Navy admiral calls for “aggressive fielding” of LCS to support U.S.’s new military strategy
President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta unveiled the new military strategy for the United States on Jan. 5. A week later, the Navy gave some insight into how it will implement that new strategy.
In a speech at the 24th annual Surface Navy Association’s National Symposium Jan. 10, Rear Adm. Thomas Rowden, director of the service’s surface warfare division, said the Navy plans an “aggressive fielding” strategy for the Littoral Combat Ship.
Adding the ships to the fleet faster will enable the Navy to increase its presence in key areas such as the South China Sea and the Persian Gulf. At the same time, the multi-mission LCS will help the U.S. build relationships with the nation’s existing and potential allies in those regions, Rowden said.
Lockheed Martin is doing its part to assist the Navy in getting the ships to the fleet faster. The Lockheed Martin led team built the nation’s first LCS – the USS Freedom – and delivered it to the Navy in late 2008. Freedom went to sea on its first deployment in 2010 – two years ahead of schedule.
Work on the team’s second LCS – the future USS Fort Worth – is on budget, on time and 98 percent complete. The ship is scheduled to undergo Navy acceptance trials this spring. Construction of the next two Freedom variant ships is underway at the team’s Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin.
According to Joe North, vice president for Lockheed Martin’s Littoral Ship Systems, during a SNA briefing, construction began on LCS 5 – the Milwaukee – in August and 17 of its 46 modules are now being built, while work on three of the 46 modules for LCS 7 – the team’s fourth ship – has started.
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