewmembers completed this initial phase, and their feedback led to an extended training period with the full crew.
During the training, the crew conducted a walkthrough of equipment such as the Aegis-derived COMBATSS-21 command and control system, which constitutes the backbone of the ship’s open architecture combat suite. They also worked with the ship’s computing environment and communications suite to become familiar with the systems in advance of operational underway periods.
Following Crew Familiarization, sailors head to various locations around the country to prepare for their unique duties and responsibilities through the Navy’s training pipeline, where they will receive specialized training for legacy and new systems. Additionally, the crew will undergo shore-based training to complete extensive team exercises focusing on operational scenarios, communications and watch-standing. Upon completion of this shore-based training, they will report to Marinette, Wisconsin, for final training on board PCU Milwaukee.
LCS crews are unique because their assignments encompass a primary set of roles and responsibilities, along with additional tasks outside their positions, leading to diverse cross-training opportunities among the sailors. To augment operations and reduce the crew’s workload, the LCS ship class was designed with greater automation throughout.
The future USS Milwaukee, LCS 5, was awarded in 2010 to the Lockheed Martin-led team. Construction began in 2011 and she was launched and christened in December 2013.
May 29, 2014