There’s No Place like Home

Navy officially names next Littoral Combat Ship – the USS Wichita

USS-Freedom-Arrives-in-Singapore-680x310 Navy Secretary Ray Mabus recently announced the name of LCS 13 – USS Wichita. A Lockheed Martin-led team is building the Freedom variants at the Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin. The nation’s first LCS, the USS Freedom, shown above, arrives in Singapore as part of its current deployment to Southeast Asia. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy.

In “The Wizard of Oz,” there was no place like home in Kansas for Dorothy.  Now, the nation’s 13th Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) will have its roots in Kansas as well.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced last month that the Freedom-variant LCS 13 will be named the USS Wichita in honor of Kansas’ largest city.

"As secretary of the Navy, I have the great privilege of naming ships that will represent America with distinction as part of the fleet for many decades to come," Mabus said in an official release.

A Lockheed Martin-led team will build LCS 13 at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard in Wisconsin. The team built the nation’s first LCS, the USS Freedom, which recently arrived in Singapore as part of its 10-month deployment to Southeast Asia. While in Southeast Asia, Freedom is expected to participate in the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) May 14-16.

In addition to building Freedom, USS Fort Worth, which was commissioned in September, moved one step closer to official integration into the U.S. Navy fleet after successfully completing Final Contractor’s Trials (FCT) in early April.

Conducted on the West Coast, the FCT featured a successful one-hour, full-power run and both surface and air detect-to-engage demonstrations of the ship’s combat management system. Full power plant testing was conducted and all major hull, mechanical and electrical systems were demonstrated. Additional demonstrations were also conducted of the 57 mm gun, the 30 mm guns and the 11m rigid hull inflatable boat launch handling and recovery.

With the completion of FCT, Fort Worth will now prepare for a post-shakedown availability, a three-month period where the team will address trial cards from the FCT and perform maintenance as well as several Navy-planned upgrades.

The Lockheed Martin team is currently building the Milwaukee (LCS 5), Detroit (LCS 7) and Little Rock (LCS 9) at Marinette Marine. Long-lead construction material is being procured for Sioux City (LCS 11).

Mabus also announced that LCS 14 would be named the USS Manchester, which will be developed by a team from Austal.

Posted May 9, 2013