The US Navy just received its sixth littoral class combat ship from a Lockheed Martin-led team during a ceremony held at the Marinette Marine Corp shipyard in Wisconsin on October 16th. Once the USS Milwaukee is commissioned in the city it is named after, it will finally be homeported in San Diego with sister littoral class ships (LCS) USS Freedom, USS Independence, USS Fort Worth, USS Coronado, and the future USS Jackson.
LCS are special in that they are modular and re-configurable ships with three variations including mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, and surface warfare. These ships are agile enough for near shore missions yet still capable of open ocean operations. Each LCS is one of two variants including the Freedom variant or the Independence variant, which are designed and built by entirely separate teams. The USS Milwaukee is a Freedom variant manufactured by Lockheed, and is the third such ship in the LCS fleet.
LCS Freedom Variant Characteristics:
Although littoral combat ships have been manufactured in the past, the USS Milwaukee is actually the first ship to enter the service from a 2010 $8.9b block-buy deal between Lockheed, Austral USA, and the Navy. The deal allows for the manufacture of 20 new LCS class ships, with 10 coming from Lockheed and 10 from Austral USA.
LCS program manager Capt. Tom Anderson had this to say about the LCS program,
“With each LCS delivered, we have succeeded in driving down costs by incorporating lessons learned to provide the Navy with a highly capable and flexible ship. We are honored to place the Milwaukee in the able hands of her crew as they set sail for the ship’s commissioning.”
Look for more LCS class ships to be produced in the years to come.
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