ABOARD THE USS FREEDOM (AP) — The Navy is sending its hottest new ship to Singapore.
The USS Freedom littoral combat ship isn't the Navy's largest vessel, or its most technologically advanced. But it's small enough to move among the many islands and shallow waters of Southeast Asia. This will allow the ship to train alongside similar-sized vessels in the region's navies and build relationships with them.
All this, the Navy believes, will help it make sure the region's critical waterways stay open to the trillions of dollars in oil and other trade that passes through each year.
It's an objective so important the Navy is moving ahead with the deployment even as automatic federal spending cuts carve into its budget.
The Freedom is stopping in Pearl Harbor this week on its way to Singapore.