USS Little Rock LCS 9

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USS Little Rock LCS 9
at completion of Sea Trials


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 Cmdr. 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 Navy is sending one of its newest ships to hunt high-seas drug smugglers.

09 Feb 2019

By Geoff Ziezulewicz
Military Times

A littoral combat ship is slated to deploy to the waters of US Southern Command this year to battle drug smugglers, its top officer told lawmakers Thursday.

SOUTHCOM commander Adm. Craig Faller declared America's opioid epidemic "a national security crisis" during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services committee and said an LCS will patrol South American and Caribbean waters to interdict illicit narcotics.

While 2017 and 2018 were record years for drug seizures in his command, Faller said much work remains to be done.

The admiral did not identify which LCS would undertake the mission but indicated it also could be available for exercises and other duties alongside partner nations the SOUTHCOM's area of responsibility, a sprawling command that sprawls across 31 countries and 16 dependencies and represents about one-sixth of the world's landmass.

(Posted on Little Rock website 09 Feb 2019)

LCS Blue-Gold Crews Catch On!
"The US Navy is planning for its new frigate to be a workhorse"

30 Jan 2019

The following excerpts are from an article
By David B. Larterz
published January 30, 2019 by Military Times

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy is looking to get a lot of underway time out of its new frigate and is eyeing a crewing model that swaps out teams of sailors to maximize the operational time for each hull.

The so-called blue-gold crewing model effectively creates two crews for each ship of the class. The blue crew and gold crew switch out to keep the ships at sea for as long as possible without breaking the sailors and their families. It's the model the Navy has used for years on the ballistic missile submarines and is employing on the littoral combat ships, but now the model is likely to extend to the LCS successor, said Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, the Chief of Naval Operations' surface warfare director.

Further into the article Mr. Larter continues......

Lessons from LCS

Getting more simulator time for surface sailors has been an initiative championed by the Navy's top surface warfare officer Vice Adm. Rich Brown. It's an off-shoot from lessons-learned from FFG(X)'s predecessor, the LCS, which has extremely high-fidelity simulator trainers for its crews before they take over their assigned hulls.

One thing the surface force has been intrigued to see has been the high quality of the officers that come up through the LCS program, something the Navy in part attributes to the trainers, Boxall said, and the SWOs want to replicate that for the FFG(X).

"One really interesting side-note with LCS has been the quality of the training," Boxall said........

"This has meant that LCS officers more-than stack up to their peers from larger, more advanced ships," he added. The littoral combat ship adopted the Blue-Gold crewing model after a series of high-profile breakdowns, some caused by crew errors. The original model was to have three crews for two hulls, a rotational model that the Navy worried was taking away from the sense of ownership for a single, specific hull that permanently attached crews might have to a greater degree.

The program was reorganized to a Blue-Gold model, which required hundreds of new billets for the LCS program....

Both minesweepers and patrol craft, two other workhorse platforms in the surface community, operate under a Blue-Gold crewing model as well.

However, it may not be a model that the Navy will pursue on the large surface combatant now in development. That ship may be better with a lower operational tempo, Boxall said.

"We'll look and see if that makes sense on the large surface combatant or not.... Maybe those are better ships to keep as a surge force, maybe they're fine operating on a lower rotational model."

(Posted on Little Rock website 31 Jan 2019)

"USS Little Rock LCS 9 Change of Command and Crew"

09 November 2018

On 09 November 2018 LITTLE ROCK Blue Crew (Warhawgs) turned the ship over to LITTLE ROCK Gold Crew (Scorpions) in the first ever Exchange of Command.

CDR Bush and the crew of Little Rock Gold relieved CDR Peters and the crew of Little Rock Blue and took the Watch of USS Little Rock LCS 9 in an Exchange of Command Ceremony held on the Flight Deck.

CAPT Johnston, Commodore of LCSRON TWO, presided over the ceremony.

"Thank you, USS Little Rock Blue Crew - Warhawgs for setting us up for success. We will continue the legacy of excellence."

(Posted on Little Rock website 16 Jan 2019)

"USS Little Rock Visited by Thousands at Fleet Week 2018
while open to the public at Staten Island, NY"

30 May 2018

During US Navy's Fleet Week New York City at the Staten Island venue, thousands of visitors had a chance to see one of the Navy's newest warships.

