USS Independence back in San Diego Bay

SAN DIEGO - The latest U.S. Navy ship is back in San Diego Bay and it is drawing a lot of attention. 10News reporter Craig Herrera has a rare look inside the USS Independence.

"We were in awe when we saw that thing. Like I said, it looks like it came out of a James Bond movie," said James Rothe, who is visiting from Florida.

Rothe is talking about the USS Independence, a littoral combat ship with a new concept for the U.S. Navy. It is designed to do things traditional war ships cannot.

"Going into shallow water, as shallow as 15 feet and traveling at very high speeds in excess of 40 knots," said Cmdr. David Back, the commanding officer of the USS Independence.

It can make a U-turn in record time.

"I can put the ship all the way around in about two and a half minutes," said Back.

It can stop quicker than any other ship.

"This ship, from full throttle ahead, I can stop this ship in a length and a half," said Back.

A crew of 40 can operate this 418-foot long ship. That is about 120 fewer people than most other ships. That also means better accommodations.

"The most junior members of the crew are living in state rooms like this where there are, you can see, six bunks and a shower and a bathroom," said Back.

However, it has not been all smooth sailing. Initial reports indicated problems with the lubrication system, seawater contamination and a steering problem caused by a broken cable, but that has all been addressed.

The ship was commissioned in January 2010 and in the past four years they have been running several tests.

"All the tests that we have done so far have been successful and the ship so far is performing as advertised," said Back.

The ship should stay in the testing mode for the remainder of the year.

If the U.S. Navy budget allows, they will eventually have a fleet of 55 ships just like it.

"I think the other countries are going to be very intimidated by this vessel and our enemies," said Rothe.

If you would like to see the inside of the USS Independence, you can do it on Thursday. The gates open to the public at 8 a.m. and the last tour will be at 11:30 a.m. It is docked at the B Street Pier near the USS Midway.

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