USS Freedom Reaches Major Milestone Towards Maiden Deployment

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    USS Freedom Performs First Carrier Strike Group Operations
    UNITED STATES - 8 APRIL 2010

    USS FREEDOM, At Sea -- The U.S. Navy's first littoral combat ship (LCS) recorded another milestone April 7, as USS Freedom (LCS 1) performed integrated at-sea operations with the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Carrier Strike Group (CSG).

    USS Freedom, Vinson, USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7) conducted a series of training evolutions for the better part of the day, including communications drills, refueling and replenishment at sea, a surface gunnery exercise and a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) exercise.

    The evolutions provided confirmation of the ability of LCS to integrate into strike group operations.

    "The opportunity for Freedom to work with a carrier strike group for the first time is icing on the cake of our first operational deployment," said Cmdr. Randy Garner, Freedom's commanding officer. "We are demonstrating how Freedom and future littoral combat ships are capable of working as part of a CSG when needed."

    USS Freedom wasn't the only ship to benefit from the operations, said Capt. Bruce Lindsey, Carl Vinson's commanding officer.

    "Operating with other ships is part of how we build our proficiency and expertise as Sailors," said Lindsey. "The opportunity to work with the Freedom is both new and unique. The training evolutions conducted by CSG 1 (Carl Vinson CSG) ships and Freedom provided a tremendous opportunity to lay the foundation for future strike group operations and integrated deployments."

    The ships began the day with a series of communications and tactical picture exercises. From there, an SH-60 Sea Hawk from Carl Vinson brought Rear Adm. Ted Branch, commander of the Carl Vinson CSG, and Capt. Donald Hornbeck, Carl Vinson CSG's deputy sea combat commander and Destroyer Squadron 1, for a visit.

    "Freedom provides unique and tailored combat capabilities with the ability to meet littoral tasking not previously seen in our Navy," said Branch. "The range of surface operation capabilities is impressive and a welcome addition to the fleet."

    Later, USS Freedom refueled from Carl Vinson - the first time an LCS has refueled from an aircraft carrier.

    Following a surface gunnery exercise involving Freedom and Bunker Hill, the day's events concluded with a reaction team of Sailors and Coast Guardsmen from Freedom conducting a VBSS exercise using Bunker Hill as the boarded vessel.

    Despite having conducted a number of real world boardings during operations in 4th Fleet, the exercise with Bunker Hill was good practice, according to Lt. Cmdr. Mel Pucan, officer-in-charge of Freedom's tailored LCS Surface Warfare Mission Package (SWMP).

    "We're always looking for opportunities to improve our efficiency in maritime interception operations," said Pucan.

    LCS is a fast, agile and maneuverable ship designed to complement the Navy's larger multimission surface combatants in select mission areas, including combating submarines, mines and fast-attack craft threats in the littorals.

    More than two years ahead of schedule, USS Freedom began its maiden deployment Feb. 16 and is embarked with a SWMP, an air detachment from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22 from Norfolk and a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment. USS Freedom is scheduled to complete its deployment and arrive in its homeport of San Diego in late April 2010.