The Navy's new Freedom-Class littoral combat ship USS Little Rock LCS 9, from Mayport, FL was open to the public along with the US Coast Guard Bay-class cutters STURGEON BAY (WTGB 109) and DILIGENCE (WMEC 616), as well as the Pathfinder-class Oceanographic Survey Ship USNS MAURY (T-AGS-66)

USS Little Rock LCS 9 will participate in Fleet Week 2018,
in New York City, from May 23rd through May 29th.

She will be located at Homeport Pier,
305 Front Street, Staten Island NY 10304

03 May 2018

Unfortunately, we were unable to schedule a "private" visiting time for Little Rock vets. So we will have to go aboard in the public tours. These will be conducted daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More information about Fleet Week New York is here: Fleet Week New York

If you're in the neighborhood of the Big Apple, or can take some time off to greet our namesake ship as part of a trip to NYC - here's your chance to meet her and her crew. (One thing is certain - the weather will be better than when we last were aboard - in Buffalo in the snow!)

USS Little Rock LCS 9 Stops at Little Creek, VA

08 Apr 2018

After departing Montreal, Quebec on the morning of 31 March , LITTLE ROCK made a two-day stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia before heading south.

According to unofficial sources she arrived at Joint Expeditionary Forces Base, Little Creek, Virginia on 08 April, and will most likely resume her voyage to Mayport in a day or so.

USS Little Rock LCS 9 departs Montreal 31 March 2018

News sources today announced that USS Little Rock LCS 9 which had been "trapped by ice in Montreal, Canada" has now departed "The City of Saints" for the warmer climes of Mayport, Florida.

According to The Canadian Press, U.S. Navy spokesperson LCDR Courtney Hillson, "(has) confirmed the ship finally left the city early on Saturday after spending more than three months in Montreal."

In addition the source said "It LCS 9 is expected to arrive in Florida early next month after making several port visits along the way." And also that "...the Navy thanked the city for the hospitality it showed the stranded crew."

USS Little Rock's commanding officer CDR Todd Peters said to the press "We greatly appreciate the support and hospitality of the city of Montreal, the Montreal Port Authority and the Canadian Coast Guard. We are grateful for the opportunity to further enhance our strong partnerships."

LITTLE ROCK, according to other sources.... "Is expected to arrive in Florida early next month after making several port visits along the way."

USS Little Rock crew embraces being frozen...
stuck in Montreal for the winter

'It's not the worst place to be stuck,' said Ensign Samantha Robbins outside the ship

LCS 9, being escorted by a Canadian Coast Guard cutter, approaches Montreal on 24 Dec 2017 for a port visit.
The ship would remain in Montreal due to worsening ice conditions in the St. Lawrence Seaway and a shortage of icebreaking tugs.
(Photo courtesy USS Little Rock Blue Crew – Warhawgs Facebook page.)

By Verity Stevenson, CBC News
Posted: Jan 24, 2018 5:00 AM ET
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2018 5:51 AM ET

The USS Little Rock was almost at sea level and ready to rush the open waters of the Atlantic. All it had to do was pass through the St. Lawrence River, swing around the Maritimes and head south to warmer waters to reach its final destination: Mayport, Fla.

In Facebook posts, the ship's crew, the LCS 109 Warhawgs, documented their progress "at dawn, at dusk and under snow" through the narrow Welland Canal, linking Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Then a cold snap settled in as they approached Montreal via the St. Lawrence River. It didn't make it past Habitat 67.

The freezing temperatures and unusually heavy ice have locked in the brand new ship and its 70-member crew since Christmas Eve.

"It's not the worst place to be stuck," a smiling Ensign Samantha Robbins told CBC News outside the ship Tuesday.

Robbins said the crew has been keeping warm with winter supplies the sailors have been given since arriving, and another crew member said sailors have been able to explore the city outside their working hours.

Stuck until March?

The ship could be stuck until March, when the ice typically clears from Montreal's ports.

While onboard, crew members have been using the stopover to focus on mission training and certification.

At the tip of the 118-metre-long ship Tuesday, a handful of sailors shoveled the deck after an overnight snow storm had turned to freezing rain that morning.

