The US Navy has accepted delivery of the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Billings (LCS 15).
The milestone was marked by the Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) during a ceremony at the FMM shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin.
To be commissioned later this year, USS Billings is the 17th LCS to be delivered to the US Navy and the eighth Freedom-variant LCS designed, built and delivered by Lockheed Martin-led team.
The US Navy will homeport LCS 15 at Naval Station Mayport, Florida, alongside USS Milwaukee (LCS 5), USS Detroit (LCS 7), USS Little Rock (LCS 9), USS Sioux City (LCS 11) and USS Wichita (LCS 13).
Lockheed Martin Small Combatants and Ship Systems vice-president Joe DePietro said: “We are proud to support the U.S. Navy surface fleet with the delivery of another highly lethal and agile littoral combat ship.
“The Lockheed Martin-led industry team has hit its production and efficiency stride, and we know LCS will fulfil critical missions around the world for many years to come.”
Six additional LCSs are in various stages of production and test at FMM.
The Lockheed Martin-led team plans to deliver the next ship in the class, the future USS Indianapolis (LCS 17), later this year following completion of trials.
Construction on the future USS Marinette (LCS 25) is expected to commence this spring.
The US Navy’s LCS is designed to support close-to-shore missions, can achieve speeds of more than 40k.
Around 40% of the ship’s hull can be reconfigured to integrate capabilities such as the Longbow Hellfire Missiles, 30mm guns, as well as manned and unmanned vehicles.
The vessel can be used to support mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, and surface warfare missions.
The Freedom-variant LCS is equipped with the COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System.