Nov. 4 (UPI) -- The Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Detroit departed Naval Station Mayport, Miss., last week for its first deployment, the U.S. Navy announced.
The ship, launched in 2014, will conduct operations in support of Joint Interagency Task Force South's "Operation Martillo," a 20-nation United States, European and Western Hemisphere effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in Central American coastal waters, the Navy announced on Friday.
U.S. military participation is led by Joint Interagency Task Force South, a component of U.S. Southern Command.
The ship's operations will also involve practical exercises and exchanges with partner nations, supporting U.S. 4th Fleet.
"We hope Detroit will build relationships with that region and show that LCS is a capable warfighting platform that is ready to safeguard access to international waterways and demonstrate operating capabilities," Capt. Cory Applebee, commander of Surface Warfare Division Two One, said in a press release.
The 90-person crew includes surface warfare mission package personnel, a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment, and an aviation detachment to operate an embarked MH-60S Seahawk helicopter and two MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff Unmanned Vehicles aboard the ship. The deployment practice involves two crews, rotating every four to five months, to allow continuous presence in the region.
The littoral combat ship's foremost virtue is its shallow draft, allowing opportunities for port access and navigating in shallow water, making it the "ideal vessel for these types of engagement," the Navy said.