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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

USS Freedom, A New Breed Of Navy Ship, Heads For San Diego

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The first of a new breed of ships dubbed the “corvettes of the Navy” is on its way to join the Navy’s Third Fleet in San Diego Bay. The “USS Freedom” is a fast ship, and an expensive one. The U.S. General Accounting Office estimates she cost more than $700 million to develop, though future models should cost closer to $400 million.

— The first of a new breed of ships dubbed the “corvettes of the Navy” is on its way to join the Navy’s Third Fleet in San Diego Bay.

The “USS Freedom” is a fast ship, and an expensive one. The U.S. General Accounting Office estimates she cost more than $700 million to develop, though future models should cost closer to $400 million.

Lt. Commander Chris Servello says she is the first of what the navy hopes will be a fleet of about 55 so-called “littoral combat ships”: they are small, fast and adaptable.

“While the need to have aircraft carriers and larger ships still remains,” Servello said, “we have acknowledged that there are also threats out there that require us to have ships that can operate in shallow water and can operate at high speeds. They have what we call 'plug and play' modules where you are able to change the mission capability of these ships, depending on where the ship is deployed and what the threat is.”

The USS Freedom has a helicopter landing pad, and can engage in anti-submarine warfare, as well as drug interdiction.

“You need that high speed vessel to run down these ‘go fast' boats, as we call them, that carry drugs from country to country,” Servello said.

The ship, built by Lockheed Martin, went through costly design and construction delays before being deployed. The Navy says the USS Freedom is now deploying two years earlier than planned.

She is due to arrive in San Diego later this month.

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