The Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) team has received a fixed-price-incentive-fee contract from the US Navy to build an additional Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

The partners will build LCS 31 in Marinette, Wisconsin, at FMM naval shipyard. They intend to benefit from capital investment and improvement in the shipyard as well as efficiencies resulting from serial production to ensure quality and affordability.

So far, the US Navy has ordered 16 Freedom-variant LCS vessels, including the LCS 31.

Lockheed Martin Small Combatants and Ship Systems vice-president and general manager said: “We are excited to continue our partnership with the Navy and FMM to build and deliver capable ships to the fleet.

“With the Freedom-variant in serial production, we continue to enhance efficiency and incorporate capability while maintaining ship and program affordability.”

According to Lockheed Martin, the Freedom-variant LCS production programme supports more than 7,500 direct and indirect jobs in Michigan and Wisconsin.

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"With the Freedom-variant in serial production, we continue to enhance efficiency and incorporate capability while maintaining ship and program affordability."

Lockheed Martin and FMM have delivered seven Freedom-variant ships to the US Navy to date. A further seven ships are said to be in various stages of construction at FMM.

The LCS, which is highly manoeuvrable, lethal and adaptable, was originally designed to be deployed in support of focused missions such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare.

The Lockheed Martin and FMM team continues to incorporate new capabilities based on Navy operational testing, sailor feedback and fleet deployments.

The vessel is equipped with new technology and capability to support current and future mission capability from deep water to LCSs.

Construction of LCS 31 is expected to begin in the second half of this year.