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SNA 2016: Lockheed Martin's New Freedom Variant LCS Frigate Model in Details.

| 2016
SNA 2016 Show News - Lockheed Martin LCS Frigate
SNA 2016: Lockheed Martin's New Freedom Variant LCS Frigate Model in Details
By Xavier Vavasseur
During the Surface Navy Association's (SNA) National Symposium held last week near Washington DC, Lockheed Martin unveiled on the last day of the show a new scale model showing the configuration of the new Freedom variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Frigate.
During the Surface Navy Association's (SNA) National Symposium held last week near Washington DC, L-3 KEO unveiled for the first time its MK20 Mod X Electro-Optical Sensor System (EOSS) for surface vessels. Company representatives at the show told Navy Recognition that the new system is based on the proven MK20 Mod 0 EOSS already fitted aboard U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDG 51), Ticonderoga-class cruisers (CG 47) and U.S. Coast Guard Legend-class... Admiral Philip S. Davidson, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command gets briefed on the new Freedom type LCS Frigate on Lockheed Martin stand during SNA 2016
The first noticeable difference on this model (compared to the existing Freedom LCS) is the presence of 8x Harpoon anti-ship missiles fitted between the Mk 46 Mod 2 Gun Weapon Systems and the funnels. While on the other side of the 30mm guns, 2x 30 cells for Longbow Hellfire missiles are fitted. A Lockheed Martin representative told Navy Recognition at the show that "This is representative of the surface warfare package that transferred forward from the LCS design."

Another new addition is the presence of 4 Nulka decoy launchers (with two decoys in each for a total of eight). Two are located by the Harpoon launchers and two are fitted forward and above of the RHIBs davits. Nulka is a rocket propelled active decoy system designed to lure anti-ship missiles away from their intended target. Speaking of RHIBs, gone is the ramp at the stern, RHIBs are now located at the port and starboard sides of the ship and are now lowered in the water via davits. The davits are enlarged (compared to the single one present on current LCS) in order to accommodate 7 meters RHIBs. This is following feedback from LCS operations in South East Asia.

In place of the stern ramp is a variable depth sonar (for which Thales/Advanced Acoustics Concepts, Raytheon and L3 are competing). Right above the RHIBs are the "SEWIP Light" (also called Block II) electronic warfare systems. On top of the helicopter hangar is a SeaRAM launcher (according to US Navy requirement). The radar on the model is the TRS-4D from Airbus Defence and Space.

Asked if there were any changes with the mission modules, the Lockheed representative replied "because this is a multimission ship, we are carrying the surface warfare capability that is visible here on the model, and we are also carrying anti-submarine. That is what the Navy released in December of 2014, they wanted those simultaneous capabilities. Elements of the anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare mission packages are integrated permanently." Finally, we learned that there is still weight reduction studies going on across the entire platform, not just regarding the VDS. Crew complement is expected to be over 120 sailors. The Lockheed representative concluded by saying "this is the same seaframe as the first of class ship. We use the same propulsion and same hull for LCS, LCS Frigate as well as for export". At SNA 2016 Lockheed Martin unveiled the LCS design it is proposing for Saudi Arabia's SNEP II program. You can read about it here.
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