Lockheed Martin Corp. is poised to deliver its latest littoral combat ship to the U.S. Navy after completing acceptance trials in Lake Michigan. Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 15, the future USS Billings, completed Acceptance Trials in the waters of Lake Michigan. This is the ship’s final significant milestone before delivery. LCS 15 is the eighth Freedom-variant LCS designed and built by the Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)-led industry team, and is slated for delivery to the U.S. Navy next year. The trials, included a full-power run, maneuverability testing, and surface and air detect-to-engage demonstrations of the ship’s combat system. Major systems and features were demonstrated, including aviation support, small boat launch handling and recovery and machinery control and automation.
The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program was created by the Navy to deliver affordable ships that are small enough to make their way into shallow waters and maneuver in tight spots. To pull that off, Lockheed designed a ship with a modular design, meaning the Navy can quickly swap out technology systems instead of taking the ship out of commission for six months to a year to rip and replace. Lockheed builds the Freedom-class LCS variant while Austal builds the Independence-class variant. Lockheed’s ships are denoted by odd numbers while Austal’s feature even numbers. The Freedom-variant LCS integrates new technology and capability to affordably support current and future mission capability from deep water to the littorals. The Lockheed Martin-led Freedom team is in full-rate production and is continuing to deliver for the Navy. The USS Sioux City (LCS 11) was commissioned in Annapolis, Maryland, Nov. 17.
LCS is a highly maneuverable, lethal and adaptable ship, designed to support focused missions including 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. There are seven ships in various stages of production and test at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, where the Freedom-variant LCS is built. The next Freedom-variant in the class is LCS 17, the future USS Indianapolis, slated for sea trials in 2019. LCS 19 (St. Louis) is scheduled for christening and launch Dec. 15. Additionally, LCS 13 (Wichita) is scheduled for commissioning Jan. 12 in Jacksonville, Florida.