USS Little Rock LCS 9

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Page last updated: 15 August, 2023

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USS Little Rock LCS 9
at completion of Sea Trials

All the Latest News...  with the most recent news listed first!

September 29, 2023

07 Aug 2023

Message from XO
CDR Phillip Galindo
USS Little Rock LCS 9

Please pass this message along to the USS Little Rock Association members. It has been confirmed, the ship will decommission on 29 September 2023. We are working details for the day of the event and will provide them soon.

The Officers and Crew of USS Little Rock would be honored by your presence at the decommissioning ceremony celebrating USS LITTLE ROCK's short, but proud life of service. Please save the date of 29 September 2023. Formal invitations and detailed coordinating instructions to follow soon.


To view your invitation please click the link below.
If you are unable to click on the link please copy and paste the address into your web browser.

(Posted on Little Rock website 15 AUG 2023)

USS Little Rock LCS Spared For Now As Navy Debates Options
Warship Class Troubled by Propulsion Issues

05 May 2023

By Ron Plants
Military News

Navy officials have been frustrated with the Freedom variant of the Littoral Class of ships like the Little Rock because of frequent breakdowns and other issues. Littoral means they were originally designed to be deployed close inshore for surface warfare, anti-submarine, and other missions.

But for now, it is currently assigned to a drug interherediction mission off the coast of South America. It has a crew of over 100 with a special Coast Guard law enforcement unit and assigned helicopter to help other nations in a task force to search boats and ships suspected of being involved with drug trafficking.

A Navy press release says "The Ship's size, speed, and agility make 'LCS' ideal for narcotics interdictions, partner engagements, and port access."

The USS Little Rock LCS 9 is now based in Mayport, Florida with the US 4th Fleet and US Southern Command.

(Posted on Little Rock website 07 Jul 2023)

USS Little Rock Deploys to Support Regional Cooperation and Security

29 Mar 2023

Story by: Lt. Anthony Junco, Commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron TWO

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. (March 29, 2023) - The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Little Rock (LCS 9), along with the "berzerkers" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 Detachment 5 and U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 106, departed from Naval Station Mayport Mar. 29, to support U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations.

Little Rock will support counter-illicit trafficking in the Caribbean. Little Rocks's operations will involve practical exercises and exchanges with partner nations, supporting U.S. 4th Fleet interoperability and reinforcing the U.S. position as the regional partner of choice.

Deploying an LCS to the region aims to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to international cooperation and regional security. The ship's size, speed, and agility make LCS ideal for narcotics interdictions, partner engagements and port access.

"I am incredibly proud of this crew's hard work. The Little Rock, Berzerker, and Coast Guard team is ready for tasking. We are looking forward to fighting the flow of illicit trafficking and supporting operations in the 4th Fleet area of responsibility," said Cmdr. Michael R. Chesnut, commanding officer of Little Rock.

Manned by over 100 Sailors and Coastguardsmen, Little Rock's crew will consist of surface warfare mission-package personnel, a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment and an aviation detachment, who will operate the embarked MH-60S helicopter.

USS Little Rock is operationally assigned to U.S. 4th Fleet and is one of four littoral combat ships under Surface Division 21.

(Posted on Little Rock website 05 May 2023)

USS Little Rock's brief tenure as a Navy ship will end in March

14 Feb 2023

By Daniel McFadin
Arkansas Democrat Gazette

When the U.S. House Appropriations Committee passed its version of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act on a 32-26 vote in June, a ticking clock began.

Within the $762 billion budget was a request from the Navy to decommission 39 warships in the 2023 fiscal year.

Among those: the ship graced with the name of Arkansas' state capital.

If and when President Joe Biden signs the final defense budget, the USS Little Rock (LCS-9) would be set for decommissioning on March 31.

That would end the Little Rock's tenure in the fleet only six years after it was commissioned in 2017.

See full story HERE.

(Posted on Little Rock website 14 Feb 2023)

"Don't Give Up The Ship!"

