Industry team lays keel on 19th Navy littoral combat ship

MARINETTE, Wis. An industry team led by Lockheed Martin recently officially laid the keel for the U.S. Navy's 19th littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS St. Louis, in a ceremony held at Fincantieri Marinette Marine.

The team -- led by and also including shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 800 suppliers in 42 states -- is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant of the LCS. It has already delivered four ships to the U.S. Navy to date. The future USS St. Louis is one of seven ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with two more in long-lead production.

The steel monohull design of the LCS Freedom-variant, based on a proven design, costs less than a third of a brand new Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and is regarded as the U.S. Navy's most affordable surface combatant shipbuilding program.

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