Friday, November 27, 2015

The USS Milwaukee in Detroit.

I've been reading about these ships for a while now.  They've been building them on the Lakes since 2004 with this being the third one commissioned.
 The USS Milwaukee (LCS-5), is the third Littoral Combat Ship that was built in Marinette, Wisconsin.  Her keel was laid in October 2011 and she was launched in December 2013.  Her commissioning ceremony was in her namesake city on November 21, 2015 and she is now making her way to her homeport of San Diego, CA.  After some adjustments, she will be deployed in the South China Sea.
 The Littoral Combat ship was envisioned to be a class of ships that could operate near the coasts of enemy countries.  She was designed to be stealthy and fast.  The concept also involved mission modules that could be swapped out depending on the needs at the time.  The Milwaukee is part of the Freedom Class of Littoral Combat ships.  The other class is known as the Independence Class and are built in Mobile, Alabama.  Those ships use a trimaran design and are pretty odd looking.
 Even though I'm not entirely sold on the concept, I do like the looks of these ships.  They look pretty sleek.  The odd shapes give these ships their stealth characteristics.
 This particular design is powered by 4 1,100 Horsepower diesel engines.  These in turn power water jets which give these ships considerable maneuverability.  They also give the ship a top speed of 47 knots.  It would have been cool to see this ship doing that but I'd imagine that wouldn't be so good for some of the docks along the Detroit River.
 They have a core crew of 50 men and can be increased to 98 depending on the mission modules.
 The main gun is a 57mm BAE Systems Mk 110 gun.  This is sufficient capability for dealing with small craft (like Somali pirates) but it may find itself in trouble against larger opponents.  There is talk of equipping newer ships with a larger gun.  These ships also have two 30mm Bushmaster cannons and some 50 caliber machine guns.  For air defense there are 21 RIM-116 Rolling Airframe anti-aircraft missiles but I'm not sure how effective those are.  If there has been one main complaint leveled against this ship, it's that it is probably underpowered compared to the ships they are replacing.  Of course, with upgrades that could probably be changed.
 On the front was the first Naval Jack.
 Like I said, it is a pretty cool looking ship.
 It can also deploy an 11m rigid hull inflatable boat and a 40m high speed boat.  I believe that well is in the back of the ship.
 I kind of wish I could have seen the inside of the ship.
 I do like the looks of these ships.
 Here she is being passed by the subject of my next post.
 Some of the complaints that have been leveled against this class.  The first probably being that there have been quite a few cost overruns and they've been taking too long to construct.  They don't have a high endurance, so they have to stay fairly close to a base or replenishment ship, especially if they have to use high speed for any period of time.  There have also been some problems with the engines and overall design of the hull.
 The ship is also equipped with a helicopter deck and can carry one MH-60 Seahawk.
I'm pretty sure that many of the problems listed above will be taken care of as the Navy learns to use this design.  I have a feeling that the gun deficiency will be taken care of sooner rather than later.  At any rate, it was cool to see a Navy vessel in Detroit.

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