The US Navy has awarded a $698.9m contract modification to a Lockheed Martin-led industry team for construction of the seventh and eighth littoral combat ships (LCS).
Under the contract modification, the Lockheed Martin-led team will construct a Freedom variant of the LCS ships including Indianapolis (LCS 17) and LCS 19, yet to be named.
For each ship, the three contract line items cover basic seaframe construction, selected ship systems integration and test, and selected ship systems equipment.
USS Milwaukee (LCS 5), the first ship on the 2010 contract, is undergoing trials and will be delivered to the US Navy in 2015, while the future USS Detroit (LCS 7) is expected to be launched later this year.
USS Little Rock (LCS 9), USS Sioux City (LCS 11) and USS Wichita (LCS 13) are all in various stages of construction, whereas USS Billings (LCS 15) will start construction this year.
Lockheed Martin mission systems and training business littoral ship systems vice-president Joe North said: "We'll continue to build best-in-class, cost-effective ships for the Navy, supporting its need to defeat littoral threats and provide maritime access in critical waterways."
Scheduled for completion by August 2018, work under the contract will be carried out in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Washington, Florida, New Jersey, Minnesota and various other locations.
Image: The US Navy's second Freedom-class LCS operates off the coast of San Diego. Photo: courtesy of US Navy.