The turnover marks the end of a deployment for Crew 102 and the beginning of one for Crew 101.
Keeping a ship deployed and rotating the crew is a new practice in the surface fleet. Traditionally speaking, U.S. Navy Sailors crew a ship and take it on deployment for 6+ months before returning home for a dwell period. However, that’s not the plan for the Littoral Combat Ship.
Fort Worth is the first littoral combat ship to use the operational “3-2-1” manning concept, where three crews rotate between two ships with one ship continuously deployed. This approach allows a ship to maintain a 16-month forward deployed presence throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region without fatiguing the crew with an extended deployment. It also allows an LCS to be deployed for more than two times the typical deployment duration.
LCSs are high-speed, maneuverable, mission-focused ships designed to operate in near-shore (littoral) environments and provide maximized operational availability, or forward presence. They also offer a range of warfighting flexibility through the use of various modular mission packages that can be configured for surface warfare (SUW), mine countermeasures or anti-submarine warfare.
Fort Worth will use the surface warfare mission package for the duration of its deployment, augmenting the 57mm gun and rolling airframe missile launcher with two 30mm guns, two 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boats and two six-member maritime security boarding teams.
Crew 101 consists of about 100 Sailors, including some Sailors from HSM-35, Detachment 1 and SUW Mission Package, Detachment 6. Soon the fresh crew will start Initial Ship Aviation Team Training and then head out for its first scheduled exercise, Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training with Cambodia.
Future LCS ships deployed to the Indo-Asia Pacific area will use the same 3-2-1 manning concept and continue to offer enhanced U.S. Navy presence throughout the region.
SOUTH CHINA SEA (May 11, 2015) The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) conducts patrols in international waters of the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands as the People’s Liberation Army-Navy [PLA(N)] guided-missile frigate Yancheng (FFG 546) transits close behind. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Conor Minto/Released)