So, defense contractor Lockheed Martin has a Flickr account. How odd. Nevertheless, the company just uploaded some photos of the new Littoral Combat Ship (the future USS Freedom, LCS-1) undergoing sea trials this week. The vessel looks kind of mean and a little bit stealthy, but what's a Littoral Combat Ship? The Wikipedia explains:
The Littoral Combat Ship is the first design of the U.S. Navy's next-generation surface combatants. Intended as a relatively small surface vessel for operations in the littoral region (close to shore), the LCS is smaller than the Navy's guided missile frigates, and has been compared to the corvette of international usage. However, the LCS adds the capabilities of a small assault transport with a flight deck and hangar large enough to base two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, the capability to recover and launch small boats from a stern ramp, and enough cargo volume and payload to deliver a small assault force with armored vehicles to a roll-on/roll-off port facility. Although the LCS design offers air defense and surface-to-surface capabilities comparable to destroyers with 57 mm guns, torpedo and missile launchers, the concept emphasizes speed, flexible mission module space and a shallow draft.
Due to its modular design, the LCS will be able to replace slower and larger specialized ships such as minesweepers and larger assault ships in anti-mine and special forces missions, plus robotic air, surface, and underwater vehicles.
Littoral Combat Ship (Flickr photoset by Lockheed Martin)
(Images by Lockheed Martin)