19 Jul 2022

By CAPT Tony Parisi USN (retired)

A new LCS News article titled "Don't Give Up On The Freedom-Class Littoral Combat Ship Just Yet", written by CAPT Tony Parisi USN (retired) and published on 03 July raises the question . . . .

"Why would senior U.S. Navy leaders decide to admit defeat on brand-new ships now just as the Freedom class is starting to deploy routinely?"
CAPT Parisi goes on to point out:
"There really has not been a lot of public debate about the U.S. Navy's "divest to invest" long term shipbuilding plan. The media and Congress are just too busy, distracted, and reacting to more urgent matters . . . ."
The article well worth reading! (And MAYBE send a copy to your Congressman?)

Link to article:

(Posted on Little Rock website 20 Jul 2022)

What's next for the LCS's ?

08 Apr 2022

The following excerpts are from an 08 April 2022 Associated Press article by David Sharp . . . . .


The U.S. Navy wants to decommission nine ships in the Freedom-class of littoral combat ships — ships that cost about $4.5 billion to build. . . . contend(ing) in its budget proposal that the move would free up $50 million per ship annually for other priorities.

CNO Admiral Mike Gilday defended the proposal that emphasizes long-range weapons and modern warships, while shedding other ships ill equipped to face current threats.

All told, the Navy wants to scrap 24 ships . . . most of them are older vessels. However, of the LCS's that are targeted, the oldest of them is 10 years old.

The Navy envisioned fast, highly maneuverable warships capable of operating in near-shore littoral waters when it announced the program a few months after Sept. 11, 2001. The ships topped 50 mph . . . . and utilized steerable water-jets instead of conventional propellers.

And what about that speed? The fastest ship can't outrun missiles, and firing up those marine turbines for an extra burst of speed turned the ships into gas guzzlers . . . . Early versions also were criticized as too lightly armed to survive combat.

The speedy Freedom-class ships proposed for decommissioning feature a traditional steel hull. That entire class of ships suffers from a propulsion defect that will be costly to repair. . . .

In the end, the Navy may be content with smaller numbers of Freedom-class ships for maritime security and small surface combatant operations, said Bryan Clark, defense analyst at the Hudson Institute.

Congress must sign off on the Navy's proposal.

(Posted on Little Rock website 09 Apr 2022)

U.S. Navy Announces Plans to Retire Nine Littoral Combat Ships Early

04 Apr 2022

By Caleb Larson
The National Interest (condensed)

"The U.S. Navy will retire nine of its littoral combat ships (LCS) several years earlier than expected, it announced last week . . . ."

The ships involved according to Under Secretary of the Navy Meredith Berger are:

  • Fort Worth
  • Milwaukee
  • Detroit
  • Little Rock
  • Sioux City
  • Wichita
  • Billings
  • Indianapolis
  • St. Louis

The article continued: "Part of the issue surrounding the Freedom-class specifically is a particularly problematic design flaw. The class' combining gear, a piece of machinery that synchronizes power output from the ship's gas turbine and diesel engines, is failure-prone and expensive to replace."

(Posted on Little Rock website 06 Apr 2022)

US Navy wants to cut nine LCS's

28 Mar 2022

By Megan Eckstein
Navy Times Article (condensed)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy wants to decommission nine of its Freedom-variant littoral combat ships and eliminate the anti-submarine warfare mission for the ships, citing a trade-off between the cost of the ships and equipment versus the war-fighting capability they'd actually deliver.

This move comes amid rumors the Navy might try to decommission the entire Freedom class, which requires a fix to the combining gear, to address a variant-wide defect....

It was previously planned to reach initial operational capability in FY16. That was bumped to FY20, and then again to FY22.

The Navy has been told by RADM John Gumbleton, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget Director, that the gear for the anti-submarine warfare mission package wasn't working well and wasn't worth the continued investment …..

