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USS Independence LCS-2

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USS Independence LCS-2

USS Independence LCS-2 Graphic Rendering

USS Independence LCS-2 Side View

USS Independence LCS-2 Rear View

CSS Virginia Illustration

In my e-mail box, I found an e-mail that described, with pictures, the new USS Independence small assault transport purporting to be used as an anti-pirate vessel. Three thoughts came to my mind; The pictures do not looked Photo Shopped, is this real? If it is, look out pirates! That ship reminds me of the CSS Virginia (from the Ironclads of the Civil War, most remembered by the Battle of the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia/Merrimack). Seeing as I am skeptical of what comes in my e-mail box and the internet in general, I started researching if this is true. It is true. It was not designed primarily for piracy defense but will be used in that capacity.

The U.S. Navy christened the new warship Independence (LCS 2) on Oct. 4, 2008 during a ceremony at Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. Independence is the Navy's second littoral combat ship and features a distinctive trimaran hull. U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama delivered the principal address at the ceremony. Doreen Scott, wife of the former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry Scott, served as ship's sponsor and broke the ceremonial bottle of champagne to formally christen the ship, a time-honored Navy tradition.

Independence will be manned by one of two rotational crews, blue and gold, similar to the rotational crews assigned to Trident submarines. The crews will be augmented by mission package crews during focused mission assignments. The prospective commanding officer of the blue crew is Cmdr. Curt A. Renshaw, who was born in Louisville, Ky., and raised in nearby New Albany, Ind. The prospective commanding officer of the gold crew is Cmdr. Michael B. Riley, a native of Phoenix, Ariz.

With 11,000 cubic meters of payload volume the ship is designed with twice the objective payload and volume so that it can carry out one mission while a separate mission module is in reserve. The large flight deck, 1,030 square meters (11,100 sf), will support operation of two SH-60 helicopters, unmanned vehicles, or large CH-53 class helicopters. The stable trimaran hull will allow flight operations in high sea conditions. In addition to cargo or container-sized mission modules, the bay can carry four lanes of multiple Strykers, armored Humvees, and their associated troops. An elevator allows air transport of packages the size of a twenty-foot long shipping container that can be moved into the mission bay while at sea. A side access ramp allows for vehicle roll-on/roll-off loading to a dock. The habitability area is under the bridge with bunks for many personnel.

General Characteristics
Class and Type: Independence-class littoral combat ship
Displacement: 2,176 tons light, 2,784 tons full, 608 tons deadweight
Length: 127.4 m (417 ft)
Beam: 31.6 m (104 ft)
Draft: 4.5 m (14.76 ft)
Propulsion: 2 gas turbines, 2 diesel, 4 waterjets, retractable Azimuth thruster, 4 diesel generators
Speed: 47 knots (54 mph; 87 km/h)
Range: 4,500 nm at 20 knots
Capacity: 210 tonnes
Complement: 40 crew (8 officers, 32 enlisted)
Armament: 57 mm Bofors gun turret, 4 .50-cal guns (2 aft, 2 forward), Evolved SeaRAM 11 cell missile launcher
Aircraft carried: 2 MH-60R/S Seahawks, MQ-8 Fire Scout

For more information, check out the following links;
Wikipedia Article on the USS Independence LCS-2.
PEO Ships, U.S. Navy press release article.
Dale Designs article with more images.
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions address at the christening ceremony.

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