U.S. Navy orders a second Trimaran Littoral Combat Ship

U.S. Navy orders a second Trim...
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The first trimaran LCS under construction at Austal USA
The first trimaran LCS under construction at Austal USA
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December 21, 2006 The U.S. Navy has approved funding for the construction of a second General Dynamics trimaran version of Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) featuring an innovative, high-speed trimaran hull. The 127-meter surface combatant LCS is intended to operate in coastal areas of the globe, and will be fast, highly manoeuvrable and geared to supporting mine detection/elimination, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, particularly against small surface craft. The LCS's large flight deck sits higher above the water than any U.S. Navy surface combatant and will support near-simultaneous operation of two SH-60 helicopters or multiple unmanned vehicles. The ultra-stable trimaran hull allows for flight operations in high sea conditions. In addition, the deck is suitable for landing the much-larger H-53 helicopters, should that become a future requirement. The Littoral Combat Ship will have one of the largest usable payload volumes per ton of ship displacement of any U.S. Navy surface combatant afloat today, providing the flexibility to carry out one mission while a separate mission module is in reserve.

The General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship design is based on a proven Austal high-speed trimaran hull that is currently operating at sea. The first trimaran LCS, INDEPENDENCE (LCS 2), is under construction at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama.

The General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship's open architecture computing environment enables industry's most capable, affordable, non-proprietary solutions to be incorporated into the ship's core mission system. This computing environment, developed by the General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems team, provides a highly flexible information technology backbone that allows "plug and play" integration of both the core systems and the LCS mission modules.

It meets Navy open architecture requirements, strictly adheres to published industry standards and facilitates the integration of commercially available products. It allows for future growth and seamlessly integrates domestic and foreign combat components to create a core mission system solution that dramatically lowers acquisition and lifecycle costs.

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I like the ship design and layout, but can't wrap my head around an aluminum single-skinned hull on a warship. Call me superstitious. The layout makes me think they would be of use to the Coast Guard, as well, perhaps in a smaller version. I viewed the video of the Independence maneuvering capabilities and was left wanting. That video could only make sense to a captain of a ship, who knows that theirs could never handle like that. To the regular human, who is exposed to ski boats and jet-skis, the video is like a 50x slo-mo of any vehicle they've piloted.