The crew appears to have been embracing the situation.

In a social media post, crew members filmed themselves throwing boiling water overboard and into the frigid Montreal harbour, turning it into a frosty powder.

'She's agile, she's fast'

This is not the first time the ship has been stuck in wintry conditions. It was under snowfall and surrounded by floating ice when USS Little Rock was commissioned Dec. 16 in Buffalo, N.Y.

The ship's departure was also delayed because of weather conditions there, according to the Washington Post.

USS Little Rock is named after the Arkansas state capital and a World War II U.S. Navy ship that was at last month's commissioning.

"Little Rock has everything. She's sleek; she's responsive; she's agile; she's fast, and she's deadly," the ship's Cmdr. Todd Peters told the crowd at the commissioning.

"We would like to send a message to the entire world, friend and foe alike, USS Little Rock call sign vengeance is back."

A post on the navy's website says the ship was built by Lockheed Martin, has a displacement of 3,400 tons (3,084 tonnes), has two gas turbine engines and can reach speeds of more than 45 knots (about 83 km/h).

It is "designed to operate in near-shore environments, while capable of open-ocean tasking and winning against 21st-century coastal threats such as submarines, mines, and swarming small craft," the post says.

Click HERE for the full CBC NEWS article

The U.S. Navy's Newest Ship is Trapped in Canada

From Popular Mechanics
By Kyle Mizokami Jan 22, 2018

Fast-moving ice trapped the USS Little Rock in Canada, possibly until March.

The U.S. Navy's latest ship, the USS Little Rock, is trapped in Montreal. Thanks to fast-moving ice, a short stay in Canada could last as long as four months until the ice melts and allows the Little Rock to join the rest of the Navy at sea.

The USS Little Rock is a Freedom-class littoral combat ship built by Marinette Marine on the shores of the Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin. Designed to operate off coastlines and in shallow water, littoral combat ships can carry out anti-submarine, anti-mine, anti-surface, and amphibious warfare missions. Little Rock and her sister ships are small, fast, and agile.

Unfortunately for the crew, the ship was not agile enough to escape the rapidly advancing winter ice. Commissioned in Buffalo, New York on December 16, the ship stopped in Montreal for a routine visit before heading for the East Coast via the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Once in Montreal, a 'historic' cold snap caused sea ice to form faster than expected along the seaway, which authorities promptly closed for the season. According to, the percentage of the Great Lakes covered in ice increased from three percent on Christmas Eve to 30 percent by January 6.

The St. Lawrence Seaway is the only way in and out of the Great Lakes to the open ocean, and it typically stays closed until March. The Navy has accepted that the 389-foot long, 3,400-ton Little Rock won't be able to get under way to her home port of Mayport, Florida until the seaway reopens.

USS Little Rock LCS 9 commissioned in Buffalo, NY
alongside USS Little Rock CL92 / CLG 4 / CG4

16 Dec 2017

On December 16, 2017 the city of Buffalo excelled in every way as she hosted the "first-ever" commissioning of a U. S. Naval Ship alongside that ship's namesake.

At the conclusion of the day's events, the newly commissioned USS Little Rock LCS9, the newest of all U.S. Navy's ships, sat proudly astern of her somewhat older sister ex USS Little Rock CL92 / CLG4 / CG4.

The day-long event was a fitting conclusion to efforts put forth several years earlier by the "old" LITTLE ROCK's crew in convincing the U.S. Navy that a new LITTLE ROCK should be built so as to perpetuate the legacy of her predecessor. And, if at all possible, to commission the new ship side-by-side with her predecessor, as another "first" in the U.S. Navy's long history.

December 16 commissioning ceremony
set for USS Little Rock

Katherine Stewart
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
December 1, 2017

The USS Little Rock will be commissioned on Saturday, December 16.

Arkansas has a unique opportunity to take part in a historic event on Saturday, December 16, when the commissioning of a new naval vessel, the USS Little Rock, will take place.

The ceremony will be held in Buffalo, New York, where the original USS Little Rock, which was decommissioned in 1976, now sits as a museum ship at Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.

The commissioning ceremony will be broadcast live from New York, and a watch party will take place at the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock beginning at 9 a.m. on the 16th. This is the first time in the Navy's 242-year history that a new ship has been commissioned alongside its namesake ship.

