In a historic moment for the region, a Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, USS Sioux City (LCS 11), deployed to U.S. Sixth Fleet’s area of operations, supporting U.S. and NATO Ally and Partner interests in Europe and Africa.
The deployment provides an opportunity for Sioux City to gain experience in an area littoral combat ships have never before operated. The ship’s size, speed, and agility allow it to perform maritime security operations, theater security cooperation engagements, and freedom of navigation patrols – keeping critical maritime commerce routes open, deterring conflict and coercion, and providing a comparable ship to strengthen partnerships with other countries.
“USS Sioux City is a combat-ready warship manned by battle-minded Sailors, who are prepared and equipped to execute any mission we are tasked with,” said Whitworth. “This deployment will expand the relevance of these ships, particularly their ability to relieve larger surface combatants in key surface-mission areas.”
“Sioux City’s deployment allows us to integrate the LCS’ unique operational capability into our already diverse fleet,” said Vice Adm. Gene Black, commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet. “The agility of littoral combat ships allows them to operate in both near-shore and open-ocean environments, enhancing our ability to provide security and stability across the European theater.”
USS Sioux City (LCS-11) is a Freedom-class littoral combat ship of the United States Navy. She is the first ship named after Sioux City, the fourth-largest city in Iowa. The ship’s motto is ‘Forging a new frontier,’ and according to Cmdr. Scott Whitworth, Sioux City’s commanding officer, that is exactly what the crew plans to do. An embarked detachment of two MH-60S Seahawk helicopters from the Sea Knights of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22 supports Sioux City’s deployment. The ceremonial “laying of the keel” was on 19 February 2014, at Marinette, Wisconsin. The ship was constructed by Fincantieri Marinette Marine and launched on 30 January 2016 after being christened by her sponsor Mary Winnefield, wife of Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr., USN.
Sioux City includes additional stability improvements over the original Freedom design; the stern transom was lengthened and buoyancy tanks were added to the stern to increase weight service and enhance stability. The ship will also feature automated sensors to allow “conditions-based maintenance” and reduce crew overwork and fatigue issues that Freedom had on her first deployment. The Freedom class is one of two classes of the littoral combat ship program, built for the United States Navy. The Freedom class was proposed by a consortium formed by Lockheed Martin as “prime contractor” and by Fincantieri (project) through the subsidiary Marinette Marine (manufacturer) as a contender for a fleet of small, multipurpose warships to operate in the littoral zone.