USS Wichita to Support Counter-narcotics Operations in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific

The Freedom-class littoral combat ships USS Wichita (LCS 13)
The Freedom-class littoral combat ships USS Wichita (LCS 13)

The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Wichita (LCS 13), along with the “Sea Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, detachment 8, is underway Feb. 25 to support operations in U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.

Wichita will support counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. Wichita’s operations will involve practical exercises and exchanges with partner nations, supporting U.S. 4th Fleet interoperability and reinforcing the U.S. position as the regional partner of choice.

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The Freedom-Class Littoral Combat Ships Uss Wichita (Lcs 13) Departs From Naval Station Mayport (Image: Us Navy)

The deployment of an LCS to the region aims to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to regional cooperation and security. The LCS’s shallow draft provides unparalleled opportunities for port access, making the ship an ideal vessel for these types of engagements.

Wichita will initially be manned by its crew of more than 100 Sailors, including mine and surface warfare mission-package personnel; a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment; and an aviation detachment, who will operate an embarked MH-60 helicopter and MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff/Unmanned Vehicles.

“We’re excited to sail our ship on her maiden deployment knowing we will directly support our national security objectives,” said Cmdr. Daniel Reiher, commanding officer of USS Wichita. “This is a win for this crew and the greater LCS enterprise. Furthermore, we’re proud to represent our namesake, the city of Wichita.”

USS Wichita

USS Wichita (LCS-13) is a Freedom-class littoral combat ship of the United States Navy, the third ship named after Wichita, the largest city in Kansas. The ceremonial “laying of the keel” was on 9 February 2015, at Marinette, Wisconsin. The ship was acquired by the US Navy from Lockheed Martin and the Marinette Marine shipyard on 22 August 2018 along with USS Sioux City in a double delivery.

USS Wichita is attached to U.S. 2nd Fleet and is one of two deployable littoral combat ships under Mine Division Two Two.

Specifications

Displacement:3,500 metric tons (3,900 short tons) full load
Length:378.3 ft (115.3 m)
Beam:57.4 ft (17.5 m)
Draft:13.0 ft (4.0 m)
Propulsion:2 Rolls-Royce MT30 36 MW gas turbines, 2 Colt-Pielstick diesel engines, 4 Rolls-Royce waterjets
Speed:45 knots (52 mph; 83 km/h)
Range:3,500 nmi (6,500 km) at 18 knots (21 mph; 33 km/h)
Endurance:21 days
Armament:BAE Systems Mk 110 57 mm gun
RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles
Honeywell Mark 50 Torpedo
4 .50 cal (12.7 mm) gunscan be fitted with up to 2 Bushmaster 30 mm guns
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