Keel laying for USS Little Rock, US Navy’s 9th littoral combat ship

Lockheed Martin and Marinette Marine have laid the keel on the US Navy’s ninth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Little Rock.

“This is a great milestone for the U.S. Navy’s future USS Little Rock and for the program as we continue to deliver ships,” said Joe North, vice president of Littoral Ship Systems at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training. “As we transition into serial production, we’re applying lessons-learned to the construction process that our team has learned from supporting the U.S. Navy in maintaining the team’s first and second ships.”

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The USS Little Rock (LCS-9) will be a Freedom-class littoral combat ship, one of two classes of LCS under construction for the US Navy.

The LCS is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.

The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom-class and the Independence-class. They are designed and built by two industry teams, respectively led by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics.

The two LCS classes will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called Mission Packages, which can be changed out quickly. Detachments of mission-specific personnel will support each Mission Packages.  They will deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine, undersea and surface warfare missions.

The 55 LCS-class ships will replace 30 FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates, 14 MCM Avenger Class mine countermeasures vessels, 12 MHC-51 Osprey Class coastal mine hunters.

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