MARINETTE, Wis. — The Lockheed Martin-led shipbuilding team launched Littoral Combat Ship 21, the future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul, into the Menominee River at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine Shipyard on June 15.
Ship sponsor Jodi J. Greene, deputy U.S. Navy undersecretary for policy, christened LCS 21 just prior to launch, according to a Lockheed press release. “LCS 21 is going to bring the name ‘Minneapolis-Saint Paul’ all around the globe,” said Greene, who is native of the Twin Cities.
“LCS is the second largest ship class in the U.S. Navy, and Lockheed Martin is proud to deliver capability and added force projection with each additional hull,” said Joe DePietro, vice president and general manager of small combatants and ship systems for Lockheed.
Littoral combat ships are designed to complete close-to-shore missions and are a growing part of the Navy’s fleet. With 40 percent of its hull easily reconfigurable, an LCS can be modified to integrate capabilities such as over-the-horizon missiles, advanced electronic warfare systems and decoys and, in the future, vertical launching systems or laser weapon systems.
An LCS is fast, as it is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots. The ships are lethal as well, as all are equipped with Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) and a Mark 110 gun, which is capable of firing 220 rounds per minute.
Lockheed Martin is in full-rate production and has delivered eight LCS to the U.S. Navy. There are eight others in various stages of production and testing. This year, Lockheed and Fincantieri Marinette Marine will begin construction on two ships, deliver two ships, complete sea trials for two ships and see three ships commissioned (LCS 13, 15 and 17).