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Navy Accepts Newest Littoral Combat Ship

The Navy officially accepted delivery of the future USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) June 6 during a ceremony in Marinette, Wis. Fort Worth is the third Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) delivered to the Navy, and the second ship of the steel, semi-planing monohull Freedom variant.  Delivery is the last shipbuilding milestone before the ship’s commissioning, scheduled for Sept. 22 in Galveston, Texas.

LCS is a high speed, agile, shallow-draft, focused-mission surface combatant designed for operation in near-shore environments yet fully capable of open-ocean operation. Fort Worth, a high-speed steel mono-hull ship, is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The 387-foot Fort Worth will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission packages, which can be changed out quickly, and focus on three mission areas: mine countermeasures, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.

“Fort Worth showed significant improvement during her trials when compared to the first ship of the class, USS Freedom. We’ve had two years to operate Freedom at sea, identifying typical, first-of-class deficiencies, learning lessons on her design and rolling those lessons into Fort Worth. That experience, plus the introduction of improved construction processes and shipbuilder facilities, greatly benefitted Fort Worth,” said Rear Adm. James Murdoch, program executive officer for Littoral Combat Ships.

By procuring both variants of LCS, the semi-planing monohull and the aluminum trimaran, the Navy is stabilizing the LCS program and the industrial base. The award of 20 ships (10 ships of each variant) increases ship procurement rates to support operational requirements and sustains competition through the program. The December 2010 award of the dual block-buy results in a $2.9 billion savings to taxpayers.The Navy remains committed to a 55-ship LCS program.

LCS and its mission packages will deliver enhanced capability currently provided by guided-missile frigates, mine-countermeasures ships, and patrol coastal ships – many of which will decommission over the next several years.

The Lockheed Martin team now has Milwaukee (LCS 5), Detroit (LCS 7), Little Rock (LCS 9), and Sioux City (LCS 11) under construction at the Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard in Marinette. Austal USA has Coronado (LCS 4), Jackson (LCS 6), Montgomery (LCS 8), Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), and Omaha (LCS 12) in production at the company’s shipyard in Mobile, Ala.

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