On July 1, the 15th Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) was launched into the Menominee River at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard, by the Lockheed Martin-led industry team.
Lockheed's Indago Quadcopter UAS was used to provide aerial footage of the event. The Indago weighs less than five pounds, is collapsible, and thanks to its ability to be equipped with a variety of payloads, the UAS is usable for several applications, including mapping, precision agriculture and reconnaissance.
LCS 15, which will undergo additional outfitting and testing at Fincantieri Marinette Marine before its anticipated delivery in 2018, is the future USS Billings, making it the first U.S. Navy ship to have the same name as the largest city in the state of Montana.
“I know the people of Billings - and all Montanans - look forward to supporting Billings and her future crews for decades to come,” says ship sponsor Sharla D. Tester
, who christened LCS 15 just prior to the launch by breaking a champagne bottle across the ship's bow.
Tester expressed the significance of being ship sponsor by saying, “there is no greater honor than to serve as the sponsor of the future USS Billings and to help bring this magnificent warship one step closer to joining the fleet.”
Right now, the Lockheed Martin-led industry team is in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant of the LCS, and thus far, has delivered four ships to the U.S. Navy.
Joe North, vice president of Littoral Ships and Systems, says, “the Freedom-variant LCS plays a critical role in the U.S. Navy's fleet, and we are committed to getting Billings and her highly capable sister ships into combatant commanders' hands as quickly as possible.”
“These flexible ships will help the Navy achieve its goals of growing the fleet rapidly and affordably.”
According to Lockheed, the future USS Billings is “one of eight ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with one more in long-lead production.”
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