|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Includes three etched frets|
USS Freedom (LCS 1) is the lead ship of the Freedom class of littoral combat ships (LCS). She is the third vessel of the United States Navy to be so named for the concept of freedom. She is the design competitor produced by the Lockheed Martin consortium, in competition with the General Dynamics-designed USS Independence. She was officially accepted by the Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast on behalf of the US Navy from the Lockheed Martin/Marinette Marine/Gibbs and Cox team in Marinette, WI on 18 September 2008.
She is designed for a variety of missions in shallow waters, capable against submarines and ships, as well as minesweeping and humanitarian relief. The ship is a semi-planing monohull design capable of over 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph).
Commissioned in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 8 November 2008, USS Freedom is home-ported in San Diego, California.
On 15 February 2010, Freedom set sail from Naval Station Mayport on its first deployment to support SOUTHCOM operations. On 22 February, off the coast of Colombia, the ship pursued a possible drug-running boat. The boat fled back into Colombian coastal waters and Freedom's crew recovered 1/4 ton of cocaine that had been dumped overboard by the boat's crew.
On 4 April 2010 Freedom entered the 3rd Fleet area of responsibility. She is currently carrying Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Det. 2, a LCS Surface Warfare Mission Package, and a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment.
She is expected to be dry docked in San Diego’s Nassco shipyard so that her outer starboard waterjet can be replaced.
On 12 September 2010, the starboard Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine broke down and the ship had to rely on her diesel engines to return to port. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead said that the media had overhyped the issue and that such breakdowns were not uncommon.
During a heavy-weather ocean trial in February 2011, the ship sprung a six-inch crack in its hull that leaked 5 gallons of water an hour. The Navy is investigating. The problem appears to be due to faulty welds rather than a design error. The repairs are scheduled to begin on 27 June 2011 and last until September 19.
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