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USS Freedom arrives in new homeport in SD

The USS Freedom, the Navy’s first shallow water combat ship, arrived at its new home in San Diego Friday.

Freedom left Florida on February 16 on its maiden deployment, during which its crew conducted counter drug trafficking operations off the coast of Central America, seizing more than five tons of cocaine, capturing two “go fast” drug vessels and taking nine suspected smugglers into custody, according to Naval Surface Forces public affairs.

The ship, built by Lockheed Martin, was commissioned in Milwaukee in 2008.

The 377-foot-long Freedom is the first of a class of ships being built that are fast and agile with top speeds in excess of 40 knots, powered by a diesel and gas turbine engine with water jet propulsion, according to the Navy.

It is designed to operate in shallow, coastal waters and is equipped with the latest in technology for surface and submarine warfare and mine interdiction, according to the Navy. It has a helicopter pad and carries a U.S. Coast Guard detachment.

The Navy plans to build 55 of the littoral combat ships. A competing model, the USS Independence, which was built by General Dynamics, was recently commissioned.