The U.S. Navy will send its new combat ship tailored for Asia's shallow coastal waters to join military drills with South Korea that North Korea calls a prelude for invasion.

Carrying a helicopter, a vertical takeoff unmanned aerial vehicle, a 57 mm gun and 21 missiles, the USS Fort Worth will become the first Littoral Combat Ship to take part in the annual Foal Eagle exercises starting next month off the coast of South Korea.

"The specific role that Fort Worth will play in Foal Eagle is really no different than any other Navy ship has for years," Rear Adm. Charles Williams told reporters Tuesday in Singapore on board the Fort Worth. "Fort Worth's role will be just a normal part of that exercise," said Williams, who is Logistics Group Western Pacific Commander.