The Lockheed Martin-led industry team has been awarded a contract by the US Navy for one fully funded Freedom-class littoral combat ship (LCS 25).
The team producing the Freedom-variant LCS includes naval architect Gibbs & Cox and ship builder Fincantieri Marinette Marine Corporation, as well as domestic and international partners.
The contract includes funding for seaframe construction, systems integration and testing.
Under the current block-buy contract to build ten ships, the expenditure incurred while constructing a ship is said to have reduced to half the cost of the first ships of class.
Littoral Ships and Systems vice-president and general manager Joe North said: "Over 12,000 people and 500 suppliers in 37 states contribute to this critical programme and will continue to do so as we transition to the new Freedom-class Frigate in the coming years."
The new vessel, which is scheduled to be delivered in 2020, will be the 11th procured under the 2010 block buy contract and the 13th Freedom-class variant.
The LCS is a fast, highly manoeuvrable, networked surface combat ship, which is a specialised variant of the family of US future surface combat ships, known as DD(X).
It is designed to defeat growing littoral threats, and provides access and dominance in coastal waters.
The vessel will feature a modular design that incorporates mission packages, which can be changed as per requirements in different regions.
These packages will be supported by detachments that deploy both manned and unmanned vehicles, as well as sensors in support of mine, undersea, and surface warfare missions.
Lockheed has already delivered three ships, while seven are in various stages of construction and testing, and three more in long-lead production.
Image: USS Freedom littoral combat ship (LCS 1). Photo: courtesy of Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James R Evans.