The US Navy will christen the next Freedom Class littoral combat ship (LCS) as the USS Little Rock (LCS 9), navy secretary Ray Mabus has said.

The 378ft-long Little Rock, with a displacement capacity of 3,000t, can cruise at speeds in excess of 40kt and will be constructed by a Lockheed Martin industry team.

Little Rock will be designed as a fast, agile surface combatant capable of defeating increasing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in the coastal waters.

The LCS will be used to perform shore-based missions such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare.

The Freedom and Independence variant LCS are being designed and built by Lockheed and Austal USA with two different hull forms, a semi-planing monohull and an aluminium trimaran respectively.