The Navy’s first littoral combat ship, Freedom, is so different from other surface ships that even mundane tasks require a whole new way of thinking.
Take, for example, refueling at sea. A regular warship matches speed with an oiler by syncing up the revolutions per minute of the ships’ propellers. The problem? Freedom doesn’t have propellers.
Refueling underway will be critical for all the Navy’s littoral combat ships, which achieve their high sprint speed by gulping fuel like Kool-Aid. A deployed LCS could need to refuel as often as every three days, according to some estimates, making its ability to gas up at sea that much more important. Freedom will need to get supplies via helicopter in vertical replenishments, because it isn’t equipped to accept pallets of supplies zipped over from a Military Sealift Command ship in a traditional unrep.
Additional issues include no helo launches or landings yet and problems with the side launch of the ROV that will be used to hunt subs and mines.