U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus met with industry team members Sept. 12 for a tour of the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard and update on the Lockheed Martin-led Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program. Mabus, who served as an officer aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock, also addressed employees at the shipyard where LCS 9, the future USS Little Rock, is undergoing construction.
“The littoral combat ship is a critical piece of our future naval forces,” said Mabus. “The U.S. Navy depends on your contributions to this program and our fleet as we continue to meet the challenging missions we face every day.”
Mabus met with Dale Bennett, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training, Joe North, vice president of littoral ship systems for Lockheed Martin, and Marinette Marine President and CEO Chuck Goddard during the visit to discuss the program’s status. He also spoke with local media about the LCS program.
Lockheed Martin and the Navy will soon celebrate the launch of Milwaukee (LCS 5) at the shipyard. Construction of Milwaukee (LCS 5), Detroit (LCS 7), Little Rock (LCS 9) and Sioux City (LCS 11) is underway, and long-lead construction material is being procured for Wichita (LCS 13) and Billings (LCS 15). Mabus announced in August that the next Freedom-variant warship will be named Indianapolis (LCS 17).
The Navy’s first LCS, the USS Freedom, is more than halfway through a 10-month deployment to Southeast Asia. Through multi-national naval exercises, such as the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), with Malaysia and Singapore, Freedom is proving the Navy’s operational concept with her success.
The Lockheed Martin-led team’s second ship, USS Fort Worth, has received a new paint scheme and is preparing for her next Navy task.