'The commissioning itself is a huge event,' said Ron Maxwell, the coordinator of the ship's Namesake Committee and a Navy veteran himself. Approximately 30 Arkansans, including Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith will be representing Arkansas at the Buffalo event, which has already closed ticketing after receiving far more than the anticipated 5,000 registrations.

'There's a lot of history and protocol that goes into the commissioning of a new ship,' said Maxwell, who served on the USS Oklahoma City, the sister ship of the original Little Rock, in the 1970s. 'There's a full week of activities, with parties, receptions and other events' including memorial services, luncheons, sporting events and a tour of the ship.

Though the ceremony itself is sold out, those who wish to view the ship in person may do so in Buffalo during Commissioning Week.

The ship is the ninth of 15 new Freedom-class littoral combat ships to be built.

These ships are made for shallower waters and can get closer to the shoreline than larger ships can, and instead of propellers, they use waterjets for propulsion. The ship also has a helicopter pad and a small boat ramp, and it can be used by small assault forces. The ship's name was chosen by former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus ' a former Mississippi governor -- who served on the original USS Little Rock in the 1970s.

Interested local citizens who wish to experience the sold-out commissioning ceremony are encouraged to come to the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock's River Market on the morning of Saturday, December 16, for the live-stream event. Doors will open at 9 a.m., and the ceremony begins at 9:45 a.m. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. Seating is limited to the first 300 attendees.

Future USS Little Rock LCS 9
to arrive in Buffalo earlier than expected.

There's a saying about punctuality: "If you're on time ... you're late."

The crew of the US Navy's newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Little Rock LCS 9, is taking that saying seriously.

Originally scheduled to arrive at Canalside in Buffalo on Friday, Dec. 8, the ship is now scheduled to arrive four days early, at 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 4.

The commissioning ceremony for the future USS Little Rock LCS 9 is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at Canalside in Buffalo. This date has not changed.

"With the early arrival, people will have four extra days to get a look at this state-of-the-art warship," said Maurice L. Naylon III, chairman of the USS Little Rock LCS 9 commissioning committee. "We'll also have four extra days for the men and women of LCS Crew 109 to experience all that Buffalo and Western New York has to offer."

The commissioning committee is working on plans for an official "welcome party" for the ship when it arrives Monday. Naylon said the all-volunteer committee has been hard at work for months planning for the ship's arrival and the various events during "Commissioning Week" Dec. 8-17.

The fact the ship will be in Buffalo four days early will not interfere with the committee's plans or the ceremony, which is sold out. The general public will be able to see the USS Little Rock LCS 9 while the ship is docked at Canalside. A schedule of events for "Commissioning Week" is available at

Canalside will be open during the week so the general public can view LCS 9 without a ticket. However, Canalside streets will be closed to vehicle traffic. Visitors are encouraged to use the NFTA Metro Rail to get to Canalside.

Canalside will be a secured area and anyone visiting Canalside during "Commissioning Week" will be required to pass through TSA-type security screening.

This event is historic for LCS 9, her crew, the Navy and all of Buffalo and Western New York, as this will be the first time in the 242-year U.S. Navy history that a new ship is commissioned alongside her namesake - the original USS Little Rock, now on permanent display at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park. That ship was in service from Aug. 27, 1944, until her decommissioning in November 1976.

From Niagara Frontier Publications - Wed, Nov 29, 2017

USS Little Rock arrives Dec. 8, but
getting a tour will be tough!

By Lou Michel
The Buffalo News
Published November 26, 2017
Updated November 27, 2017

The chances of getting a tour of the new USS Little Rock when it arrives here early next month for its commissioning are not good.

But if a close look at the ship at Canalside will satisfy your curiosity, that's doable. In order to get near the ship, you'll first have to pass through an airport-style security checkpoint at Canalside.

Security is a high priority for the Navy's newest $440 million warship, according to officials involved in arranging for the historic commissioning. It's the first time in the Navy's 242-year history that a new ship is being commissioned adjacent to its decommissioned namesake. The old Little Rock is anchored at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park.

