Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington announced separate $564 million orders to Lockheed Martin Corp. in Baltimore, and to Austal USA in Mobile, Ala., to build one littoral combat ship apiece. Lockheed Martin will build a Freedom-class LCS, while Austal USA will build one Independence-class LCS.
The Navy is building two littoral combat ship classes. The Lockheed Martin Freedom class (LCS-1) a conventional 3,200-ton monohull, while the Austal USA 2,800-ton Independence (LCS-2) class is designed with a trimarin hull.
The LCS is a relatively small surface warship designed to operate close to shore. These vessels are slightly smaller than the Navy's former Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates and have been likened to corvettes.
Each LCS has a flight deck and hangar for two SH-60 or MH-60 Seahawk helicopters, a stern ramp for operating small boats, space for a small assault force with fighting vehicles to a roll-on/roll-off port facility.
The ships primarily are for missions like minesweeping while under the cover of a destroyer, as well as patrolling, port visits, anti-piracy, and partnership-building exercises. As designed the LCS is not designed to fight in contested areas, but a variant of the ship is planned with enhanced armor, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, and anti-aircraft capability to operate as a frigate.
The Navy has six littoral combat ships in commission, and 10 LCS vessels under construction. The the award of the LCS orders last week, 10 additional littoral combat ships are in the planning stages. The two latest orders will be LCS hull numbers 25 and 26.
On the Lockheed Martin LCS order, the company will do the work in Marinette, Wis.; Walpole, Mass.; Washington, D.C.; Oldsmar, Fla.; Beloit, Wis.; Moorestown, N.J; Minneapolis; and other locations, and should be finished by July 2020.
Austal USA will do the work on its order in Mobile, Ala.; Pittsfield, Mass.; Cincinnati; Baltimore; Burlington, Vt.; New Orleans; and other locations, and should be finished by July 2020.
For more information contact the Lockheed Martin Corp. Mission Systems and Training segment online at www.lockheedmartin.com/us/mst, Austal USA at www.austal.com, or Naval Sea Systems Command at www.navsea.navy.mil.