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Navy’s new littoral combat ship is stuck in ice in Canada


US Navy littoral combat ship USS Little Rock Buffalo
Crew
members of the littoral combat ship USS Little Rock man the rails
during the ship’s commissioning ceremony, in Buffalo, New York,
December 16, 2017.

(US Navy/Lockheed
Martin)


  • The Navy’s new littoral combat ship, USS Little Rock,
    was commissioned on December 16 and planned to head for open
    ocean the next day, with stops along the way.
  • Its departure was delayed, and it has been stuck in
    Montreal since arriving there.
  • The Little Rock is the fifth Freedom-class littoral
    combat ship to enter service and the most recent ship to enter
    service for the Navy.

The US Navy’s latest littoral combat ship, USS Little Rock, was
commissioned in Buffalo, New York, on December 16
and scheduled to depart the following day for its home port at
Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida.

Unfortunately for the Navy’s newest commissioned warship, the
weather has not been cooperative.

The ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Todd Peters, decided
to delay the departure from
Buffalo for three days because weather conditions on Lake Erie.
It left on December 20, traveling through the Welland Canal to
reach Lake Ontario and then through the St. Lawrence Seaway for a
regularly scheduled stop in Montreal.

Photos posed on the ship’s Facebook page on December 27 showed it
had made it to Montreal. The ship was scheduled to leave the
next day for Halifax, Nova Scotia and then reach open ocean by
December 30.

However, because of ice and a lack of tug boats to guide it out,
the Little Rock remains in Montreal, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Courtney
Hillson, public affairs officer for the US Naval Surface Force
Atlantic, told Business Insider on Thursday.

While in Montreal, the ship’s crew has done routine repair work,
including on a cable associated with the ship’s steerable
waterjet, which is part of the propulsion system. That system
has caused problems for other
littoral combat ships.

Those repairs were completed on January 4, Hillson said, and in
the days since the crew has been doing routine work to “ensure
readiness” for any future taskings.


US Navy littoral combat ship USS Little Rock St. Lawrence Seaway ice
US
Navy littoral combat ship USS Little Rock heading toward
Montreal, December 27, 2017.


USS
Little Rock/Facebook



The Little Rock is the most recent ship to enter service for the
US Navy, commissioned two days after the USS Portland, a San
Antonio-class amphibious transport dock. The Little Rock is the
fifth Freedom-class littoral combat ship to join the fleet. There
are also five Independence-class littoral combat ships in
service.

The vessel is 389 feet long and has a draft of 13.5 feet,
according to a Navy fact sheet. It has a
top speed of over 45 knots and displaces about 3,400 tons with a
full load.

It has a modular design that allows it to carry out
anti-surface, anti-mine, and anti-submarine operations, and the
ship’s approximately 70 sailors are trained to perform a number
of tasks. It is outfitted with a helicopter pad, a ramp for small
boats, and can carry and deploy small assault forces.


US Navy littoral combat ship USS Little Rock
The
littoral combat ship USS Little Rock is launched into the
Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin, after a christening
ceremony, July 18, 2015.

US
Navy


Its flight deck is the largest of any US Navy surface combatant, and its
armaments include an MK 31 Rolling Airframe Missile System, an MK
110 57 mm gun, crew-served and small-caliber guns, and other
weapons systems that can be tailored to specific missions.

The ship is scheduled for more training and combat-systems
testing in 2018, Peters, the ship’s commanding officer, told The Buffalo News.

The ship’s crew completed a previous round of assessments
scheduled for 121 days in only 63 days.

Once the
next round of testing and training is finished, the ship will
start conducting missions, according to The Buffalo News.

While the Little Rock’s current problems are caused by
nature, it has been waylaid by manmade issues in the past.

In September 2016, the Navy halted all littoral
combat ship operations after the fourth accident in the span of a
year. The halt also prompted the Navy to have leaders at the
Navy’s Surface Warfare Officer’s School review the littoral
combat ship training program and recommend changes if they saw
fit.

Congressional leaders have criticized the
littoral-combat-ship program. Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain
has blasted the growing cost of the ships as a “classic example” of defense
acquisition gone awry. McCain and others also expressed frustration when the
White House intervened in May to include an extra littoral combat
ship in the Navy’s 2018 budget request.


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