The US Navy has christened and launched its newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, the future USS St Louis (LCS 19), at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine Shipyard in Wisconsin.

A Lockheed Martin-led shipbuilding team is under contract to deliver LCS 19. The future USS St Louis was christened by Barbara Broadhurst Taylor, who is the ship’s sponsor.

LCS 19 is the seventh ship to have the name St Louis and has been named to honour Missouri’s port city along the Mississippi river.

Lockheed Martin small combatants and ship systems vice-president and general manager Joe DePietro said: “LCS 19 is the second ship we’ve christened and launched this year. We completed trials on three ships and delivered two more.

“Once delivered to the navy, LCS 19 will be on its way to independently completing targeted missions around the world. We remain focused on delivering these affordable ships to the fleet as quickly as possible and increasing capability with each hull.”

The Freedom-variant LCS has an overall length of 118m and is equipped with technology to support current and future missions from deepwater to the littorals.

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“Once delivered to the navy, LCS 19 will be on its way to independently completing targeted missions around the world.”

The ship has a hangar space that can house two H-60 Helos, and up to three vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicles.

Capable of cruising at speeds in excess of 40k, the LCS is armed with 4D air search radar and SeaRAM in the hull and a Mark 110 deck gun among other systems.

Once LCS 19 is delivered to the US Navy, it will be used to support mine countermeasures, anti-submarine operations and surface warfare missions.

Lockheed Martin stated that it has delivered seven ships to the US Navy, including the future USS Sioux City (LCS 11), and future USS Wichita (LCS 13).

The commissioning of LCS 13 is expected to take place in Mayport, Florida, on 12 January next year.

In September, the company was awarded a contract modification to build future LCS 29.