The following is text of a news release from Lockheed Martin:
(MARINETTE, Wis.) — The Lockheed Martin-led shipbuilding team launched littoral combat ship (LCS) 21, the future USS Minneapolis-St. Paul, into the Menominee River at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine Shipyard on Saturday. Ship sponsor Jodi J. Greene, deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Navy for policy, christened LCS 21 just prior to launch.
"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, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of Small Combatants and Ship Systems. "LCS is ready to serve a variety of missions, and our team is working with the Navy to add lethality and survivability enhancements to meet the missions sailors will face in the future."
LCS is designed to complete close-to-shore missions and is a growing and relevant part of the Navy's fleet.
It is flexible — with 40 percent of the hull easily reconfigurable, LCS can be modified to integrate capabilities including over-the-horizon missiles, advanced electronic warfare systems and decoys, and in the future, vertical launching systems or laser weapon systems.
It is fast — capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots.
It is automated — with the most efficient staffing of any combat ship.
It is lethal — standard equipped with rolling airframe missiles (RAM) and a Mark 110 gun, capable of firing 220 rounds per minute.
"Littoral combat ships are designed to operate in more areas than a typical Navy ship, including shallow water near the coastline," said Greene. "Consequently, LCS 21 is going to bring the name 'Minneapolis-St. Paul' all around the globe."
Lockheed Martin is in full-rate production and has delivered eight ships to the U.S. Navy. There are eight ships in various stages of production and testing. This year, Lockheed Martin 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).
"We take great pride in building the future USS Minneapolis-St. Paul and all of the freedom variant ships," said Jan Allman, Fincantieri Marinette Marine president and CEO. "LCS 21 and her sister ships will soon represent the interests of the United States where and when needed."