What to Know
The Manchester is a Littoral Combat Ship, made to do battle near shore
The new ship's mission is to protect the bigger ships in the fleet from mines and terrorists
Called the "smartphone of ships," it can take on new modules to expand its capabilities
The ship's hexagonal profile is designed to thwart enemy radar — and its aluminum hull is impervious to rust. It's part of a new generation of smaller, faster ships made to protect the fleet's larger vessels from "asymmetric threats" — like mines, terrorists and diesel submarines that are small in size, but still potentially deadly.
Commissioned in May, 2018, the Manchester is the Navy's 10th "Littoral Combat Ship." The name simply means it's designed to do battle near the shore. Because of its shallow draft, the Manchester and other ships like it can go much closer to land than a larger ship like an aircraft carrier. It's designed to rise up out of the water when it's moving quickly, reducing drag and helping it achieve speeds up to 45 knots. By comparison, a Navy destroyer's top speed is said to be around 40 knots, and an aircraft carrier's is said to be closer to 30. Of course, the Navy keeps the ships' true specifications a secret, and those ships typically travel at only around 20 knots.
With a crew of as few as 70 sailors on board, the Manchester relies on technology to help accomplish work that would've been done by some 300 sailors on an older ship. Young sailors say it's also a great place to pick up extra responsibilities and gain more experience than they would aboard larger vessels.
The Manchester is based out of San Diego, where it will return after San Francisco Fleet Week. Then, it's off to somewhere in the Pacific to begin its first mission.
Watch the video above to come on a VIP tour of the ship — or take your own tour with the 360 photos below!