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USS Billings Commissioning

Welcome to Navy Live blog coverage of the August 3, 2019, commissioning of the Navy’s newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Billings (LCS 15).
Live video from Key West, Florida, is scheduled to begin 10 a.m. (EST). [bold]

“The future USS Billings and her crew will play an important role in the defense of our nation and maritime freedom. She stands as proof of what teamwork — from civilian to contractor to military — can accomplish. This fast, agile platform will deliver her motto, ‘Big Sky Over Troubled Waters’ worldwide thanks to their efforts.” — Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer [quote]

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, will deliver the commissioning ceremony’s principal address. Tester’s wife, Sharla, is the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Mrs. Tester gives the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

The future USS Billings is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The ship will be homeported in Mayport, Florida.

The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom-variant team is led by Lockheed Martin, Marinette, Wisconsin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).

Follow the conversation on Twitter using #USSBillings.

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