The Navy will change the way it trains and crews the new littoral combat ships, and will divide the two types of the 40-ship class between San Diego and Mayport, FL.
The changes were announced Thursday after a series of technical and training mishaps had caused breakdowns while the new ships are underway.
The Navy said it would move to a blue/gold crew system similar to what it uses for ballistic missile submarines. All Independence-variant trimaran-hull ships will be based in San Diego, and all Freedom-variant single-hull ships will go to Mayport.
The first two ships of each type — the Freedom, Independence, Fort Worth and the Coronado — will be used as training vessels but could be deployed if necessary. All four are currently assigned to San Diego
The Navy said the changes “will simplify crewing, stabilize testing and increase overseas deployment presence availability.”
Over time, the ships would be organized into four-ship divisions concentrating on a single task — either surface warfare, mine warfare or anti-submarine warfare.
“As we implement these changes, we will continue to make iterative adjustments and improvements based on evolving fleet requirements and technological developments,” said Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, commander of Naval Surface Forces.
While a total of 40 ships have been approved for the program, the Navy wants to eventually build 52.
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