The consortium comprising Fincantieri, through its subsidiary Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM), and Lockheed Martin has delivered the future USS St Louis, Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 19 to the US Navy at FMM’s shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin. The tenth Freedom-variant LCS designed to evolve with the changing security environment, the Freedom-variant LCS delivers advanced capability in anti-submarine, surface, and mine countermeasure missions. LCS 19, which has been designed, built and delivered by the Lockheed Martin-led industry team, is the tenth Freedom-variant combat ship. It will be commissioned in Pensacola, Florida this year. She will be assigned to Littoral Combat Ship Squadron Two.
Prior to its delivery, the navy completed acceptance trials of the combat ship in Lake Michigan in December last year, marking the final phase of trials ahead of delivery. To date, the Fincantieri and Lockheed Martin have delivered ten ships to the US Navy. There are currently six ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine’s shipyard. Fincantieri Marinette Marine secured the construction contract for the LCS Program Freedom-variant in 2010, within the partnership by Lockheed Martin. It is one of the navy’s main shipbuilding programmes and is related to a new generation of mid-sized multirole vessels.
St. Louis built with modular design incorporating mission packages that can be changed out quickly as combat needs demand. These mission packages are supported by detachments that deploy manned and unmanned vehicles, and sensors in support of mine, undersea and surface warfare missions. The ship will be 377 feet (115 m) in length, displaces 3,500 metric tons (3,400 long tons), have a waterline beam length of 58 feet and make speeds in excess of 40 knots. The design incorporates a large reconfigurable seaframe to allow rapidly interchangeable mission modules, a flight deck with integrated helicopter launch, recovery and handling system and the capability to launch and recover boats from both the stern and side.
The fore deck has a modular weapons zone which can be used for a 57 mm gun turret or missile launcher. A Rolling Airframe Missile launcher is mounted above the hangar for short-range defense against aircraft and cruise missiles, and .50-caliber gun mounts are provided topside. The Fleet-class unmanned surface vessel is designed for operations from Freedom variant ships. St. Louis will be equipped with the TRS-4D naval radar. The TRS-4D is an AESA radar built by Airbus Defense and Space that is similar to the one on German F125-class frigates, the difference being the LCS will have a rotating version instead of a fixed panel, the first AESA rotating radar aboard a U.S. Navy ship.