The U.S. Navy has decommissioned the 2010-built USS Independence (LCS 2), the first Independence variant Littoral Combat Ship.
The Independence, which was designed to have a service life of 25 years, is being retired early along with the USS Freedom (LCS 1), the first Freedom variant LCS commissioned in 2008, due to budget constraints related to updating its systems to match other ships in the class. Freedom is due to be decommissioned later this year.
In a statement, the Navy described the USS Independence as a “test and training ship” that was key to “developing the operational concepts foundational to the current configuration and deployment of LCS.”
“The Independence crew shouldered a heavy responsibility. Since the ship’s introduction into the fleet we asked her to serve for a specific purpose; to test emerging equipment and concepts,” said Kitchener. “The crew accomplished that and so much more. Without their efforts and experiences, the ship class would not be where it is today with six ships deployed throughout the world. Those improvements, made largely in part due to this crew’s experience and input, will continue to carry the LCS class into the future.”
USS Independence maintained a crew of nine officers and 41 enlisted sailors. The ship, an aluminum trimaran design, was built by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama and commissioned January 16, 2010, making the ship only 11 years old despite its 25-year expected service life.
“Decommissioning of LCS 2 supports department-wide business process reform initiatives to free up time, resources, and manpower in support of increased lethality,” the Navy said. “The LCS remains a fast, agile, and networked surface combatant, designed to operate in near-shore environments, while capable of open-ocean tasking and winning against 21st-century coastal threats.”
In its Fiscal Year 2021 budget submission, the Navy had proposed retiring the first four LCSs early.
After the decommissioning of Independence, 22 littoral combat ships remain in service to the fleet. The Independence and Freedom are expected to join the Navy reserve fleet.
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