RADM Gumbleton confirmed that the nine ships the Navy hopes to decommission include all the Freedom LCSs currently commissioned in the Navy: Fort Worth (LCS 3), Milwaukee (LCS 5), Detroit (LCS 7), Little Rock (LCS 9), Sioux City (LCS 11), Wichita (LCS 13), Billings (LCS 15), Indianapolis (LCS 17) and St. Louis (LCS 19).

Read the full article HERE.

(Posted on Little Rock website 31 Mar 2022)

Defense Bill Saves 3 LCS From Decommissioning

09 Mar 2022

In an article in USNI News by editor Sam LaGrone, dated 09 March, we read:

"Last Minute FY 22 $728.5B Defense Bill Funds 13 Navy Ships, 12 F/A-18s; Saves 3 LCS From Decommissioning."

The article continues:

"The bill also defunds Navy efforts to decommission three Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), USS Detroit (LCS-7) and USS Little Rock (LCS-9)."

(Posted on Little Rock website 11 Mar 2022)

LCS 9 Lost Power at Sea

27 Jan 2022

In a January 27, 2022 article by Megan Eckstein of Defense News we read that USS Little Rock LCS 9, temporarily lost power during sea trials requiring its return to Mayport, FL.

Little Rock was conducting sea trials following a 19-month maintenance period at BAE's shipyard in Jacksonville, FL. The ship had departed NavSta Mayport on 21 Jan. for sea trials according to LCS Squadron 2 spokesman LT Junko.

LT Junko in a statement stated "While conducting operations, engineering malfunctions were identified that resulted in a temporary loss of power, and the decision was made for the ship to return to Naval Station Mayport on Jan. 22, under its own power."

He added "The Navy is conducting a technical investigation on the root cause of the engineering malfunctions. While there is not currently any indication the casualty is related to the combining gear class issue, the investigation will examine all aspects of what occured.

(Posted on Little Rock website 02 Feb 2022)

LCS Combining Gear problem may be solved

25 Nov 2021

In an article by Sam LaGrone (USNI News) dated Nov. 17, we read in part:

"The Navy has completed and tested the first fix for the complicated gearing system that has plagued the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday told reporters on Wednesday November 17th."

The propulsion system failure has side-lined USS Little Rock (LCS 9) as well as multiple other LCS's.

A total of 13 ships require fixes to their gearing system.

Whether or not USS Little Rock LCS 9 will be included in the list of ships receiving the "fix" is still unknown.

(Posted on Little Rock website 25 Nov 2021)

LCS9's Future - The Speculation Continues

10 Jul 2021

In an article in the 09 July, 2021 Sea Power magazine titled "Navy Details 2022 Ship Retirement Schedule", written by Senior Editor Richard R. Burgess, we read the following in part:

ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. Navy has determined its planned ship retirement schedule for fiscal 2022. The list includes 22 ships, including 15 battle force ships.

In a July 2 administrative message, the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations announced the plans to decommission 19 ship ships from the fleet and remove from service three ships from the Military Sealift Command.

The list includes . . . four littoral combat ships (LCSs) — three Freedom-class and one Independence-class LCS. . . . .The decommissioning of some littoral combat ships also has attracted congressional attention, given that they are relatively new ships.

Congressional mark-ups of defense bills may challenge some of the proposed retirements.

The (LCS) ships to be retired and the dates in 2022 by which they scheduled for retirement are listed below:

  • USS Fort Worth LCS 3 - March 31 Reserve
  • USS Coronado LCS 4 - March 31 Reserve
  • USS Detroit LCS 7 - March 31 Reserve
  • USS Little Rock LCS 9 - March 31 Reserve

The article includes this interesting tid-bit: "The decommissioning of some littoral combat ships also has attracted congressional attention, given that they are relatively new ships."

It remains to be seen how the Sea Power magazine article will stack-up against the earlier 30 June 2021 USNI posting (see below) !

(Posted on Little Rock website 10 July 2021)

LCS9 Saved from Decommissioning !!

