USS Little Rock (LCS-9)

The USS Little Rock is a Freedom-class littoral combat ship. The second ship in the U.S. Navy to be named for Little Rock (Pulaski County), the ship joined the fleet officially in 2017.

The Freedom class is designed to operate close to shore in a multipurpose role. The ships measure 378 feet long and over fifty-seven feet wide. Constructed of aluminum and steel, the ships can reach a top speed of forty-seven knots. The ship is manned by a core crew of forty sailors, joined by an aviation crew and mission-specific crewmembers, keeping the total number under 100. The ship is armed with a fifty-seven-millimeter gun, a surface-to-air missile launcher, four .50 caliber machine guns, and two .30 caliber machine guns. The ship will also carry an MH-60R/S Seahawk helicopter and up to two drones. Small boats will also be deployable from the ship.

The Little Rock is the ninth ship of the class, and the keel was laid on June 27, 2013, in Marinette, Wisconsin. The ship, constructed by Marinette Marine at an estimated cost of $360 million, was launched and christened on July 18, 2015. The Navy took delivery of the ship on September 25, 2017. The Little Rock was commissioned in Buffalo, New York, on December 16, 2017, after undergoing sea trials. The original USS Little Rock (CL-92) became a museum ship in that city.

A 2021 Department of Defense budget overview recommended the decommissioning of the USS Little Rock and other active littoral ships, due to expected repair costs and the need to develop capacity against the warships being deployed by Russia and China. The 2023 National Defense Authorization Act set the date for the decommissioning of the vessel as March 31, 2023.

For additional information:
Lipton, Eric. “The Pentagon Saw a Warship Boondoggle. Congress Saw Jobs.” New York Times, February 4, 2023. (accessed May 31, 2023).

Moss, Teresa. “Ship Named after LR Faces Decommissioning.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, June 14, 2021, pp. 1A, 5A. Online at (accessed June 14, 2021).

McFaddin, Daniel. “Defense Bill Will Spell End of LR Ship.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, October 31, 2022, pp. 1A, 5A. Online at (accessed October 31, 2022).

Netterstrom, Kristin. “New Warship to Bear Little Rock Name.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, July 16, 2011, pp. 1A, 8A.

Pettit, Emma. “Ceremony Initiates Warship Called LR.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, December 17, 2017, pp. 1A, 9A.

United States Department of Defense. “Navy Announces Christening of Littoral Combat Ship Little Rock.” July 17, 2015. (accessed September 14, 2020).

Wentling, Nikki. “Navy to Christen, Launch USS Little Rock Today.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, July 18, 2015, pp. 1B, 3B.

David Sesser
Henderson State University


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