The US Navy is readjusting its plans for future littoral combat ship deployments based on lesson's learned during the first tour of the USS Freedom, the lead ship in one of the sailing branch's two LCS classes.

The experiences learned by the Freedom during its 10-month cruise in the South China Sea will first be employed on the USS Fort Worth, the second Freedom-class LCS, which is currently in the midst of a 16-month deployment to Singapore. The biggest change, of course, was an increased emphasis on reliability, after frequent engine issues punctuated the Freedom's first tour.

"The reliability of the ship has already been improved," Rear Adm. Charles Williams told IHS Jane's during a tour of the Fort Worth. "You saw that by [Fort Worth 's] ability to sail from San Diego through Hawaii, Guam, Jakarta, and all the way here to Singapore without any maintenance availability."

Four days after its six-week, trans-Pacific crossing, the Fort Worth showed off the kind of capability Navy planners were originally seeking. It picked up a diving salvage unit, integrated two side-scanning sonars and a remote-operated vehicle, and took part in the search for a crashed AirAsia flight in the Java Sea (shown above), Adm. Williams said.

Aside from touting the successes of the Fort Worth's tour, the Navy indicated to Jane's that the compact, multi-role ship's presents in Asia's waters will only increase in the future.

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