The Navy is looking to swap the mission modules on a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the first time on an overseas deployment sometime in 2016, the admiral in charge of the program said Tuesday.
Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, the program executive officer for LCS, said planning is still in the early stages, the timing has not been finalized and must be determined by fleet commanders.
The plan is to swap the mission modules on the USS Freedom (LCS-1) around the time it’s headed to or already in Asia to replace the USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), once that ship departs to return to the United States, Antonio said on the sidelines of the Credit Suisse/McAleese defense programs conference in downtown Washington.
The Fort Worth arrived in Singapore in December for a 16-month deployment.
The Freedom would depart its San Diego homeport with an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) mission package, Antonio said. At some point during the deployment, either in Hawaii or Singapore, the Navy would remove the ASW module and replace it with one for Surface Warfare (SuW), Antonio said.
The LCS was designed to be modular so the Navy can rotate capabilities based on mission requirements within a matter of days, whether in the continental United States or in ports overseas. The service is also acquiring a third mission package for mine countermeasures, which is not scheduled to be operational until after the ASW and SuW modules.
Antonio said the purpose is to demonstrate the Navy can mobilize the swapping of a module set outside of the ships’ homeports.
The Navy plans to eventually base at least four Littoral Combat Ships in Singapore.