USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) represents one of sixteen planned "Littoral Combat Ships" designed and manufactured for the United States Navy (USN). These warships are corvette-type hulls intended for Close-to-Shore operations - the littoral zone - in support of Allied forces, primarily during amphibious-minded assaults. The contract for USS Milwaukee was awarded to Marinette Marine of Marinette, Wisconsin on December 29th, 2010 and the vessel saw her keel laid down on October 27th, 2011. She was launched to sea for trials and training on December 18th, 2013, and formally commissioned into USN service on November 21st, 2015.
In active service as of this writing (2022), the vessel homeports from Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida, fighting under the motto of "Strength - Freedom".
The warship is designed to the "Freedom-class" standard headed by Lockheed Martin and is the alternative LCS offering to the "Independence-class" ships by General Dynamics/Austal. In all, there are twenty-one LCS hulls operated by the USN with additional units planned or currently under construction. However, the designs have not been outright successes, prompting the service to head in the direction of the new "Constellation-class" frigates detailed elsewhere on this site. The two LCS classes are distinct from one another in that Freedom-class hulls are traditional in their straight-line approach whereas Constellation-class ships utilize a trimaran hull design.
As completed, USS Milwaukee has a displacement of 3,900 short tons, an overall length of 376.2 feet, a beam of 57.4 feet, and a draught of 14 feet - the draught measurement being critical to littoral operations close-to-shore. Installed power encompasses 2 x Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines coupled with 2 x Colt-Pielstick marine diesels for the proper balance of fuel efficiency and propulsion power. For fine maneuvering, 4 x Rolls-Royce waterjets are included. Maximum achievable speeds in ideal conditions is 45 knots with a range out to 3,500 nautical miles. The vessel can remain on station for up to 21 days before resupply.
Aboard is a crew complement of 125 of which 50 represent the core operating personnel. The ship carries EADS TRS-3D C-band, X-band, and S-band radars and is outfitted with the WBR2000 Electronic Warfare (EW) suite. Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) are also carried for boarding and deterrence actions.
Armament consists of 1 x 57mm Bae Systems Mk 110 series turreted deck gun, 1 x RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launcher, 2 x 30mm Mk 44 Bushmaster automatic cannons, 6 x Mark 50 torpedo launchers, and 4 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs) - all this to provide the warship with solutions against aerial, surface, land, and undersea threats. A small air arm makes up the rotary-wing capabilities of this ship and includes support for 2 x Sikorsky MH-60R/S Seahawk helicopters as well as the MQ-8 Fire Scout helicopter UAV.
To date, USS Milwaukee's operational service has been fraught with issues: in testing her wake generated waves that damaged at least forty civilian vessels at Chambers Island. She lost propulsion power on a December 2015 run en route to San Diego from Nova Scotia and had to be towed. A clutch failure was noted during a February 2016 report. In 2022, the ship was placed on lock down due to a COVID-19 outbreak amongst the completely vaccinated crew.
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December 2021 - A COVID-19 outbreak aboard USS Milwaukee has led to the ship's lockdown.
USS Freedom (LCS-1); USS Fort Worth (LCS-3); USS Milwaukee (LCS-5); USS Detroit (LCS-7); USS Little Rock (LCS-9); USS Sioux City (LCS-11); USS Whichita (LCS-13); USS Billings (LCS-15); USS Indianpolis (LCS-17); USS St. Louis (LCS-19); USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS-21); USS Cooperstown (LCS-21); USS Marinette (LCS-23); USS Nantucket (LCS-27); USS Beloit (LCS-29); USS Cleveland (LCS-31) Ships-in-Class
Offshore bombardment / attack of surface targets / areas primarily through onboard ballistic weaponry.
Activities conducted near shorelines in support of allied activities.
Offshore strike of surface targets primarily through onboard missile / rocket weaponry.
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Airspace Denial / Deterrence
Neutralization or deterrence of airborne elements through onboard ballistic of missile weaponry.
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.
Vessel's hull design is such that it can operate in close-to-shore / shallow water environments.
Main armament is housed in primary turret(s) arrangement offering enhanced protection.
Onboard systems alert and protect the vessel from airborne, low-flying airborne threats through ballistic and / or missile weaponry.
An Over-the-Horizon operational capability is granted to the vessel, typically through launched fixed-wing / rotary-wing aircraft.
Onboard facilities provide for the launching of air and/or land elements for shore attack and infiltration.
Ability to launch torpedoes against ocean-going targets.
378.2 feet (115.28 meters) Length
57.4 feet (17.50 meters) Beam
14.0 feet (4.27 meters) Draught
3,900 tons Displacement
2 x Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines with 2 x Colt-Pielstick marine diesel engines; 4 x Rolls-Royce waterjets. Propulsion
1 x 57mm BAe Systems Mk 110 turreted deck gun.
1 x RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher.
2 x 30mm Bushmaster automatic cannons.
4 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs).
6 x Mark 50 torpedo launchers.
2 x Sikorsky MH-60R/S navy helicopter equipped for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) role.
1 x MQ-8 Fire Scout helicopter UAV.
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Image from the United States DoD DVIDS imagery database; Public Release.
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