30 June 2021

In a June 29, 2021 article in USNI News titled "House Bill Cuts Money for Navy Nuke Cruise Missile, Saves 3 LCS from Decommissioning" by: Sam LaGrone we read in part:

"House appropriators are cutting development money for the Navy's ship-launched nuclear cruise missile, preventing the service from decommissioning three Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships and adding funds for a second destroyer, according to the House Appropriations Committee defense subcommittee's draft of the Fiscal Year 2022 defense spending bill issued today .

Language in the bill also prevents the Navy from using any funds appropriated in the bill to decommission three LCS. ...USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), USS Detroit (LCS-7), and USS Little Rock (LCS-9)......"

(Posted on Little Rock website 30 Jun 2021)

"U.S. Navy Issues Decommissioning Totals To Congress"

18 June 2021

Martin Manaranche

In an article by NAVALNEWS titled "U.S. Navy Issues FY22 Shipbuilding And Decommissioning Totals To Congress" we learn the U.S. Navy plans to decommission 15 ships FY2022.

The ships will include 7 cruisers, 4 littoral combat (LCS) ships, 1 amphibious ship, 2 attack submarines and 1 fleet tug.

According to the table, the ships to be placed in "OCIR" (Out of Commission in Reserve) status include the following Littoral Class ships:

  • Fort Worth LCS 3
  • Coronado LCS 4
  • Detroit LCS 7
  • Little Rock LCS 9

(Posted on Little Rock website 20 June 2021)

More LCS's to be mothballed ?

29 May 2021

In a May 28, 2021 U.S. Naval Institute article titled "Navy Tries to Cut Four Littoral Combat Ships to Save $186M in FY 22 Budget" by Mallory Shelbourne, we learn of what appear to be ominous signs as to the Navy's plans for one Independence Class and three Freedom Class ships.

The article states "The Navy wants to cut four Littoral Combat Ships from the fleet as part of a cost-saving measure that will net the service $186 million...." and goes on to say: "Budget documents call for cutting the second Independence-class aluminum trimaran USS Coronado (LCS 4) and three Freedom-class variants – USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), USS Detroit (LCS 7) and USS Little Rock (LCS 9) – that have struggled with problems with their propulsion systems."

The article elaborates with "LCSs 7 and 9 have experienced major propulsion train casualties (known combining gear issues) and will incur significant associated repair costs. Decommissioning these two ships includes a cost avoidance strategy, so that scarce maintenance funding can be allocated to the highest priority ships."

The FY 2021 budget proposal seems to suggest that mothballing the first four LCSs - Freedom , Independence, Fort Worth and Coronado – will ostensibly save money that could then be invested in new capabilities.

The Navy is presently set to decommission Independence on July 31, 2021, and Freedom on Sept. 30, 2021.


(Posted on Little Rock website 29 May 2021)

The U.S. Navy's first two littoral combat ships will be mothballed!

21 May 2021

By Geoff Ziezulewicz

The Navy's first littoral combat ship, Freedom (LCS 1), will be decommissioned in September. The ship will head into inactive reserve status 30 on Sept, less than 13 years after the ship was commissioned.

The second LCS, U.S.S. Independence (LCS2), will receive its shadow box on July 31 after just 11½ years of service.

The LCS's were billed as the future of the fleet, agile vessels that could be implemented with various mission modules. However those modules have yet to materialize.

Meanwhile, problems remain on several LCS fronts.

The Navy has told Lockheed Martin it will not accept deliveries of the Freedom-variant LCS until the combining gear issue is fixed. The combining gear system transmits power from the ship's four engines to the propulsion system.

Navy brass remain hopeful that the LCS program will deliver its long-delayed anti-submarine and mine warfare mission packages by next year, which would help the troubled ships carry out the missions for which they were originally intended.

CNO Adm. Mike Gilday said during congressional testimony last month that he was "bullish" on the future of LCS, praising the ships' performance on recent missions in the West Pacific and U.S. Southern Command, where the ships are increasingly taking-on counter-narcotics missions.

