USNI News polled its writers, naval analysts and service members on what they consider the most important military and maritime stories in 2017.
The following is part of a series. Please also see Top Stories: International Acquisition, Navy Operations, Marine Corps Operations, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Acquisition, International Operations and New Administration.
2017 began with the promise of planning for a larger fleet: at the end of 2016, the Navy announced a 355-ship requirement, and the incoming Trump Administration expressed its support for a larger military and a heftier Navy. Few concrete steps were taken this year, though, to begin a buildup – though many programs that will be pivotal to the 355-ship fleet of the future reached significant programmatic milestones in 2017.
USS Coronado (LCS-4) Sailors man the rails as the ship transits the San Diego Harbor to return to homeport after an 18 month deployment on Dec. 5, 2017. US Navy Photo
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO, Calif. – With guidance from an orange tug, the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS-4) inched its way toward its berth Tuesday afternoon and wrapped up its maiden deployment after 18 months in the Western Pacific. Read More
USS Coronado (LCS-4) is underway during a photo exercise as part of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise with the Republic of Singapore and Royal Thai navies. US Navy Photo
KUALA LUMPUR – The U.S. Navy is planning to enhance naval engagement with nations across South and Southeast Asia next year, Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, the commander Logistics Group Western Pacific/Task Force 73, told USNI on Tuesday. Read More
The littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS-6) sits pierside in San Diego, Calif. US Navy Photo
This article is the second in a three-part series on the changes occurring in the Littoral Combat Ship community as the fleet rapidly grows, moves to a new crewing and organizational construct and prepares for multi-ship forward operations.
SAN DIEGO — A flurry of Littoral Combat Ship activity on the San Diego waterfront belies any thought the program is in a sleepy infancy phase.
There is more LCS activity taking place now than in the history of the program. Both Austal USA and Lockheed Martin continue to churn out new ships. All three mission packages – surface warfare, mine countermeasures and anti-submarine warfare – are in development. Several ships are in maintenance, and new crews are forming and training ahead of at least three upcoming deployments. One ship, USS Coronado (LCS-4) is operating out of Singapore today. And the crews and LCS squadrons are reorganizing themselves to maximize operational readiness. Read More
USS Coronado (LCS-4) moors in Cam Ranh Bay during Naval Engagement Activity Vietnam 2017. US Navy Photo
KUALA LUMPUR — The Tuesday firing of the Harpoon Block 1C missile off the coast of Guam by the Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado (LCS-4) formed a significant milestone as it demonstrated the LCS’s capabilities that are not possessed by other ships, in particular, its integrated air detachment and the ship’s inherent modular capabilities Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, the head of Commander Logistics Group Western Pacific/Task Force 73, told USNI News on Friday. Read More
A Firescout unmanned aerial vehicle takes off from the flight deck of the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) off the coast of Guam on Aug. 22, 2017. US Navy photo.
Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado (LCS-4) fired a Harpoon Block 1C missile off the coast of Guam this week, successfully hitting a surface target beyond the ship’s visual range, the Navy announced. Read More
The littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) is underway in formation with ships from the Royal Thai Navy as part of a division tactics exercise during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Thailand on June 3, 2017. US Navy photo.
WASHINGTON NAVY YARD – The Navy is laying the groundwork now for more complex Littoral Combat Ship operations in Asia and the Middle East, preparing to deploy two simultaneously to Singapore and one to Bahrain in 2018, the program executive officer for LCS told USNI News. Read More
USS Coronado (LCS-4) moors pierside in Langkawi, Malaysia during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2017 on March 25, 2017. US Navy Photo
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The U.S Navy’s Commander Logistics Group Western Pacific/Task Force 73 has reorganized the process for dealing with maintenance incidents for Littoral Combat Ships deployed to the Indo-Asia-Pacific, reducing turn-around time for such incidents from 15 days to four days, Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson told USNI News. Read More
USS Coronado (LCS-4) arrives at Changi Naval Base on Oct. 16, 2016. Photo by Mike Yeo Used with Permission
CHANGI NAVAL BASE, Singapore — USS Coronado (LCS-4) has arrived in Singapore to begin a scheduled rotational deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific, marking the first time the trimaran-hulled Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship has been deployed to the region. Read More
USS Freedom (LCS-1), left, and USS Independence (LCS-2) in 2012. US Navy Photo
The Pentagon’s chief weapon’s tester is throwing his weight behind a Senate recommendation for the Navy to build land-based test versions of the engineering plants for the Freedom-class and Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships, according to a Tuesday statement. Read More