USS MILWAUKEE (LCS-5) made her first (and possibly only) visit to Halifax this past weekend, arriving sometime Thursday night and departing on Monday morning. The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class is actually made up of two variants, the monohull FREEDOM variant (of which MILWAUKEE is a the third ship) and the trimaran INDEPENDENCE variant. They are designed to be relatively small (smaller than a frigate), stealthy, fast (47 knots for the FREEDOMs), capable of operating in shallow waters, and flexible. The FREEDOM class are being built at Marinette Marine in Wisconsin on the Great Lakes, and are the odd-numbered ships. MILWAUKEE's visit was during her maiden voyage to San Diego where she will be based. She is not the first of her type to visit: Halifax has previously seen FREEDOM and FORT WORTH during their departures from the Great Lakes.
|USS FREEDOM (LCS-1) during her visit in 2008.|
On Friday morning, MILWAUKEE was sitting at anchor in the harbour, waiting for a berth to free up in the Dockyard.
|MILWAUKEE being helped alongside on Friday by two tugs.|
When I took the ferry this morning, MILWAUKEE's pollution boom had just been removed, and her radars were turning - usually a good sign of an impending departure.
|MILWAUKEE with HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN on the right.|
MILWAUKEE was berthed opposite HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN, providing a nice comparison in sizes and contrast in paint colours.
Most warships have proper funnels for exhaust gases from the ship's engines (in this case 2 gas turbines and 2 diesels), but the FREEDOM class uses exhaust ports located in the hull not far above the waterline (something I have previously only seen in minesweepers, as far as warships are concerned). Hence the black stains on the hull. I'm not sure if this is to free up space in the superstructure, reduce trunking requirements from the engine rooms up through otherwise usable space, or something to do with a reduction in the ship's heat signature.
In addition, the FREEDOM class uses a semi-planing hull to achieve her 47 knot speed, and instead of propellers her engines power four waterjets.
I didn't have to wait for long before a couple tugs showed up and eased MILWAUKEE out into the harbour.
I got rather lucky with a rather impressive sky as a backdrop for a number of my images.
Departing soon after MILWAUKEE, HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN also headed out, possibly to exercise with MILWAUKEE.