Navy to Christen Littoral Combat Ship Billings
WASHINTON — The Navy will christen its newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, Billings (LCS 15) during a July 1 ceremony in Marinette, Wis., the Defense Department said in a June 29 release.
The future USS Billings honors the largest city in Montana. It will be the first ship of its name in naval service.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Sharla Tester, the wife of Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the ranking member of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by Sharla Tester breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship, a time-honored Navy tradition.
“The christening of the future USS Billings brings this great warship one step closer to joining the fleet,” said Sean Stackley, acting secretary of the Navy, “where it will, for decades to come, serve as a tribute to the great people of Billings and the state of Montana, as well as the highly skilled men and women who built our nation’s newest littoral combat ship.”
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 (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g. LCS 1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).