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Asia-Pacific Shift: U.S. Deploys First Combat Ship To Singapore

Published: April 23, 2013
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Source: Stars and Stripes

The U.S. Navy’s first littoral combat ship USS Freedom arrived in Singapore on Thursday to officially begin its maiden overseas deployment.

The first-in-class ship departed San Diego on March 1 and had port visits in Hawaii, Guam and the Philippines en route to its new home, according to a Logistics Group Western Pacific statement.

The Freedom will participate in exercises, visit foreign ports, conduct maritime security operations and allow the LCS Council — a working group established in August by chief of naval operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert — to evaluate crew rotation, maintenance plans and the program as a whole.

“We plan on spending most of our time here in Southeast Asia — this will be Freedom’s neighborhood for the next eight months,” commanding officer Cmdr. Timothy Wilke said in the statement. “We are eager to get out and about, work with other regional navies and share best practices during exercises, port visits and maritime security operations.”

The LCS program has been under scrutiny since shortly after it was launched in 2002 to replace the Navy’s aging fleet of Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, Avenger-class mine countermeasure ships and Osprey-class coastal mine hunters. It was plagued by years of cost overruns and structural deficiencies that included hull cracks, corrosion and system failures.

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