BUFFALO, N.Y. --- The U.S. Navy commissioned USS Little Rock (LCS 9) –– the nation's fifth Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) –– on the Buffalo River on Dec. 16. This milestone officially places the ship, which was designed and built by Lockheed Martin - and Fincantieri Marinette Marine into active service.
USS Little Rock completed its acceptance trials in August and was delivered to the U.S. Navy on Sept. 25. She joins four other Freedom-variant ships in the fleet: USS Freedom (LCS 1), USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and USS Detroit (LCS 7). Collectively, Freedom-variant littoral combat ships have sailed over 250,000 nautical miles and successfully completed two overseas deployments.
"As a company with strong ties to Arkansas and Upstate New York, we are privileged to have delivered USS Little Rock to the Navy and see her commissioned in the state where so many of our employees call home," said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president of small surface combatants and ship systems. "We take great pride in knowing that USS Little Rock and her dedicated crews will serve in the defense of our great nation, enabling the U.S. Navy to carry out its missions where and when needed for decades to come."
Named in honor of the patriotic and hardworking citizens of Little Rock, LCS 9 is the second U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of Arkansas' largest city. She will join USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and USS Detroit (LCS 7) at Naval Station Mayport, her homeport, in a few short weeks.
"These are complex vessels, and it takes a strong team effort to design, build and prepare these warships for the fleet," said Francesco Valente, Fincantieri Marine Group president and CEO. "I am extremely proud of our entire LCS team, including our shipbuilders at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, who transformed raw American steel into the capable warship you see today."
The Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant of the LCS, and has delivered five ships to the U.S. Navy to date. There are eight ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with one more in long-lead production.
The Freedom-variant LCS team is comprised of Lockheed Martin, shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 800 suppliers in 42 states.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 97,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
Founded in 1942, Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) is located on the Menominee River flowage into Green Bay. The largest shipyard in the Midwest, FMM has delivered more than 1,300 vessels to the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and commercial customers, including the technologically advanced Littoral Combat Ship Freedom variant for the U.S. Navy. In 2008, FMM along with several sister shipyards also based in the Great Lakes region, became part of Fincantieri, one of the world's largest shipbuilding groups.
Gibbs & Cox, the nation's leading independent maritime solutions firm specializing in naval architecture, marine engineering and design, is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. The company, founded in 1929, has provided designs for nearly 80 percent of the current U.S. Navy surface combatant fleet; approaching 7,000 naval and commercial ships have been built to Gibbs & Cox designs.