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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Questions raised about new Navy ships that include Little Rock namesake

Posted By on Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 11:50 AM

click to enlarge USS FREEDOM: Questions about its abilities in combat.
  • USS FREEDOM: Questions about its abilities in combat.

Do you remember  when it was announced in 2011 with great fanfare that another USS Little  Rock was in the making, one of a new class of vessels known as littoral combat ships for their ability to fight close to shore?

Problems have  emerged. The very first of this new class of ships, the USS Freedom, is to be deployed in two months. Problem: Experts fear the LCS can't survive combat and that its guns don't work right. Wired reports.

That’s the judgment of J. Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation, in an annual study sent to Congress on Friday and formally released Tuesday. Gilmore’s bottom line is that the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is still “not expected to be survivable” in combat. His office will punt on conducting a “Total Ship Survivability Test” for the first two LCSes to give the Navy time to complete a “pre-trial damage scenario analysis.” In other words, the Freedom will head on its first big mission abroad — maritime policing and counter-piracy around Singapore — without passing a crucial exam.

The second freedom class ship mentioned in the article, the USS Little Rock,  is under construction in Wisconsin. Still time for improvements and further testing.

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