    PACIFIC OCEAN (April 7, 2010) The U.S. Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), right, performs tactical maneuvering exercises with the Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7), the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1).
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    PACIFIC OCEAN (March 31, 2010) A response team of Sailors and U.S. Coast Guardsmen from the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) prepares to apprehend a "go-fast" vessel intercepted by USS Freedom and its embarked MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter in the eastern Pacific Ocean. USS Freedom seized the vessel and four suspects and recovered one ton of cocaine during counter-illicit trafficking operations in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility.
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    PACIFIC OCEAN (March 31, 2010) A response team of Sailors and Coast Guardsmen from the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) question four suspected drug smugglers after their "go-fast" vessel was intercepted by USS Freedom in the eastern Pacific Ocean. USS Freedom seized the vessel and four suspects and recovered one ton of cocaine during counter-illicit trafficking operations in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility.
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    PACIFIC OCEAN (March 31, 2010) U.S. Coast Guardsmen sort bales of cocaine dumped overboard by suspected drug smugglers in the waterborne mission zone of the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1). The cocaine was dumped overboard by suspected drug smugglers in a "go-fast" vessel. USS Freedom seized the vessel and four suspects and recovered one ton of cocaine during counter-illicit trafficking operations in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility.
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    PACIFIC OCEAN (April 7, 2010) Members of a visit, board, search and seizure team assigned to the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) conduct tactical exercises in a rigid-hull inflatable boat. USS Freedom is conducting anti-illicit trafficking operations.
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    PACIFIC OCEAN (April 7, 2010) The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) is underway in the Pacific Ocean. USS Freedom is conducting counter-illicit trafficking operations.
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    PACIFIC OCEAN (April 7, 2010) An U.S. Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter assigned to the "Sea Knights" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22 flies over the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1). USS Freedom is supporting Southern Seas 2010, a U.S. Southern Command-directed operation.
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    PACIFIC OCEAN (April 7, 2010) The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) conducts a tactical exercise in the Pacific Ocean. USS Freedom is supporting Southern Seas 2010.
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    PACIFIC OCEAN (April 7, 2010) Members of a visit, board, search and seizure team from the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) conduct tactical exercises aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52). Freedom and Bunker Hill are supporting Southern Seas 2010, a U.S. Southern Command-directed operation.
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    PACIFIC OCEAN (April 7, 2010) Members of a visit, board, search and seizure team from the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) conduct a training exercise with an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the "Sea Knights" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22. Freedom is conducting counter-illicit trafficking operations.
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    PACIFIC OCEAN (April 7, 2010) Members of a visit, board, search and seizure team from the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) conduct tactical exercises aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52).
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    Video: U.S. Navy USS Freedom (LCS 1) Structural Test Firing

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    USS Freedom to Arrive in San Diego
    UNITED STATES - 19 APRIL 2010

    SAN DIEGO -- The U.S. Navy's first littoral combat ship (LCS), USS Freedom (LCS 1), will arrive in San Diego April 23, after completion of her maiden deployment.

    USS Freedom departed Mayport, Fla., Feb. 16 for operations in the U.S. 4th Fleet and U.S. 3rd Fleet Areas of Responsibility (AOR).

    The ship conducted counter-illicit trafficking operations, making four successful interdictions that netted more than five tons of cocaine, seized two "go fast" drug vessels and took nine suspected smugglers into custody.

    In addition to independent operations, Freedom successfully integrated with USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Carrier Strike Group for high-speed operations, re-fueling at sea, surface gunnery events and visit, board, search and seizure evolutions.

    USS Freedom also conducted joint maneuvers with USS McInerney (FFG 8) and Fire Scout, the frigate's embarked unmanned aerial vehicle.

    During the deployment, USS Freedom completed theater security cooperation port visits to Cartagena, Colombia; Panama City, Panama; and Manzanillo, Mexico. In each port, the crew conducted several community outreach events and participated in numerous professional exchanges with partner nation navies.

    The LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused ship that demonstrates the latest in naval technology. The ship is specifically designed to defeat threats in shallow, coastal water regions, including surface craft, diesel submarines and mines. LCS features an interchangeable modular design that allows the ship to be reconfigured to meet mission requirements.

    Crew members are part of an innovative manning construct that reduces crew size, demanding each Sailor maintain high levels of proficiency in multiple fields. These "hybrid" Sailors are part of two rotational crews, "blue" and "gold" that optimize ship operability. Detachments embarked during deployment to supplement the core crew include the Surface Warfare Mission Package; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, Detachment 2, based in Norfolk, Va.; and a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment.

    USS Freedom will help provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the sea and humanitarian/disaster response within U.S. 3rd Fleet's 50-million square mile AOR in the Eastern Pacific, as well as supporting the nation's Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.
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    USS Freedom Successfully Concludes Historic Maiden Deployment
    UNITED STATES - 23 APRIL 2010

    SAN DIEGO -- The U.S. Navy's first littoral combat ship (LCS), USS Freedom (LCS 1), concluded its successful maiden deployment with arrival its homeport of San Diego April 23.

    The historic deployment, the first for a ship of the class, came over two years ahead of schedule, taking the ship to three countries and through the U.S. 4th Fleet and U.S. 3rd Fleet Areas of Responsibility (AOR).