When the ship arrives at noon Dec. 8 for the start of commissioning week festivities, a temporary fence will be in place around the perimeter of Canalside, where streets in the vicinity will be closed to vehicular traffic. Marine Drive, however, will remain open, except on Dec. 16, the day of the commissioning.

Throughout the week, there will be prearranged tours for Buffalo school students and members of veteran organizations, according to Daniel Mecca, vice chairman of the local USS Little Rock LCS9 Commissioning Committee.

Will Keresztes, the Buffalo school's chief of intergovernmental affairs and community engagement, said students enrolled in the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps at public and charter schools will receive priority for the tours.

"For students who have demonstrated their interest in a military career through JROTC, this is a very meaningful opportunity," he said.

The district, Keresztes added, will have the chance to showcase the talent of the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts Choir whose members will sing the national anthem at the commissioning ceremony, which starts at 11 a.m.

"This will be a profound moment for our students and remembered by them for their entire lives," he said of the upcoming performance.

When the commissioning ceremony concludes at about 12:30 p.m., there will be public tours of the ship, but Mecca cautioned that with an estimated 9,000 people already planning on attending the commissioning, it will be unlikely that everyone who wants a tour will be accommodated.

USS Little Rock Commander Todd Peters said his crew will do its best to accommodate everyone who wants a tour, but, "we will have to stop at some point in the afternoon, evening."

No more tickets left for USS Little Rock's
commissioning ceremony

By: T.J. Pignataro
The Buffalo News
Mon, Nov 20, 2017

Next month's scheduled commissioning ceremony of the new USS Little Rock LCS 9 has been the hottest ticket in Buffalo.

On Monday, the commissioning committee ended registration for the Dec. 16 event at Canalside. No more tickets are left.

We have seen an overwhelming request for tickets and capacity for this event at Canalside has been reached, said Maurice L. Naylon III, chairman of the local commissioning committee.

Nearly 9,000 people requested tickets, Naylon said.

"We have reached the limit for attendance given the layout of Canalside for the commissioning of the USS Little Rock LCS 9," Naylon said.

It doesn't mean the public will be shut out of seeing the U.S. Navy's newest warship. The ship will be docked at Canalside for more than a week between Dec. 8 and 17. More information about its visit can be found at:

Lockheed Martin makes its combat ship more lethal

as new Navy competition heats up

By: Morgan Brennan - CNBC
Published 2:00 PM ET Sat, 18 Nov 2017

On the Wisconsin shore of the Menominee River a new 3,000-ton Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship sits docked in the water. It's already been delivered to the Navy by Lockheed Martin and it's already active.

A crew of 50 live aboard and have been conducting tests for six months on nearby Lake Michigan. Next month, the warship will be commissioned the USS Little Rock before deploying to Florida.

In addition to automation that has cut crew size in half versus more traditional ships of this size, interchangeable "mission packages," and a top speed of 40 knots, the close-to-shore warship will tout something else: the ability to vertically launch Hellfire missiles (also made by Lockheed) to target threats on land, sea and in the air.

It's one of the ways Lockheed is looking to make the controversial ship more lethal. It's a strategy meant to not only silence critics and snag more orders, but better position the top defense contractor for one of the biggest, most-anticipated new Navy contracts.

"This is a warship," says Michele Evans, Lockheed's vice president and general manager of integrated warfare systems and sensors, a multibillion dollar Naval systems portfolio that includes LCS and the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system.

"It really looks to bring vertical launching systems, take advantage of a lot of what we develop with Aegis, and eventually, we could even look at having a laser-based system on this.

"So, we see the growth potential and I think there's a desire as the Navy looks toward a future frigate."

That future frigate is the Navy's "future guided missile frigate" or FFG(X), a competition for a next-generation small combatant ship to be based off of an existing small surface combatant (like for example, LCS).

Last week the Navy released a design request for proposal that's expected to be awarded next year, the last step before selected contractors build their concepts. Officials met with industry on Friday to review the hundreds of pages of guidelines.

The final contract is set to be awarded in 2020, with the program likely to be worth about $15 billion, according to Roman Schweizer, a defense analyst at Cowen. It's expected to span at least 20 ships.

For the Littoral Combat Ship, Lockheed, an LCS co-prime, partners with shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine and ship designer Gibbs & Cox for its Freedom-class variant.

