Tech- and fund problems: the US abandons Freedom-class warships
WASHINGTON — The US Navy has scheduled nine Freedom ships for decommissioning in the fiscal year 2023, which begins in October of this year, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Defence 24. This means a complete abandonment of this unsuccessful type of unit, and the funds saved are to be invested in the Constellation-type frigate program.
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The Americans planned to acquire a total of 16 Littoral Combat Vessel Freedom-class ships manufactured by Lockheed Martin and the same number of Independence-class ships in the characteristic catamaran arrangement built by Austal shipyards. To date, a total of 10 of these units have been completed, of which the prototype Freedom has already been decommissioned. Now it looks like the US Navy will get rid of the remaining units as well.
These ships are: USS Fort Worth [LCS-3], USS Milwaukee [LCS-5], USS Detroit [LCS-7], USS Little Rock [LCS-9], USS Sioux City [LCS-11], USS Wichita [LCS-13], USS Billings [LCS-15] and USS St. Louis [LCS-19]. In addition, 15 more units of a different type are to be withdrawn in 2023. However, LCSs are very young units. The latest was put into service in the summer of 2020. Moreover, the remaining six are at different stages of construction, including two at the stage of equipping. What will be their fate in connection with the plans to withdraw all types is difficult to say. The answer may be some kind of export via the EDA procedure.
The LCS-class ships were introduced at the beginning of the century and entered service in 2008. These units encountered numerous technical problems, and in addition, there was a shortage of funds for their task modules with weapons, as a result of which many of them never reached their full combat value and could not be used for non-patrol operations, although they were recently retrofitted with NSM anti-ship missiles.
Recently, attempts were made to find applications for the Freedom type by adding Raytheon towed sonars of the advanced AN / SQS-62 type. It turned out, however, that these towed devices are unstable when towed by a vessel of this type. The Freedom recall in 2023 and other old units of other types are expected to deliver $ 3.6 billion in savings.
The mere redirection of funds from the Freedom type to the new program of the Constellation type frigates is to be tantamount to the reinvestment of funds for this much more perspective program, based on the European FREMM type frigates. The Constellation frigates will, however, receive a different sonar to detect submarines – the Thales CAPTAS-4.
This solution is used on FREMM and British Type 23 frigates. I Type 26. The Freedom recall proposal has yet to pass through Congress, and this will be the second attempt. Earlier, in 2022, the US Navy tried to get rid of three Freedom units – USS Fort Worth, USS Detroit, and USS Little Rock, but politicians refused to do so.
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