MARINETTE, Wis., 24 Sept. 2008. A Lockheed Martin-led industry team delivered America's first Littoral Combat Ship, Freedom (LCS 1), to the U.S. Navy last week. The delivery milestone marks the Navy's preliminary acceptance of LCS 1, clearing the way for the ship's crew to prepare her for commissioning and service.
"This is a truly exciting day for the Navy. Today marks a critical milestone in fulfilling the need and realizing the vision we began just a few years ago," says Capt. James Murdoch, the LCS Program Manager. "Despite our challenges, the Navy and industry have continued to press on to build and deliver the first ship of a unique class, a ship class that will give our Nation our own asymmetric advantages against future maritime threats."
The 378-foot Freedom – a survivable, semi-planing steel monohull – will help the Navy defeat growing threats and provide access and dominance in the littoral battlespace, Lockheed Martin officials say. Reaching speeds of more than 40 knots and displacing 3,000 metric tons, Freedom is a fast, maneuverable and networked surface combatant with operational flexibility to execute focused missions, such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and surface warfare. It also has the potential for a wide range of additional missions including maritime interdiction and humanitarian/disaster relief, company officials say.
In 2004, the Navy awarded a contract to the Lockheed Martin team to develop the first LCS. Construction began in February 2005 and Freedom was christened and launched in September 2006. This represents less than half the time typically required to design, build, launch, and deliver a first-in-class combatant, Lockheed Martin officials say. Freedom successfully completed sea trials in August 2008 and will be commissioned on November 8, 2008 in Milwaukee, Wis., and eventually homeported in San Diego.
The Lockheed Martin-led industry team for LCS includes naval architect Gibbs & Cox, ship builders Marinette Marine, a subsidiary of The Manitowoc Company, Inc., Bollinger Shipyards, and other domestic and international teammates.