Somali pirates beware; the United States Navy’s newest ship is nearly operational. The U.S.S. Independence (LCS-2) is designed to operate in the littorals (the shallow waters along the world’s coastlines). It is small and stealthy; fast and agile. This relatively small, high-speed combatant will complement the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Fleet, DDG 1000 and CG(X) by operating in environments where it is less desirable to employ larger, multi-mission ships.
In today’s world, and in the foreseeable future, America will be involved in conflicts worldwide against third-world antagonists. Seldom, will the U.S. Navy have to fight the ‘deep-water’ fight. More often than not, our navy will need to operate in shallow waters around the world, dealing with cruise missile sites along the Iranian coast, chasing pirates off the lawless Somali coastline and weaving their way through the island nations of Indonesia and The Philippines. Independence and her sister ships will be there at the tip of America’s spear.
The Independence is packed full of advanced technology sensors and communications systems, manned and unmanned vehicles and weapons systems that don’t miss. She is a 417 foot long trimaran which has a draft of less than 15 feet. She has a top speed of more than 45 knots, faster than any surface ship in today’s Navy, and can easily be configured to handle a multitude of assignments from anti-submarine warfare to hunting down pirates. She is a triple-hulled, weapons-laden monster.
The U.S. Navy officially accepted delivery of the future USS Independence on December 18, 2009 from General Dynamics at the Austal shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. The ship will be commissioned on January 16 and is expected to be ready to sail by February 2010.
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