(Posted on Little Rock website 21 May 2021)

CNO says "LCS Will Still Have a Role After Propulsion Issue is Fixed"

13 May 2021

In an article written by correspondent John M. Doyle for "Seapower" magazine , posted May 7th, titled "CNO Says LCS Will Still Have a Role After Propulsion Issue is Fixed", we learn Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday says he is "very bullish" about the small surface combatant. "We've got 33 of them. We've got to wring the most operational availability that we can out of those ships" he said on May 6th.

Gilday also said, the Navy will place the long-range Raytheon-Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile on all the LCS, and in about 18 months, start delivering either anti-submarine warfare or mine counter measures modules to the ships — once a defect with the Freedom variant's combining gear is corrected.

"The vendor is doing land based testing," Gilday said, "and once that new design is proven, we will first install those new combining gears in the ships delivering out of Wisconsin, and then we'll back fit some of the older hulls."

Adm. Gilday also said "I'm very bullish about the LCS..... We intend to put them forward in the 5th Fleet and, of course, in the 7th Fleet. "

(Posted on Little Rock website 13 May 2021)

CNO is 'bullish' on Freedom Class LCS's Future

30 Apr 2021

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday and acting SecNav Thomas Harker praised the "problematic" Freedom Class LCS during congressional testimony on Thursday 29 April.

"We're very bullish on LCS and where we're headed," Gilday said. He went on to praise the work of the LCS's in recent missions in the west Pacific and in U.S. Southern Command.

He also said the LCS fleet will be getting "beefed up" in the next 18 months, as 31 of the ships will be outfitted with missile systems, while 15 will receive an anti-submarine capability and another approximately 15 ships will receive an anti-mine capability.

Gilday called issues with the combining gear of the Freedom-class ships a "big problem" and that the Navy will not accept deliveries of the Freedom-variant LCS until the combining gear issue is fixed.

He also told the House Appropriations defense subcommittee on Thursday that the Navy is forcing the vendor who made the combining gear to go back to the drawing board for a new design and testing.

(Posted on Little Rock website 30 Apr 2021)

Resolution to LCS9 combining gear issues....?

19 Jan 2021

In an article published by the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) earlier this year, titled "Navy Calls Freedom LCS Propulsion Problem Class-Wide Defect, Won't Take New Ships Until Fixed" (by Sam LaGrone), we learn….. "The Navy has determined that a flaw in the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship's combining gear . . . is an engineering defect that shipbuilder Lockheed Martin now has to fix . . . "

Over the last year, the Navy has linked propulsion failures in USS Detroit (LCS 7) and USS Little Rock (LCS 9) to a defect in the bearings system that links the ship's gas turbines and the ship's diesel engines, which let the ship reach its 40-knot top speed.

In March of 2020 a combining gear failure occurred on LITTLE ROCK. The combining gear failure started with the high-speed clutch," a senior Navy official told USNI News."

The article continues: "A design fix has been developed and is in production, to be followed by factory and sea-based testing."

The fix, according to sources familiar with the planning process, involves replacing the two high-speed clutch bearings with a different bearing version that would not fail as easily.

In the meantime, "other Freedom-class LCS's can still operate up to about 35 knots and still be operational, the source said."

(Reposted on Little Rock website 12 Mar 2021)

Change of Command Ceremony

08 May 2020

At a Change of Command Ceremony held at the Ocean Breeze Conference Center, Naval Station Mayport on 08 May 2020 CDR Lenard Mitchell was properly relieved as Commanding Officer and CDR Brian Crosby officially assumed the duties and responsibilities as Commanding Officer of USS LITTLE ROCK's Blue Crew.

CDR Mitchell was also awarded the Meritorious Service Medal at the ceremony. The award cited his outstanding meritorious service as Executive Officer and Commanding Officer for USS Little Rock Blue from November 2018 to May 2020.

(Posted on Little Rock website 09 May 2020)

Sailing in Style: Little Rock (LCS 9) Opens First Barbershop

26 Feb 2020

USS Little Rock (LCS 9) opened the ship’s first barber shop facility aboard, February 26.

