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Library-Littoral Combat Ship

Littoral Combat Ships

Aluminum extrusions are contributing to the mission of the US Navy's latest vessels — the Littoral Combat Ships — quick, agile, surface combatants operating close to shore.

The LCS are designed to be speedy, flexible, relatively inexpensive, and operate with shallow draft. They are easily reconfigurable for varying roles, ranging from anti-submarine warfare to reconnaissance, maritime intercept, and special operations. In addition to standard armaments, they can accommodate 2 Seahawk helicopters, launch/recover small boats, and deploy a small force of armoured fighting vehicles. The first LCS, the USS Freedom, was commissioned in November 2008, and the second — and first trimaran design — the USS Independence was commissioned on January 16, 2010.

With design criteria stressing agility, it's not surprising that extruded components, with their high strength and light weight, play an important role in the LCS program. Among other applications, truss sections, joined with friction stir welding, are used for decking, and T-sections, again joined via friction stir, are incorporated in the hull and superstructure.

The Littoral Combat Ship is smaller, sleeker, faster — meant to be the future of U.S. Navy combatant ships. Go onboard for a tour of the Navy’s newest toy, the USS Independence.