Known as LCS (Littoral Combat Ship), the USS Independence is unlike any of its previous warship contemporaries. A brainchild of the General Dynamics Syndicate, the vessel was built by the US division of the Australian conglomerate Austal.
Originally commissioned from the year 2010, the naval warship has been in active line of duty in the San Diego port since early this year.
The objectives and the uniqueness of the vessel can be underlined as follows:
- The vessel design focuses on providing naval security to those coastal areas which depend solely on the water-routes for theirday-to-day activities
- This navy warship focuses on countering any threatening activity in the shallower water parts of the aforementioned coastal areas with superior combat artillery
- The combat ship offers unmitigated protection through a multitude of state-of-the-art arsenal that includes surface arsenal, subsea mines as well as potent subs
The USS ship is the second vessel to be launched in the LCS class and is referred to as LCS-2 sequentially following Freedom, its predecessor, referred to as the LCS. In totality, the US naval ship is the sixth vessel of the United States’ navy to be christened as Independence.
The body of the warship is built of aluminium with a deadweight tonnage of over 600 tons. Contrary to the concept of a catamaran, the war vessel is a trimaran – a vessel with three parallel hulls. The concept of the trimaran has been derived from Benchijigua Express, a ship that was also built by the Austal group.
Trimarans, in spite of taking up a larger area proportion, conversely offer higher speed. Independence has the capacitance to go well over 40-45 knots with an ambit of over 3,000 miles nautically.
The US Navy vessel’s specifications can be elaborated as follows:
- The trimaran measures 418 feet lengthwise, 104 feet beam wise and 13 feet draft wise with a displacement of over 2,700 metric tons
- The vessel is manned by a crew of 40 members
- The war vessel can be manoeuvred for operations in shallower water parts, with a depth less than 20 feet
Artillery and Technology Onboard
The US Navy vessel is equipped with artillery that are assembled as per the necessity requirements of a particular operation unlike other war vessels which are mandatorily required to have certain pre-determined artillery options. The singularity of the naval ship is that it can carry out multiple naval operations without the questionability of re-outfitting itself.
The artillery fleet of the Independence can be summarised as under:
– One Sea Stallion Helicopter
– Two Seahawk Helicopters (SH-60 Class)
– Panoplied HMMVWs (Humvees)
– Stryker Vehicles
The steering and controlling of the naval ship is carried out through joysticks unlike the conventional methodology of steering wheels and the vessel is equipped with the state-of-the-art intelligence and surveillance technologies.
On the lines of USS Independence and the USS Freedom, United States is planning to widen the fleet of the LCS vessels to over 50 in number. These two ships in the interim form a crucial platform for the US naval forces to ensure thorough safety of their naval borders at all times, for the vessels to be launched in the years to come.
References: navy, dailymail