LCS CO: Freedom is ‘A Mean Looking Ship’

March 1, 2013 12:08 AM - Updated: February 28, 2013 10:45 PM
USS Freedom will deploy March 1 for Singapore with a new paint pattern inspired by World War II ship camouflage. US Navy Photo
USS Freedom will deploy March 1 for Singapore with a new paint pattern inspired by World War II ship camouflage. US Navy Photo

USS Freedom (LCS-1) leaves Naval Station San Diego, Calif. on Friday for a new deployment with a new camo paint job, courtesy of Cmdr. Pat Thien and his crew.

Thien, commander of the Freedom’s Blue crew, convinced his leadership to paint the 3,000-ton warship with a camouflage pattern borrowed from naval history.

“Between my executive officer, my Command Master Chief and one of my Operation Specialists, we did some research online,” Thien told USNI News on Thursday.
“My XO had a book on naval camouflage and we did a bunch of research and looked at some old pictures from World War II.

They found a style suited for ship’s deployment to the South Pacific – a 68 year-old pattern called Measure 32.

“Measure 32 was designed for an area where radar or acoustic detection is expected but will still confuse visual detection,” Thien said.

With the proliferation of inexpensive radar, it’s unlikely Freedom will go undetected when it operates close to shore, “but with the different colors and the different angles and shapes; it makes it harder to figure out which way the ship is coming, where she’s coming from and what target angle you’re looking at,” he said.

Thien knew he liked camouflage during a test of paint schemes for Cyclone-class patrol crafts earlier in his career.

“On a moonlit night with pretty high-speed electro-optical gear, we disappeared from sight at a surprising range, given how close we were to the sensors,” Thien said.
“From then on I was sold on camouflage schemes for ships.”

The camouflage pattern will be one of several tests during the ship’s deployment. Freedom’s trip to Singapore will be a proof of concept for the manning and maintenance plan for the class. It’s still undecided if the rest of the ships in the class will receive a similar look, a U.S. Surface Forces spokesman told USNI News.

But for now, Thien hopes the paint job on Freedom will give a potential adversary pause when his crew takes over the ship this summer.

“If there’s a mean looking ship coming at you really fast? Maybe you don’t want to be there,” Thien said.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Follow @samlagrone

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