Navy Commissions USS Little Rock
The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Little Rock (LCS 9) on Saturday at the Canalside waterfront in Buffalo, New York.
The future USS Little Rock, designated LCS 9, is the 10th littoral combat ship to enter the fleet and the fifth of the Freedom-variant design. It is the second warship named for the Arkansas state capital and was commissioned alongside the first USS Little Rock (CL 92), which serves as a museum at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.
"The future USS Little Rock represents much more than the state capital of Arkansas, it represents service," said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. "This ship would not exist without the dedicated service of the men and women of Marinette Marine, who can be proud of the accomplishment of putting another warship to sea. Once commissioned, this ship will provide presence around the globe for decades to come."
LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, designed to meet validated fleet requirements for Surface Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare and Mine Countermeasures missions in the littoral region. An interchangeable mission package is embarked on each LCS and provides the primary mission systems in one of these warfare areas. Using an open architecture design, modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to gain, sustain and exploit littoral maritime supremacy, LCS provides U.S. joint force access to critical areas in multiple theaters.
The LCS-class consists of the Freedom variant and Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered ships, e.g. LCS 1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and follow-on even-numbered ships). 29 LCS ships have been awarded to date: 11 have been delivered to the Navy, five are in various stages of construction and three are in pre-production states.
Most recently, in October, the U.S. Navy awarded the Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine team a contract to build LCS 27. The contract value is under the 2017 congressional cost cap of $584 million per ship.