The Navy will decommission Littoral Combat Vessels the USS Little Rock (LCS-9) and the USS Detroit (LCS-7) this week, ending a month earmarked by the decommissioning of six war vessels to close FY 2023.
Two Freedom-class LCSs, based in the Naval Station Mayport, are among the youngest vessels in the US fleet. The Littoral Combat Ships have less than ten years of service experience. Little Rock was commissioned in 2017, and Detroit in 2016. They will be transferred to other nations as foreign military sales cases, per USNI News.
Little Rock has been operating in the U.S. 4th Fleet since late August, and Deroit was reportedly deployed two weeks ago, per social media posts from each vessel.
The pair of vessels joined other Freedom LCS and guided-missile Ticonderoga-class cruisers that the Navy had marked for decommissioning in 2022.
Champlain (CG-57) decommissioned on 1 September, the Milwaukee (LCS-5) on 11 September, the San Jacinto (CG-56) on 15 September, and the Bunker Hill (CG-52) on 22 September. Yet another cruiser, the Mobile Bay (CG-53), was decommissioned on 10 August. The cruisers, slowly being phased out of the fleet, will be scrapped and moved into the mothball fleet and scrapped eventually.
The Navy has been striving to decommission many ageing cruisers every fiscal year, with 22 Ticonderoga-class vessels scheduled to be decommissioned starting in 2022. The sea service planned to decommission the cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG-69) in 2023 despite being well-modernized to prolong sea life, an assignment that cost the Navy over $600 million.
Congress safeguarded USS Vicksburg in the National Defense Authorization Act of FY 2023, even though the Navy put it back on the decommissioning list in its FY 2024 budget request.
Cowpens (CG-63), Shiloh (CG-67), Antietam (CG-54), and Leyte Gulf (CG-55) are up for decommissioning following the FY 2024 request, with six more non-cruisers.
Champlain, Bunker Hill, San Jacinto, and Mobile Bay have served over 30 years in this fleet.
Bunker Hill’s legacy is a testament to national security.
The service has not released its yearly inactivation memo that reportedly outlines the decommissioning schedule and the fate of hulls.
The Littoral Combat Ships that belong to the Freedom class have been a major point of contention in the US Navy since the commissioning, with the vessels mostly decommissioned way earlier than originally planned. The vessels were likely to be able to serve about 25 years.
The Navy asked to decommission two Littoral Combat vessels that belong to the Independence class in the FY 2024 request – Jackson (LCS-6) and Montgomery (LCS-8.). Both were meant for foreign military sales, per the Navy’s shipbuilding plan.
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