Lockheed says it will "absolutely" bid for the frigate, but with the competition still in early stages and many details unknown, it says potential partners are yet-to-be-determined.

It already has company. LCS co-prime Austal has also said it will compete. An Australian company, Austal has a shipyard in Alabama where it currently makes the Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship. Of the 29 ships under contract, Lockheed has 14 and Austal has the rest. (Based on the fiscal 2018 defense bill, three more are expected to be procured, though the breakdown of those orders is unknown.)

General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works has also said it will participate, and analysts expect others like Huntington Ingalls to bid as well.

Lockheed and Austal may have some hurdles to mount. The Littoral Combat Ship has seen no shortage of critics, including Senate Armed Services Committee chair John McCain, who has repeatedly slammed it as an example of defense-related waste and inefficiency.

"Initial cost overruns more than doubled the cost of each LCS, development costs for the ships and their modules now exceed $6 billion dollars, and they keep rising," the senator said at a hearing in June. "Meanwhile, key warfighting capabilities of the LCS including key mine counter measures and antisubmarine warfare have fallen years, I repeat years, behind schedule and remain unproven."

Responsibility can go around for those challenges, to the contractors but also the Navy itself, which changed criteria even as the earliest ships were being built.

For its part, Lockheed Martin says those growing pains are behind it, as production has ramped to full-rate. It now takes about three years from start of fabrication to delivery, explains Joe DePietro, Lockheed's vice president of small combatants and ship systems, compared to "in excess" of five years for the very first Lockheed LCS called USS Freedom.

Also worth noting, while price varies per contract and vessel, a LCS still only costs about $500 million - double the initial target price set in the early 2000's - but still a fraction of the billions spent on a Navy destroyer or cruiser.

New USS Little Rock has Official Chicken Wing Recipe

By  Lou Michel
Published Fri, Nov 17, 2017
Updated Fri, Nov 17, 2017

The Anchor Bar is on board with the official chicken wing recipe for the new USS Little Rock, which makes its grand appearance here next month.

Earlier this fall, the ship's crew had a competition to see who could make the best chicken wings and Mineman 1st Class Tyson Wilborn won with his "Pineapple Teriyaki Wings."

In honor of the Navy's newest warship being commissioned at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park on Dec. 16, the Anchor Bar, which is credited with inventing Buffalo-style chicken wings, will increase its menu to include Wilborn's mouth-watering magic for the day.

Signs on tables at not only the original Anchor Bar on Main Street in Buffalo but its locations in Niagara Falls, Williamsville and Amherst will encourage customers to give it a try, said Mark Dempsey, vice president of the Anchor Bar.

When reached for his reaction, Wilborn texted, "That would be awesome."

And while Wilborn's recipe is far from the flaming hot wings Buffalonians devour, this recipe is sure to have strong appeal among those who have a sweet tooth. An Off Main food critic who sampled Wilborn's wings can attest to that.

But don't take our word for it. Whip up the sauce yourself and try.  Here's the recipe:

26 ounces teriyaki sauce or glaze.
LCS9 Wings

12 ounces honey
6 ounces pineapple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
Heat and mix all ingredients until uniform.

USS Little Rock commissioning events announced

A week-long series of events and celebrations are now on tap for the December 16th
commissioning of the new USS Little Rock LCS 9 at Canalside.

Joshua Robinson, WGRZ-TV
November 10, 2017 12:40 PM EST

BUFFALO, N.Y. - The commissioning of the new USS Little Rock LCS 9 at Canalside will happen on Saturday, December 16th, but now there are plenty of other events scheduled to kick off the historic day.

The ceremony at the waterfront will be the first time in the Navy's 242-year history that a ship will be commissioned alongside its namesake - in this case, the USS Little Rock cruiser docked here in Buffalo.

On Friday, December 8th at 12:00 noon, LCS 9 and her crew will arrive at Canalside escorted by the Edward Cotter Fireboat. The public is invited to come to Canalside and welcome the ship to Buffalo.

On Saturday, December 9th at 2:00pm, the Army-Navy Game watch party will be hosted at Buffalo RiverWorks. The public is welcome to watch the big game with the crew and their families.

