Saturday, a Lockheed Martin led team held a keel-laying ceremony at Marinette Marine’s shipyard for the USS Fort Worth, marking the start of construction for the U.S. Navy’s third Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The future USS Fort Worth, named in honor of the Texas city, will be 378 feet in length, have a waterline beam of 57 feet, displace approximately 3,000 tons and will make speed in excess of 40 knots.
LCS is a new breed of agile warships that are designed to operate in the world’s coastal waters and provide the Navy with fast, maneuverable and shallow-draft ships aimed at maximizing mission flexibility.
The LCS is a fast, highly manoeuverable, networked surface combat ship, which is a specialised variant of the family of US future surface combat ships known as DD(X). LCS is designed to satisfy the urgent requirement for shallow draft vessels to operate in the littoral (coastal waters) to counter growing potential ‘asymmetric’ threats of coastal mines, quiet diesel submarines and the potential to carry explosives and terrorists on small, fast, armed boats. (Naval-Technology.com)
In March 2009, the Navy awarded the Lockheed Martin team a fixed price incentive fee contract to construct the USS Fort Worth, scheduled to be delivered in 2012. The team’s first LCS, USS Freedom, was commissioned in Milwaukee in November 2008.
General Dynamics was awarded the contract for USS Independence (LCS 2) in October 2005. The keel was laid in January 2006 at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama and it is expected to be commissioned this year.