Video: Littoral Combat Ship USS Billings Commissioned
The U.S. Navy commissioned USS Billings (LCS 15) – the nation's eighth Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) – in Key West, Florida, on Saturday.
The ship, built by the Lockheed Martin, is designed to complete close-to-shore missions. She is designed to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.
She is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots, highly automated - claiming the most efficient staffing of any combat ship - and is equipped with Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) and a Mark 110 gun, capable of firing 220 rounds per minute. 40 percent of the hull easily reconfigurable and can be fitted with Longbow Hellfire Missiles, 30mm guns, and manned and unmanned vehicles.
"Having now commanded two freedom class LCS variants, I would like to report that these ships are truly impressive and will fit well in the niche they have been designed for," said LCS 15's Commanding Officer, Commander Nathan Rowan. "They are fast, maneuverable, and their weapon systems are some of the most accurate I've witnessed on any platform of which I've previously served."
The ship will be homeported in Mayport, Florida.
The USS Billings and her crew will play an important role in the defense of our nation and maritime freedom, said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. "She stands as proof of what teamwork - from civilian to contractor to military - can accomplish. This fast, agile platform will deliver her motto, 'Big Sky Over Troubled Waters,' worldwide thanks to their efforts."
The ship is named in honor of Billings, the largest city in Montana, as well as the people and military veterans of the state. The USS Billings is the first ship of this name in naval service.
Montana has a rich history and proud heritage of naval service, with 30 ships named over the years in honor of places and people, including the currently serving Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Helena (SSN 725) and the under construction Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Montana (SSN 794). Montana also has one of the highest per capita veteran populations, according to the Veterans Administration.
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, Marinette, Wisconsin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).
There are seven ships in various stages of production and test at Fincantieri Marinette Marine. The next Freedom-variant in the class is LCS 17, the future USS Indianapolis, which was delivered in late July.