Jan. 22 (UPI) — The $440-million-dollar USS Little Rock, the Navy’s newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, has been iced-in since Christmas Eve on the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada — and is not expected to get moving until spring.
The USS Little Rock was commissioned in Buffalo, N.Y., on Dec. 16., with plans to travel to its home port at Mayport Naval Station in Florida the next day. The departure, however, was delayed three days by inclement weather on Lake Erie, according to Business Insider.
The 389-foot-long vessel eventually left Buffalo on Dec. 20. and arrived in Montreal on Dec. 27, where it was supposed to stop briefly overnight before sailing onto Nova Scotia — yet plans for Little Rock were undermined by unforgiving cold and ice.
The original voyage to Florida will be postponed for the time being as officials have decided to wait until the ice begins to thaw, as it will keep the crew and ship safe.
“The temperatures in Montreal and throughout the transit area have been colder than normal, and included near-record low temperatures, which created significant and historical conditions in the late December, early January time frame,” Lt.-Cmdr. Courtney Hillson told USNI News.
The USS Little Rock is the tenth littoral combat ship to enter the fleet, and the fifth of the Freedom-variant.
The Freedom-class littoral combat ship, built by Lockheed Martin, has a top speed of over 40 miles per hour and carries a variety of light weapon systems, short-range missiles and anti-submarine torpedoes.
Littoral combat ships are designed to operate close to shore for patrol, interdiction, mine-countermeasures, undersea warfare operations and other missions — operations that will have to wait for the time being for the crew of the Little Rock.