On 23 September 2006 the US Navy christened Freedom, the first littoral combat ship (LCS) during a ceremony at Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette, Wis. The nation's first Littoral Combat Ship, Freedom (LCS 1) - the inaugural ship in an entirely new class of U.S. Navy surface warships - made a spectacular side launch during her christening at the Marinette Marine shipyard. The future USS Freedom acknowledges the enduring foundation of our nation and honors American communities from coast to coast which bear the name Freedom. States having towns named Freedom include California, Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The 378-foot Freedom will be the first U.S. Navy ship to carry this class designation.
Birgit Smith served as ship's sponsor. She is the widow of Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith, who was killed in action in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The ceremony was highlighted by Smith breaking a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship, which is a time-honored Navy tradition. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen delivered the principal address at the ceremony.
A fast, agile, and high-technology surface combatant, Freedom will act as a platform for launch and recovery of manned and unmanned vehicles. Its modular design will support interchangeable mission packages, allowing the ship to be reconfigured for antisubmarine warfare, mine warfare, or surface warfare missions on an as-needed basis. The LCS will be able to swap out mission packages pierside in a matter of hours, adapting as the tactical situation demands. These ships will also feature advanced networking capability to share tactical information with other Navy aircraft, ships, submarines and joint units.
Freedom is the first of two LCS seaframes being produced. Freedom is an innovative combatant designed to operate quickly in shallow water environments to counter challenging threats in coastal regions, specifically mines, submarines and fast surface craft. The LCS is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots and can operate in water less than 20 feet deep.
Freedom will be manned by one of two rotational crews, blue and gold, similar to the rotational crews assigned to Trident submarines. The crews will be augmented by one of three mission package crews during focused mission assignments. The blue crew commanding officer is Cmdr. Donald Gabrielson, who was born in northern Minnesota and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1989. The gold crew commanding officer is Cmdr. Michael Doran, who was born in Harrisonville, Mo., and graduated from Villanova University in 1989. Upon the ship's commissioning in 2007, Freedom will be homeported at Naval Station San Diego.
In May 2004, the Department of Defense awarded both Lockheed Martin Corp., Maritime Systems & Sensors in Moorestown, N.J., and General Dynamics - Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, separate contract options for final system design, with options for detail design and construction of up to two flights of LCS ships.
In December 2004, the Navy awarded Lockheed Martin Corp. the contract for detail design and construction of the first LCS. Lockheed Martin's teammates include Gibbs & Cox in Arlington, Va.; Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette, Wis., where the ship is being built; and Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, La.
On February 16, 2010 the nation's first Littoral Combat Ship, USS Freedom (LCS 1), departed from Naval Station Mayport, FL, today for its maiden deployment, approximately two years ahead of schedule. The agile 378-foot USS Freedom, designed and built by a Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]-led industry team, deployed to the Southern Command area of responsibility. USS Freedom (LCS 1) is the first of 55 the Navy plans for a new class of ships designed to operate in coastal waters. The ship's capabilities had been demonstrated since delivered to the Navy in 2008. Freedom had sailed more than 10,000 nm, successfully completed sea trials and demonstrated performance of combat, communications and other critical systems.
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