The barber shop is run by Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Ismael Sanchez, born in Nicaragua, who is the only certified barber aboard the Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Little Rock.

Sanchez attended the Shipboard Barber School in San Diego, California where he received training on the basic fundamentals of barbershop sanitation and hair-cutting procedures for male and female service members.

"My favorite thing about giving haircuts are the results and seeing the clients’ excitement," said Sanchez. "I enjoy making people happy. I feel like if a client gets a good haircut they feel good about themselves, and I like when people feel good about themselves."

"The most difficult part about setting up the barbershop was finding a space aboard and then acquiring all of the equipment. The first haircut was given to the Executive Officer, and once he approved it, then it was open to all hands," explained Sanchez.

"It was an honor to be the first customer, Petty Officer Sanchez did a terrific job. Petty Officer Sanchez has made a tremendous impact on the crew’s morale by providing this service aboard. The word spread fast throughout the crew, and by the end of the day his signup sheet was full. The ship’s crew enjoys being self-sufficient at sea" said CDR Dominick Albano, Little Rock’s Executive Officer.

The barbershop has been a morale booster among the crew, and the best part is the haircuts are offered for free.

"I love getting my haircut aboard because I don’t have to pay out of my own pocket and Sanchez is a good barber," said Lt. j.g. Zhuoying Chen, communications officer aboard Little Rock.

"The most rewarding thing for me is making people happy after they see their haircut!" said Sanchez.

USS Little Rock (LCS 9) is deployed in the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations.

(Posted on Little Rock website 08 Aug 2020)

USS Little Rock LCS 9 to be getting a “Laser Gun”

22 Feb 2020

Little Rock will be receiving a laser weapon during an upcoming deployment. She will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship to get a “laser gun”.

The laser is reportedly one of our most powerful military lasers, with the ability to damage or destroy small boats, drones, and aircraft.

General Dynamics will install the 150 kilowatt laser weapon system prior to the ship’s deployment to the Navy’s 4th Fleet, responsible for Central and South America.

It has been stated that the laser has enough power to “fry” (depending on local atmospheric conditions) drones and small aircraft as well as do enough damage to sink small boats, such as armed speedboats, by burning holes through the hull or detonating onboard fuel or ammunition.

Integrating the laser should be straight-forward since both the laser and the LITTLE ROCK are made by Lockheed Martin.

(Posted on Little Rock website 07 Mar 2020)

Lt. Cody Kinser “Ship Handler” !

21 Feb 2020

USS Little Rock’s Lt. Cody Kinser has received the “Ship Handler of the Year” award. This award is given to Surface Warfare Officers who demonstrate superior performance while standing Officer of The Deck Underway. Lt. Kinser’s qualifications also include Surface Warfare Officer of the Deck, and Anti-terrorism Tactical Watch Officer.

(Posted on Little Rock website 07 Mar 2020)

USS Little Rock LCS 9 began its maiden deployment

Navy Naval Maritime Defense Industry - 10 Feb 2020

"The hardest part of deployment is leaving loved one's behind."
(Photo is from LCS9 Facebook page.)
The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Little Rock (LCS 9)
departs Naval Station Mayport for the ship's maiden deployment.
(Picture: US Navy)

Beginning its maiden deployment, USS Little Rock (LCS 9) departed its Mayport, Florida, homeport Feb. 6 for the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility, where the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship will operate.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet employ forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, fortify the ability of U.S. forces to work with partner nations, and build enduring partnerships, with the goal of enhancing regional security and promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean and the Central and South American regions.

Little Rock is expected to conduct operations in support of the multinational Campaign MARTILLO targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along Central America. The ship's operations will involve practical exercises and exchanges with partner nations in support of Campaign MARTILLO, launched in January 2012. Little Rock will also support 4th Fleet interoperability and reinforce the U.S position as the regional partner of choice.

This deployment will be the third to this region and third to include a Freedom-variant LCS in support of Joint Interagency Task Force South's Campaign MARTILLO. The first deployment was made by USS Freedom (LCS 1) in 2010, followed by USS Detroit (LCS 7) in October 2019.