    While underway, Freedom conducted counter-illicit trafficking (CIT) operations, making four successful interdictions that netted more than five tons of cocaine, seized two "go fast" drug vessels and took nine suspected smugglers into custody. In addition to independent operations, the ship successfully integrated with USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Carrier Strike Group, performed exercises with partner navies and conducted joint maneuvers with USS McInerney (FFG 8) and Fire Scout, the frigate's embarked unmanned aerial vehicle.

    "Freedom's homecoming, after a successful maiden deployment, is a significant milestone for the surface Navy and the future of surface warfare," said Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis, commander, Naval Surface Force Pacific. "This is a special day for the Freedom crew, the entire LCS program and the great city of San Diego. As a team they performed magnificently and worked hard to complete their missions in support of the Maritime strategy. We have learned many important lessons from this early deployment that will be applied to future LCS fleet operations."

    Arrival in San Diego comes five years after the ship's keel was laid in Marinette, Wis., and 18 months after commissioning in Milwaukee.

    "The deployment was an opportunity that most had waited for several years to see come," said Cmdr. Randy Garner, Freedom's commanding officer. "The many lessons we learned will serve us well in the future, and I am very proud to have been part of the teamwork and focus that all onboard demonstrated."

    After departing Mayport, Fla., Feb. 16, Freedom conducted CIT operations in the 4th Fleet AOR. In less than three weeks of at-sea operations, Freedom made four drug seizures – symbolized by four "snowflakes" adorning her bridge wings – and recovered more than 5 tons of cocaine.

    "It's awesome to have those snowflakes on the hull," said Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Patrick Johnson, a coxswain for the Surface Warfare (SUW) Mission Package who drove Freedom's 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boats during the drug interdictions. "I'm excited about what we've done, and I want to continue doing it."

    From there, Freedom engaged in theater security cooperation port visits to Cartagena, Colombia; Panama City, Panama; and Manzanillo, Mexico. In each port, Freedom's Sailors interacted with their partner-nation counterparts and participated in community relations projects that benefited local neighborhoods.

    Throughout the deployment, Freedom broke new ground in operations with other Navy ships and partner nation forces. In addition to working with the Colombian Navy and Panamanian Public Forces, Freedom operated at sea with the Mexican Navy frigate ARM Nicolas Bravo (F 201).

    The ship also engaged in its first strike group operations with the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group for high-speed operations, re-fueling at sea, surface gunnery events and visit, board, search and seizure evolutions. Prior to entering the 3rd Fleet AOR, Freedom conducted joint maneuvers in the Eastern Pacific with the guided-missile frigate USS McInerney (FFG 8), which carried the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle. McInerney and Freedom also conducted adjacent CIT patrols in the region.

    "The opportunity for Freedom to work with a carrier strike group for the first time was icing on the cake of our first operational deployment," said Garner. "We demonstrated how Freedom and future littoral combat ships are capable of working as part of a strike group when needed."

    Garner was quick to offer credit to the embarked units that accompanied his Gold Crew throughout the deployment. The SUW Mission Package was joined by Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, Detachment 2, based in Norfolk, Va., and a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment.

    "Success in counter-narcotics trafficking missions takes several teams to come together in short order and each of our detachments did exactly that," said Garner. "We were very fortunate to have the group that we did and it shows in the success they enjoyed."

    The men and women of Freedom echoed their commander's pride in having completed their mission successfully.

    "I did not expect anything less from our crew - this is the way they have always performed," said Freedom Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Anthony Decker. "As for our detachments, we wouldn't have had the success we had without their expertise and help. They have been phenomenal."

    After performing a crew swap – with the Gold Crew turning over to the Blue Crew, commanded by Cmdr. Kris Doyle – and undergoing maintenance, Freedom will resume operations in summer 2010 by journeying to the International Fleet Review at Esquimalt, British Columbia, and participating in the 2010 Rim of the Pacific exercise.

    The first ship of the revolutionary LCS program, USS Freedom is a fast, agile and maneuverable ship designed to compliment the U.S. Navy's larger multimission surface combatants in select mission areas, including combating submarines, mines and fast-attack craft threats in the littorals.


