SEPTEMBER 19, 2016 —The Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)-led LCS industry team launched the thirteenth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Wichita, into the Menominee River at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, WI, September17.
Ship sponsor, Kate Lehrer, christened the ship by breaking a champagne bottle across its bow just prior to the launch.
"It is an honor and privilege to serve as the sponsor of the future USS Wichita and to be a part of this major milestone in the ship's journey towards joining the great U.S. Navy fleet," she said. "I look forward to an ongoing relationship with Wichita's future crews and their families throughout the ship's service."
The ship will undergo additional outfitting and testing at Fincantieri Marinette Marine before its anticipated delivery next year.
"The christening and launch of LCS 13 marks an important step in her journey towards joining the fleet," said Joe North, vice president of Littoral Ships and Systems. "The Freedom-variant LCS plays a critical role in the U.S. Navy's maritime security strategy, and we are committed to getting LCS 13 and her highly capable sister ships into combatant commanders' hands as quickly as possible."
The industry team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant, with six ships under construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine and three more in long-lead material procurement. The ship's design and open architecture allows the Navy to rapidly acquire and deploy a fleet of highly flexible and capable ships at a fraction of the cost of other platforms.
"Fincantieri Marinette Marine is proud to christen and launch another Freedom-variant warship that will enable our Navy to carry out its missions where and when needed," said Jan Allman, Fincantieri Marinette Marine president and CEO. "We continue to optimize our production processes and leverage the craftsmanship and skills of our employees to produce these high quality vessels for our sailors."
LCS 13 will be the third U.S. Navy ship named USS Wichita. Previous ships to bear the name included a World War II heavy cruiser (CA-45) and a Wichita-class Replenishment Oiler (AOR-1).
The Lockheed Martin-led LCS team includes shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 500 suppliers in 37 states.