Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) has awarded a contract to Pearlson Shiplift for the design and construction of a shiplift system at the Wisconsin Naval Shipyard.

Upon completion, it will be the largest shiplift system in the US.

The system will be around 500ft-long and 82ft-wide and can handle 10,000t vessels, such as the US Navy’s Constellation-Class Frigates, Freedom-Class Littoral Combat Ships, and the Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC).

With the new system, FMM will be able to launch and retrieve larger vessels in the Marinette shipyard.

This will allow future ships to be outfitted to near completion and tested in climate-controlled facilities. After this, they will be launched into the Menominee River.

The system is expected to be completed in 2022.

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Pearlson Shiplift vice-president and COO Bryan Fraind said: “We are very pleased to be associated with this prestigious shipyard upgrade and modernisation project and the respected team of Fincantieri Marinette Marine.

“This strategic investment by FMM will mean that current and future generations, both in Wisconsin and the US, will benefit from a world-class facility which is capable of handling the next generation of US Navy warships.”

In February this year, a consortium comprising Fincantieri, through its subsidiary FMM, and Lockheed Martin, delivered the future USS St Louis, Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 19 to the US Navy at FMM’s shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin.

In November last year, FMM cut the first steel on the first Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ship for Saudi Arabia.