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    SAN DIEGO (April 23, 2010) Friends and family members of Sailors aboard the U.S. Navy's first littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) wave flags and signs to greet them after completion of her maiden deployment. USS Freedom successfully conducted operations including counter-illicit trafficking and port visits to Columbia, Panama, and Mexico in support of global maritime security.
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    UNITED STATES - 8 JUNE 2010

    Naval Aviation Systems Command (NAVAIR), X-21 Detachment, and Northrop Grumman pilots complete the first successful flight of the AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) integrated into the MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division (Florida). The objectives of the test were to measure ALMDS performance and conduct post mission analysis and tactics verification.
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    U.S. Navy's ALMDS Conducts Successful Flight Testing
    UNITED STATES - 28 JUNE 2010

    (Washington, June 25, 2010) -- Program Executive Office Littoral and Mine Warfare's (PEO LMW) Mine Warfare Program Office (PMS 495) successfully conducted the first updated systems flight test for the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS), June 8, at Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Panama City.

    This test, the first in a series of 44 flights scheduled for fiscal 2010, marked the completion of a year long multi-phased software/algorithm update to improve ALMDS detection performance.

    "Primary focus of the program over the last year has been on software/algorithm upgrades to improve the probability of detection and classification, as well as to decrease false contacts - each are critical system performance parameters," said Danny Georgiadis, ALMDS assistant program manager. "The government/industry team significantly improved the automatic target recognition algorithms which contribute to improved performance. This first flight is a monumental milestone as we prepare the program for operational evaluation in the third quarter of fiscal 2011."

    With successful demonstration of improved performance this year, ALMDS will enter final developmental testing in early fiscal 2011, operational evaluation expected late fiscal 2011, and initial operational capability anticipated in the first quarter of fiscal 2012.

    The AN/AES-1 ALMDS is a laser-based, airborne mine countermeasures (MCM) system providing high area coverage. This system uses streak-tube imaging and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) to detect, classify, and localize floating and near-surface moored mines. ALMDS is a key component of the MCM Mission Package designed to be operated from the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

    "This system provides state-of-the-art technology to the warfighter. Because LIDAR data is much different than legacy RADAR and SONAR data, I've required my team to pay particular attention to training and getting the end-user involved early," said PMS 495 Program Manager, Donna Carson-Jelley. "Fleet feedback on a low-rate, initial production test can have tremendous impact on the end result, and the pilot and aircrew feedback loop is very healthy within the ALMDS program. Sailors are flying the system onboard the MH-60S helicopter, and conducting post-mission analysis today. Our goal in the Mine Warfare Program Office is always to deliver on our promise, and to provide capability to the Fleet as soon as it can make a difference."

    An affiliated program executive office of the Naval Sea Systems Command, PEO LMW designs, delivers and maintains systems, equipment and weapons needed by the warfighter to dominate the littoral battle space, and provides the warfighter assured access.
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    Mikros Systems Completes Live Demonstration of ADEPT to U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Officials
    UNITED STATES - 30 JULY 2010

    PRINCETON, N.J. | Mikros Systems Corporation (OTC Bulletin Board: MKRS), announced today the successful demonstration of their Adaptive Diagnostic Electronic Portable Test set (ADEPT) at the US Coast Guard Training Center in Petaluma, California. The demonstration took place on Tuesday, July 20, and Wednesday, July 21.

    Attendees from the US Navy and Coast Guard saw live demonstrations of ADEPT system and its ability to perform maintenance on the TRS-3D radar. The TRS-3D radar is the main air surveillance radar on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the latest surface combatant being fielded by the US Navy. There are two LCS class ships in service and the Navy plans a fleet of approximately 55 ships. Mikros engineers also demonstrated the remote operation and distance support capabilities of ADEPT.

    Mikros President Tom Meaney remarked, "This is an important milestone for the ADEPT program. The distance support capabilities of ADEPT fit well with the maintenance plans for the Littoral Combat Ship and other programs. As we continue to fulfill our $26 million IDIQ contract by fielding ADEPT Units in Navy cruisers and destroyers, important Navy and other defense personnel are experiencing first-hand the efficiencies and benefits of our ADEPT system. As a result of our ability to improve mission readiness and the performance of important shipboard electronic systems, we expect other programs and even other branches of the service to take notice. We continue to believe that ADEPT will be a huge program for us for many years to come."


    Source: Mikros Systems Corporation