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April 14, 2010
By Kate Wiltrout
© April 14, 2010
The Navy’s second littoral combat ship will finish her maiden voyage tonight when she docks at Norfolk Naval Station.
The Independence will spend about a year here for testing and evaluation before heading to a permanent home in San Diego. It left the shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, on March 26, according to the Navy.
The ship is the second of its class, following the Freedom, but it has a different hull shape. The aluminum trimaran cost an estimated $700 million.
Littoral combat ships are designed to operate in shallow water – 15 feet or less – and reach speeds above 40 knots.
Their missions include the detection and elimination of mines, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare, particularly against small vessels.
The 419-feet-long Independence, built by General Dynamics, was commissioned in January. It has a core crew of just 40 sailors. Two crews will rotate on and off the ship.
The Freedom also spent months in Norfolk after its commissioning in Wisconsin in 2008. It left Norfolk in January, transited through the Panama Canal and is expected to arrive in San Diego later this month.