Littoral Combat Ship 21 Christened and Launched
Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 21, the future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul was launched into the Menominee River on Saturday at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine Shipyard.
Ship sponsor Jodi J. Greene, Deputy Under Secretary of the U.S. Navy for Policy, christened the vessel.
The future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul 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 "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The ship will be homeported in Mayport, Florida.
She is flexible, with 40 percent of the hull easily reconfigurable. She is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots, is also automated and reportedly has the most efficient staffing of any combat ship. She is equipped with Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) and a Mark 110 gun, capable of firing 220 rounds per minute.
The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin in Marinette, Wisconsin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).
LCS 21 is the 11th Freedom-variant LCS, the 21st in the class. She is the second ship named in honor of Minnesota's twin cities. The first was a Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine that served from 1984 to 2008. Two U.S. Navy ships have been named for Minneapolis and two for St. Paul. The first Minneapolis was a cruiser commissioned from 1894 until 1921. The second Minneapolis was a New Orleans-class cruiser commissioned in 1934, earning 16 battle stars for World War II service by 1946, when she was decommissioned. The first St. Paul, a passenger liner chartered by the Navy, served in the Spanish-American War and in World War I. The second St. Paul was a Baltimore-class cruiser commissioned in 1945, earned one battle star for World War II service, eight battle stars for Korean service, and eight battle stars for Vietnam service by the time it was decommissioned in 1971.
Lockheed Martin is in full-rate production and has delivered eight ships to the U.S. Navy. There are eight ships in various stages of production and test. This year, Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine will begin construction on two ships, deliver two ships, complete sea trials for two ships and see three ships commissioned (LCS 13, 15 and 17).