Original article appears courtesy of U.S. Navy
The U.S. Navy held a keel laying and authentication ceremony for the future littoral combat ship USS Marinette (LCS 25) in Marinette, Wisconsin March 27.
The keel laying symbolically recognizes the joining of the ship’s components and the ceremonial beginning of the ship.
“This keel laying is extra special. LCS 25 is the second ship to bear the city’s name and the Freedom variant is being built there. The Navy and Marinette have a rich history. Minesweepers and liberty ships built in Marinette provided convoy support in the Atlantic against German U-boats during the run-up to WWII,” said Capt. Mike Taylor, LCS program manager.
Marinette will be the first commissioned ship and second overall in U.S. naval service to be named after the city along the Menominee River. The initial Marinette in Navy service was a Nantick-class large harbor tug (YTB-791), also built in Marinette and in active service for nearly four decades (1967-2005).
The initials of former Michigan governor and ship’s sponsor, Jennifer M. Granholm, were welded onto a keel plate that will be permanently affixed to the ship.
The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. This ship is being built by an industry team led by Lockheed Martin at Fincantieri Marinette Marine. The Lockheed Martin-led team builds the odd-numbered hulls. The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA, in Mobile, Alabama, (for LCS 6 and subsequent even-numbered hulls).
LCS is a highly maneuverable, lethal and adaptable ship designed to support focused mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare missions. The Freedom-variant LCS integrates new technology and capability to affordably support current and future mission capability from deep water to the littorals.
Several additional Freedom-variant ships are under construction in Marinette. The future USS Indianapolis (LCS 17) is preparing for trials this summer. The future USS St. Louis (LCS 19) was christened and launched in December. The future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS 21), Cooperstown (LCS 23) and Nantucket (LCS 27) are in various stages of production. Beloit (LCS 29) and Cleveland (LCS 31) were recently awarded.
The littoral combat ship is now the second-largest surface ship class in the U.S. Navy. In 2018, five LCSs were delivered to the fleet, and four are planned for delivery in 2019 — a pace not seen since the 1990s.