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Navy combat ship set to deploy with drone on board

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SAN DIEGO - The USS Fort Worth, a littoral combat ship, was preparing for its maiden deployment to Singapore set for Thursday.

While it's not considered one of the Navy’s largest ships, it is one of its most versatile "like a pick-up truck," according to U.S. Navy Commander Kendall Bridgewater.

The USS Fort Worth is packed with two of the military’s most modern helicopters, one being a drone (MQ-8B Fire Scout), made for exploration, precision targeting and support for ground, air and sea forces.

Crew members have been preparing for deployment since May and will spend 16-months in the Indian Ocean near the Malay Peninsula.

“The Navy wants to show the flag as much as possible to visit their ports, meet their people, and to conduct exchanges within their Navy,” said Bridewater.

Unlike other Navy ships, the USS Fort Worth is designed to fight in shallow water and deploy in case warfare on land.

Crews will rotate every four months throughout the 16-month deployment. It's considered an alternate Navy arrangement called the “3-2-1 concept,” where three crews man two different ships with one ship always deployed.

“That gives up a lot more return on our nation's investment," said Bridgewater. "Obviously, these are very expensive ships."

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