The USS Sioux City (LCS 11) arrived in Bahrain for a scheduled port visit on Saturday, June 25, marking the completion of a 10,000-mile journey while becoming the first littoral combat ship to operate in the Middle East.
The ship and crew of 75 personnel departed Mayport, Fla., in April. While in the U.S. 5th Fleet region, Sioux City has provided a maritime security presence enabling the free flow of commerce in key corridors of trade.
Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM), Marinette, Wis., delivered the 387.6'x57.7' littoral combat ship (LCS) 11, the Sioux City, and LCS 13, the Wichita, to the Navy in August 2018.
With a draft of 14.1' and a 40-plus knot speed, Sioux City is the sixth Freedom-variant LCS designed and built by the Lockheed Martin-led industry team. It was commissioned at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in November 2018, the first combat ship ever commissioned at the Naval Academy. The vessel completed sea trials on Lake Michigan on May 24, 2018.
The trials included surface and air detect-to-engage demonstrations of the ship’s combat system. Major systems and features were demonstrated, including aviation support, small boat launch handling and recovery and ride control.
"We’re thrilled to have Sioux City’s crew here helping us understand how to integrate the LCS platform into our operations, and we’re exercising every one of the ship’s support capabilities," Capt. Robert Francis, commander of Task Force 55, said in a story posted to the Navy’s Twitter page. Task Force 55 oversees U.S. surface forces operating in the Middle East.
Littoral combat ships are versatile, enabling them to support a broad spectrum of fleet missions and operate alongside regional navies and coast guards.
After arriving in the Middle East in May, Sioux City operated in support of Combined Task Force (CTF) 153 and focused on maritime security and partner capacity building in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb and the Gulf of Aden. CTF 153 is one of four multinational task forces organized under Combined Maritime Forces, the largest international naval partnership with 34 nations. Led by the U.S., Combined Maritime Forces is headquartered in Bahrain with the U.S. 5th Fleet.
“I’m incredibly proud of our sailors for executing every mission we’ve been tasked with,” said Cmdr. Scott Whitworth, commanding officer of USS Sioux City. “We are ‘forging a new frontier’ for littoral combat ships.”
Sioux City is deployed with an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22.
The U.S. 5th Fleet region includes 21 countries, the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Bab al-Mandeb and Suez Canal.