(Reuters) - The USS Fort Worth, a warship built by Lockheed Martin Corp, is slated to depart on Monday for Asia, where it will operate largely out of Singapore for 16 months, the longest deployment of a U.S. Navy ship in 42 years, Navy officials said.
Following are some key facts about the ship, which was commissioned in September 2012 and the crew:
Third Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) built for the Navy
Second in the Freedom class of ships, which is based on a steel monohull design.
Ship will arrive in Singapore by the end of the year for its first deployment. The first LCS ship, the USS Freedom, was deployed for 10 months in Singapore last year.
The Fort Worth has a core crew of 54 people, plus 19 to operate a package of surface-warfare equipment. Twenty-four others serve in the aviation unit that operates a manned MH-60R Seahawk helicopter built by Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp, and an unmanned, autonomous MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter built by Northrop Grumman Corp.
First time that a Seahawk and a Fire Scout will be deployed together aboard a Littoral Combat Ship. The unmanned helicopter has a range of about 100 miles (161 km), extending the ship’s ability to monitor its surroundings.
A new crew will relieve the first one after four months, with a total of four crews to serve during the 16 months.
Navy officials said this would be the longest deployment of a U.S. Navy ship since the carrier Midway was under way for 327 days in 1973 with the same crew.
Fort Worth is 390 feet (119 meters) long and has a draft of 13 feet (4 meters), which means it can enter many more coastal areas than the Navy’s destroyers, which have a draft of over 30 feet.
It is 15 percent more fuel efficient than the USS Freedom, and slightly faster. It can achieve speeds of over 40 knots (74 km per hour).
LCS ships were designed to carry out a range of missions, including hunting for mines, submarines and surface warfare, using equipment packages that can be easily swapped out.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal in San Diego, California; Editing by Lisa Shumaker