The US Navy’s newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship (LCS) has been christened as the future USS Nantucket during a ceremony held at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine Shipyard.

The 27th LCS was also launched sideways into the Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin, US.

The littoral combat ship was constructed by a team from Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine under a multi-million dollar contract awarded in 2017.

In October 2019, the Lockheed Martin team conducted the keel-laying ceremony of the ship in Marinette.

Lockheed Martin Small Combatants and Ship Systems vice-president Steve Allen said: “The LCS Freedom-variant is a resilient, flexible warship, designed to meet the evolving missions of the US Navy.

“The Lockheed Martin team continues to partner with the US Navy to add lethality and survivability enhancements to the highly capable LCS class and we look forward to continued delivery of these adaptable ships.”

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Lockheed is in full-rate production and has so far delivered ten LCS ships to the US Navy. There are currently six ships in different production stages.

Fincantieri Marinette Marine CEO Mark Vandroff said: “Building LCS 27 and sister ships for the US Navy is an honour and we are proud to be the nation’s shipyard in the heartland.

“The launch and christening we witnessed is a testament to the hard work of more than 2,500 shipbuilders who pass through our gates, put on their hard hats and build American warships.”

The Freedom-class LCS 27 is named in honour of Nantucket island in Massachusetts. The ships in this class are armed with rolling airframe missiles (RAM) and a Mark 110 gun.

The hull design of the LCS supports the integration of Longbow Hellfire missiles, 30mm guns, and manned and unmanned vehicles.

These automated ships can cruise at speeds greater than 40k.