Little Rock will also demonstrate its operational capabilities and allow the Navy to evaluate crew rotation and maintenance plans. While in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions, the ship will rotate deployments of two crews, Blue and Gold, who will rotate aboard every four to five months, maintaining consistency and allowing a continuous presence in the region.

Little Rock will initially be manned by its Gold Crew of more than 90 Sailors, including surface warfare mission-package personnel; a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment; and an aviation detachment, who will operate an embarked MH-60 helicopter and MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff Unmanned Vehicles.

"I expect this deployment to offer a great opportunity to work together with regional partners throughout Southern Command [AOR]," said CDR Brad Long, USS Little Rock Gold Crew's commanding officer. "We hope to advance and strengthen these partnerships to enhance the security in that region."

An LCS is a fast, agile and networked surface combatant, optimized for littoral zones. The primary missions for the LCS include countering threats from diesel submarines, littoral mines and attacks by small surface craft, to assure maritime access for joint forces. The strength of the LCS lies in its innovative modular design, which increases operational flexibility. USS Little Rock was commissioned Dec. 16, 2017, and is the second ship named for the Arkansas capital city.

(Posted on Little Rock website 10 July 2020)

"The U.S. Navy sends one of its newest ships to hunt high-seas drug smugglers."

06 Feb 2020

LCS 9 Crew Muster
LCS9 Blue and Gold crews muster prior to the ship's first deployment in Feb 2020

USS Little Rock LCS 9 departed Mayport on 06 February 2020 headed for the U.S. Southern Command Area in Central America for operations with the US Navy's 4th Fleet.

Little Rock will most likely be conducting operations in support of Campaign MARTILLO, targeting illicit drug trafficking. She recently received a high power laser system which has the ability to damage or destroy small boats, drones, and aircraft.

Sources say Little Rock will initially be manned by her “Gold Crew" as well as a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment, and an aviation detachment to operate an embarked MH-60 helicopter and MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned vehicles. She will execute a rotational deployment of Blue and Gold crews about every four months.

(Posted on Little Rock website 12 Feb 2020)

USS Little Rock LCS 9 to get new Laser Weapons System

20 Jan 2020

A January 14, 2020 article titled “The Navy's Smallest Warship Gets a Big Laser Gun” written by Kyle Mizokami in Popular Mechanics magazine tells us Little Rock will receive a laser weapon five times more powerful than the first shipboard laser, deployed five years ago.

Little Rock's laser weapon should give it the ability to damage or destroy small boats, drones, and aircraft.

U.S. Naval Institute News says defense contractor General Dynamics will install the 150 kilowatt laser weapon system.

Integrating the laser should not be difficult in that the laser system and Little Rock are both made by Lockheed Martin.

The weapon system apparently has enough power to fry (depending on local atmospheric conditions) drones and small aircraft. It could most likely also damage or sink small craft, such as the heavily armed speedboats Iran's Revolutionary Guards use, by burning holes through the hull, or by detonating onboard fuel or ammunition.

Little Rock is the fourth U.S. Navy warship to be equipped with a laser weapon system. The first ship was the USS Ponce, followed by USS Dewey and USS Portland.

(Posted on Little Rock website 12 Feb 2020)

Vice Admiral Richard Brown Announce
New Laser Weapon System for USS Little Rock (LCS 9)

10 Jan 2020

In early January 2020 the Commander of U.S. Naval Surface Forces Vice Admiral Richard Brown announced that USS Little Rock (LCS 9) will get a new laser weapon system during an upcoming deployment some time this year.

On January 13, 2020 U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) News reported that Lockheed Martin is set to install a 150-kilowatt laser weapon system aboard LITTLE ROCK. The weapon will reportedly be used for defense against incoming aerial vehicles and other small aircraft. It could also be used against smaller surface vessels like speedboats.

(Posted on Little Rock website 29 May 2020)


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