The LCS St. Louis Hits The Water
Sun Shines On Christening, Launch Of LCS St. LouisIssue Date: December 20, 2018
Wisconsin weather cooperated and gave Fincantieri Marinette Marine a beautiful day on Saturday, Dec. 15 for the christening and launch of Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 19 - the future USS St. Louis - into the cold waters of the Menominee River before a crowd of invited guests at the Marinette shipyard. LCS 19 is the 10th ship of its class built in Marinette for the United States Navy.
"LCS 19 is the second ship we've christened and launched this year. Our shipbuilding team has truly hit its stride. We completed trials on three ships and delivered two more. Once delivered to the Navy, LCS 19 will be on its way to independently completing targeted missions around the world," said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of Small Combatants and Ship Systems. "We remain focused on delivering these affordable ships to the fleet as quickly as possible and increasing capability with each hull."
The Freedom-variant LCS built in Marinette integrates new technology and capability to affordably support current and future missions from deep water to the littorals. LCS is a highly maneuverable, lethal and adaptable ship, designed to support focused mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare missions. LCS 19 is targeted to support the mine countermeasures mission.
"We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to launch a beautiful ship," said DePietro of the unseasonably warm weather on Saturday. "It is an incredible thing, to see an idea become a reality, and it is deeply humbling to see a team of people give themselves to bring St. Louis to this momentous day."
Ship sponsor Barbara Broadhurst Taylor, daughter of a decorated World War II aviator and wife of a prominent St. Louis businessman and community leader, christened LCS 19 just prior to launch.
"I am thrilled and very honored to be the sponsor of the future USS St. Louis. The combination of my family's military background and the enduring spirit of the great city of St. Louis make this incredibly meaningful," Taylor said. "This is the seventh ship to bear the name St. Louis, and I know that the people of our great city are extremely proud that this distinguished legacy will continue."
Taylor said she is honored and humbled to be a part of the family of the future USS St. Louis, a family that includes "...the talented men and women who built her, the honorable, courageous, dedicated sailors assigned to her crew, the mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and children who pray for them and support them every day. The unwavering service and sacrifice you give to our country is beyond measure."
Other speakers at the event included Fincantieri Marinette Marine president and CEO Jan Allman; Dario Deste, president and CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group; Rear Admiral John Neagley, program executive officer for unmanned and small combatants with the U.S. Navy; Lyda Krewson, Mayor of St. Louis; Vice Admiral William Lescher, deputy chief of naval operations for integration of capabilities and resources with the Navy; Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich.; Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Lockheed Martin is in full-rate production and has delivered seven ships to the U.S. Navy. There are seven ships in various stages of production and test at Fincantieri Marinette Marine. This year, the Lockheed Martin-led team began construction on two ships, delivered two ships, completed sea trials for three ships and saw one delivered ship commissioned. LCS 13, the future USS Wichita, is slated for commissioning in Mayport, Florida, on Jan. 12.
"We are proud to be building LCS-19 and her sister ships at the heartland's only naval shipyard," said Allman. "Today's launch and christening is a testament to the hard work of more than 2,000 workers who pass through the shipyard's gates, put on their hard hats and build American warships."
Unique among combat ships, LCS is designed to complete close-to-shore missions and is a growing and relevant part of the Navy's fleet. Company spokesmen describe the vessels as fast - capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots; automated - with the most efficient staffing of any combat ship; lethal - standard equipped with Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) and a Mark 110 gun, capable of firing 220 rounds per minute, and flexible - with 40 percent of the hull easily reconfigurable, integrating capabilities like the Longbow Hellfire Missiles, 30mm guns, and manned and unmanned vehicles targeted to meet today's and tomorrow's missions.The LCS are designed and built by a team of Lockheed Martin, which is headquartered in Bethesda, Md., and Fincantieri, which is the leading western shipbuilder with a rich history dating back more than 230 years, and a track record of building more than 7,000 ships.
Fincantieri Marine Group is the American subsidiary of Fincantieri, and operates three Great Lakes Shipyards: Fincantieri Marinette Marine, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, and Fincantieri ACE Marine in Green Bay. Fincantieri Marine Group's more than 2,100 steelworkers, craftsman, engineers and technicians in the United States specialize in the design, construction and maintenance of merchant ships and government vessels, including for the United States Navy and Coast Guard. The Freedom Class LCS are built only in Marinette.
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