The U.S. