The US Navy has commissioned its fifth Freedom-class littoral combat ship, the USS Little Rock (LCS 9), during a ceremony at the Canalside waterfront in Buffalo, New York.
USS Little Rock was designed and developed by Lockheed Martin and is the tenth LCS to enter the US Navy fleet, as well as the second vessel to be named in honour of the Arkansas state capital.
US Navy secretary Richard V. Spencer said: “The future USS Little Rock represents much more than the state capital of Arkansas, it represents service.”
Spencer added: “Once commissioned, this ship will provide presence around the globe for decades to come.”
LCS 9 completed its sea acceptance trials in August and was subsequently delivered to the navy on 25 September.
With its commissioning, the newest ship joins the US Navy’s four other Freedom-variant vessels, USS Freedom (LCS 1), USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and USS Detroit (LCS 7).
USS Little Rock is also set to join LCS 5 and LCS 7 at its homeport in Naval Station Mayport in the coming weeks.
Lockheed Martin Small Surface Combatants and Ship Systems vice-president Joe DePietro said: “We take great pride in knowing that USS Little Rock and her dedicated crew will serve in the defence of our great nation, enabling the US Navy to carry out its missions where and when needed for decades to come.”
LCS is a modular, reconfigurable vessel that has been specifically designed to address validated fleet requirements for surface warfare (SUW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and mine countermeasures (MCM) missions in the littoral region.
The team developing the Freedom-class LCSs comprises Lockheed Martin, Fincantieri Marinette Marine and Gibbs & Cox, in addition to more than 800 suppliers across 42 US states.
LCS 9 was launched on 18 July 2015.