U.S. Navy Receives the Littoral Combat Ship 15

Lockheed Martin delivers the USS Billings to the Navy.

The U.S. Navy added another weapon to its arsenal when Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine delivered another Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). Otherwise known as the future USS Billings, the LCS 15 is the eighth Freedom-class LCS designed, built and delivered by Lockheed Martin. Commissioning of the ship will happen later this year. The Navy will homeport the LCS 15 at the Naval Station Mayport, Florida where ships such as USS Milwaukee, USS Detroit, USS Little Rock, USS Sioux City and USS Wichita currently harbor.

The acceptance trials were completed in December 2018 at Lake Michigan, but ships receive formal names upon the completion of the testing and the formal commissioning and are put into service. Joe DePietro, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Small Combatants and Ship Systems, said, “We are proud to support the U.S. Navy surface fleet with 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 fulfill critical missions around the world for many years to come.”

One unique aspect of the LCS compared to other combat ships is that the design allows the ship to complete close-to-shore missions. LCS 15’s capabilities have made it one of the most valuable ships in the Navy’s fleet. The ship can reach speeds in excess of 40 knots and has efficient staffing. Rolling Airframe Missiles and the Mark 110 gun, firing 220 rounds per minute, are the standard weapons. Lockheed Martin wanted to ensure that the ship was flexible, so the manufacturer made forty percent of the hull reconfigurable.

Jan Alman, CEO and president of Fincantieri Marinette Marine, said that the company isfocused on delivering proven warships to the US Navy. “This milestone is a testament to our hot serial production line, and the skilled test and trials collaboration across the entire LCS Freedom team.”

More ships are on the way as six are in various stages of production. Lockheed Martin will complete the trials of and deliver the USS Indianapolis later this year, as well as commence production of the future USS Marinette (LCS 25) in spring. The company has designed the LCS to be lethal, maneuverable and adaptable, and to support surface warfare missions, focused mine countermeasures and submarine warfare.

To find out how the Littoral Combat Ship assists robot boats, read Could Robots be the Future of Maritime Safety?