By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Conor Minto, USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) Public Affairs
SUBIC BAY, Republic of the Philippines (NNS) -- The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) stopped in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, May 4 to resupply and refuel before continuing routine operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
This is the first stop in the Philippines for Fort Worth, which is currently on her maiden 16-month rotational deployment in support of the Indo-Asia-Pacific Rebalance.
Fort Worth is the second LCS to deploy to U.S. 7th Fleet as part of an initiative to simultaneously deploy up to four LCS in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region by 2018. The third and fourth LCS deployments are planned in 2016, providing a simultaneous presence of two ships in the region.
"While this is a brief visit for Fort Worth, the ship will return to the Philippines later this summer to participate in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2015 with the Republic of Philippines Navy," said Cmdr. Matthew Kawas, Fort Worth Crew 103 commanding officer.
Fort Worth will conduct routine patrols in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations before returning to Singapore for the International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) 2015 just ahead of the next crew swap in late May.
Throughout the summer and fall, Fort Worth will take part in most of the 2015 CARAT exercise series. In its 21st year, CARAT is an annual, bilateral exercise series with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the armed forces of nine partner nations including, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.
Fast, agile and mission-focused, littoral combat ships are designed to operate in near-shore environments and employ modular mission packages that can be configured for surface warfare, mine countermeasures or anti-submarine warfare.
Fort Worth will employ the surface warfare (SUW) mission package for her entire deployment, augmenting her 57mm gun and rolling airframe missile launcher with two 30mm guns, two 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boats, and two six-member maritime security boarding teams. Enhancing the SUW mission package is the embarked aviation detachment from Helicopter Maritime Squadron (HSM) 35, the Navy's first composite expeditionary helicopter squadron, which consists of one MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter and one MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aircraft system. The Fire Scout complements the MH-60R by extending the HSM-35's range and endurance, enhancing maritime domain awareness.