The US Navy’s newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Billings (LCS 15), has completed acceptance trials in the waters of Lake Michigan before its delivery.

Trials evaluated the ship’s combat system and involved a full-power run, manoeuvrability testing, as well as surface and air detect-to-engage demonstrations.

USS Billing also performed aviation support, small boat launch handling and recovery, in addition to machinery control and automation.

Lockheed Martin small combatants and ship systems vice-president and general manager Joe DePietro said: “LCS 15 is the third ship we’ve taken through sea trials this year, and we are proud that the navy will soon have another capable, lethal and affordable ship in the fleet.

“The industry team has hit its stride in serial production, and we’re producing increasingly capable ships in quick succession.”

“The industry team has hit its stride in serial production, and we’re producing increasingly capable ships in quick succession.”

Construction of Billings started in November 2015 and the vessel launched in July 2017. The LCS is planned for delivery to the US Navy in 2019.

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Billings is the eighth Freedom-variant LCS built by the Lockheed Martin-led industry team at Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard.

The team includes shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox and more than 800 suppliers from across 42 US states.

Currently, seven Freedom-variant LCSs are under different stages of production and testing. The future USS Indianapolis will begin sea trials next year, while LCS 19 will be christened and launched on 15 December.

LCS 13 is scheduled for commissioning on 12 January in Jacksonville, Florida. Last month, the US Navy commissioned USS Sioux City (LCS 11) into service.

Designed for operations in deepwater to the littorals, the US Navy LCS is deployed to support mine countermeasures, anti-submarine operations and surface warfare.