Lockheed Martin team begins work on the LCS 5 – future USS Milwaukee – with delivery set for 2014
In shipbuilding as the number of ships goes up, the price comes down, and the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program is following that trend.
The Lockheed Martin-led industry team began construction of the future USS Milwaukee on August 5 at the Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard in Wisconsin. Work began on the Milwaukee – the LCS program’s fifth ship and third to be built by the Lockheed Martin team – following an extensive Production Readiness Review.
“Starting construction on the fifth ship of the class is a major step in the life of this remarkable program,” said Rear Adm. Jim Murdoch, program executive officer for Littoral Combat Ships. “Based on our success in constructing the previous four ships of the class, I am confident we will deliver this ship on schedule and on cost.”
Lockheed Martin’s vice president of littoral ships systems Joe North echoed Murdoch’s sentiments, citing the work on LCS 3, the Fort Worth, which is nearing completion and scheduled to begin builder’s in the fall. Using lessons learned from designing and building USS Freedom – the first LCS – LCS 3 is being constructed with 30 percent fewer production hours.
“We have successfully worked our way down the learning curve on the Freedom variant, allowing us to establish and meet cost and schedule goals as demonstrated on LCS 3,” North said. “We expect to continue to improve on our performance with LCS 5 and beyond.”
Using operational feedback gained from Freedom’s crew, the Lockheed Martin team is improving production efficiencies and increasing affordability initiatives in building the Fort Worth and the follow-on ships, including the 388-foot long Milwaukee scheduled for delivery in 2014.
LCS is a new breed of Navy warship, capable of open-ocean operation but optimized for littoral, or coastal, missions. The Navy remains committed to a 55-ship LCS program and is leveraging competition, fixed-price contracting and serial production to reduce construction duration and costs. In addition, PEO LCS is committed to ensuring that, prior to the start of fabrication, the ship design is mature and the requirements are well understood.