On Tuesday, December 12th, the Katharine Pratt Horton Buffalo Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is hosting a Gold Star Mothers Luncheon at noon.

Friday evening, December 15th is the Commissioning Committee Chairman's Reception and Gala at the Hyatt.

And Saturday, December 16 is the big day!  At 11:00am, the Commissioning Ceremony takes place at Canalside, followed by a post commissioning reception for all attending the ceremony. This reception will feature wings, pizza, beef on weck and more.

Tickets to the Commissioning Ceremony are free, however registration is required - and seating is limited. Anyone that would like to register for tickets to the Commissioning should visit the Commissioning Committee website.

Due to the space limitations for the Commissioning, demand for tickets will be greater than the supply of available tickets. More than 5,400 people are already registered for tickets.

Copywrite: 2017 WGRZ-TV

Commissioning of USS Little Rock to take place on Dec. 16

By Evan Anstey, News 4 Digital Producer
Published: November 10, 2017, 10:32 AM

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)   The commissioning of USS Little Rock will take place on Saturday, December 16.

The Canalside event will officially mark the ship's entrance into the U.S. Navy fleet.

I was delighted to receive word from Commander Todd Peters, Commander of the future USS Little Rock LCS 9, that the ship's commissioning will officially take place on 16 December 2017 at Canalside in Buffalo, Maurice L. Naylon III, chairman of the Commissioning Committee, said.

The ship is expected to arrive in Buffalo on December 8 for a week-long celebration.

To register for tickets to the ceremony, click/tap here.

If you have already registered for tickets, they will be sent to you two to three weeks prior to the commissioning date. A ticket and a government-issued photo ID are needed to enter the commissioning site.

Here is a schedule of events:

Friday, December 8 at Noon, LCS 9 and crew arrive at Canalside, escorted by the Edward Cotter Fireboat.

Saturday, December 9 at 2 p.m., Army Navy Game Watch Party hosted at Buffalo RiverWorks.

Tuesday, December 12, Katharine Pratt Horton Buffalo Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution hosts Gold Star Mothers Luncheon at noon.

Friday evening, December 15, Commissioning Committee Chairma, Reception and Gala at the Hyatt.

Saturday, December 16 at 11 a.m., Commissioning Ceremony takes place at Canalside. The ceremony will be followed by a reception for all attending the ceremony. The reception will feature chicken wings, pizza, beef on weck and more.

'New' USS Little Rock a tribute to Buffalo,

Navy's proud past

Managing Editor, Bee Group Newspapers

Forty years ago, it was just a dream. A lofty idea about creating an inland naval park on Buffalo's gritty, abandoned waterfront.

In 1976, in conjunction with the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency, the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park applied to the Department of the Navy for a decommissioned naval vessel. The Navy agreed, and in 1977 donated the destroyer USS The Sullivans - designated a National Historic Landmark by the Department of the Interior in 1986 - as well as the Guided Missile Cruiser USS Little Rock, to the City of Buffalo. .

The park opened to the public in 1979 and has continued to expand, exposing new generations of visitors to America's proud military past. .

In 2008, the Naval Park created an outside exhibit area along with a new museum building and gift shop. Since then, the park has obtained artifacts related to all branches of the armed forces. The park's collection today includes a Rotocycle helicopter, an Army M-41 tank, a Marine armored personnel carrier, a "Huey" helicopter, an Air Force F-101F Voodoo fighter jet, a PT boat, a Navy Fury jet and a P-39 Airacobra. .

But the biggest event in the park's history will come next month. .

On Saturday, Dec. 16, the new USS Little Rock will be officially commissioned alongside its predecessor at Canalside. This will be the first time in the 242-year history of the U.S. Navy that a new ship is commissioned alongside her namesake, according to the USS Little Rock LCS 9 Commissioning Committee. .

This is about more than adding a ship to America's Navy; it's an unprecedented moment for Western New York. Add the Naval Park to the hit list for tourists and potential conventions and events. .

The original USS Little Rock was in service from Aug. 27, 1944, until her decommissioning in 1976. It is the only remaining Cleveland class ship in existence. Many of her crew members still recall their service fondly, including former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. He was the longest to serve as leader of the Navy and Marine Corps since World War I. .

