USS Freedom gears up for Singapore deployment
By Sam LaGrone
First-in-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Freedom is set to depart Naval Station San Diego, California, in March 2013 en route to Singapore to begin an eight-month deployment that will test the viability of the modular LCS concept, the head of the US Navy's (USN's) surface forces told reporters on 7 January.
Vice Admiral Tom Copeman, commander, Naval Surface Forces, said the second deployment of the controversial 3,000-tonne ship would provide the basis for a future four-ship LCS deployment to Singapore.
"We're going to learn a lot of lessons from this deployment," Adm Copeman said. "Do we have the best strategies for maintaining the ship? Is our strategy for how we're going to do the crew swap correct? Logistics, maintenance, spare parts: do we have that right?"
A major consideration for the deployment will be the ability of Freedom to undergo maintenance while under way and in a forward area.
"The ship is capable of doing some minor corrective maintenance, but most of the maintenance will be conducted in the Port of Singapore," Adm Copeman said. "This ship is a little more dependent on shore infrastructure than other kinds of ships and we can't wish that away."197 of 635 words
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