JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The first littoral combat ship won't arrive until December 2016, but Mayport reached a milestone in the mission to bring the new ships to the naval station on Friday when it cut the ribbon on a support facility to house the squadron.
Mayport is contracted for eight ships.The 67,000 square-foot facility will be a hub for small surface combat ships to support 12 LCS crews, 20 mission detachments, and hundreds of staff.
Mayport will be home of the Freedom Class variant ships. The littoral combat ships are described as fast and mission-focused. They are designed to operate in near-shore environments with capabilities for surface warfare, mine countermeasures or anti-submarine warfare.
The LCS operates with a core crew of 50, a composite aviation detachment of 23, and a mission module crew of 15 to 20 depending on the assignment.
The ships are built in Marinette, Wisconsin. They will be the first of the kind on the East Coast.
Mayport has plenty of room for new ships. Currently, 17 ships are based in Mayport, with space for 32.
"The benefits of these ships are numerous," said Commodore Paul Young. "They satisfy a valid mission requirement for access for ships that will operate in shallower waters with specific mission areas. For every one LCS that comes to Florida, it brings with it more than 800 direct and indirect jobs and about $200 million in the local economy, so, it's a big thing for North Florida, absolutely,"
For every two littoral combat ships the Navy fields, one will be deployed.