During his tenure, the Navy went from building fewer than five ships per year to having more than 70 ships under contract, an average of 14 ships per year. The new USS.

Little Rock must have been on his mind. .

"It takes a long time to rebuild a fleet. With the commitments of the last eight years, we've turned the trend, and the size of the fleet will reach 300 ships by 2019 and 308 by 2021. The ships we are building now will determine fleet size for years to come," Mabus said in his farewell speech at the Marine Corps Barracks in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2017. .

"I am absolutely convinced that our Navy and Marine Corps are positioned for a future that is as brilliant and as noble as its past." .

That last quote sums up the profound reasoning for the Dec. 16 ceremony slated to take place at Canalside. .

"The mission of our committee is to pull together a first-class event - something fitting of the historical significance of this commissioning," said Maurice L. Naylon III, chairman of the Commissioning Committee. "We also have the responsibility of raising money to fund initiatives that will honor and preserve the legacy of both ships that carry the name USS Little Rock." .

CopyrightC 2005-2017
Bee Publications Inc.
All Rights Reserved

Used with permission.
Bee Group Newspapers
Williamsville, New York

Posted: November 6, 2017

Future USS Little Rock to be
Commissioned in Buffalo, New York

By Naval Surface Forces Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer announced October 18 the newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, PCU Little Rock LCS 9, will be commissioned during a ceremony Saturday, December 16 at Canalside Buffalo.

The future LCS 9, commanded by Cmdr. Todd Peters, is the tenth littoral combat ship to enter the fleet and the fifth of the Freedom variant design. It is the second warship named for the Arkansas state capital and will be commissioned alongside its namesake ship, which serves as a museum at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.

In the summer of 2013, the keel of Little Rock was laid down. The ship was christened and launched on July 18, 2015 during a ceremony at Marinette Marine Corporation's shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin.

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a class of Small Surface Combatants with specific capabilities focused to defeat global challenges in the near-show (littoral) environment. LCS is optimized for flexibility in the littorals with mission reconfigurable capability. Employing a System-of-Systems approach through a series of modular mission packages, unmanned vehicles and an innovative hull design, the LCS is designed to incrementally add combat capabilities through its reconfigurable mission packages. LCS is a cost effective solution to provide joint force access in the littorals, in an environment of evolving access-denial threats and proliferation of asymmetric weapons and strategies, particularly mines; small, fast, highly armed boats operating in groups; and diesel submarines operating in shallow water. LCS is designed to operate independently in low-to-medium threat environments, and to fight and operate in high-threat environments as part of a networked battle force which includes larger, multi-mission surface combatants.

The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g. LCS 1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).

After commissioning in Buffalo, she will make her way to homeport in Mayport, Florida.

Posted: October 31, 2017

New USS Little Rock Commissioning
set for Dec. 16 at Canalside

By Lou Michel

Published Wed, Oct 18, 2017
Updated Wed, Oct 18, 2017

It's official. The Navy's newest warship, the USS Little Rock LCS9, will be commissioned Dec. 16 at Canalside.

The commissioning will be the first time in the Navy's 242-year history that one of its ships is commissioned in view of the decommissioned ship for which it is named, according to Maurice L. "Moe" Naylon III, chairman of the local commissioning committee.

The old USS Little Rock, a light cruiser that arrived here 40 years ago, is one of the main attractions at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park.

"We are just delighted that this commissioning is finally coming to fruition," Naylon said today. "We look forward to sharing this grand and historic event with all of Buffalo and Western New York."

The ship, one of the Navy's new Freedom Class littoral combat ships, will arrive on Dec. 8 for a week-long celebration leading up to the commissioning.

The commissioning ceremony is set for the morning of Saturday, Dec. 16, and is expected to attract several thousand spectators from the region and across the country, Naylon said.

A number of top Navy and government officials will be present along with Jane'e Bonner, who is the ship's sponsor and from Alabama. She had christened the ship on July 18, 2015, at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine Shipyard in Marinette, Wis., where the new Little Rock and other littoral combat ships are built.

Among the features that make these ships special is that they move at high speeds and are able to navigate in shallow waters near coastlines unlike the Navy's bigger and slower warships.

More information on the commissioning can be obtained online at

Posted: October 19, 2017


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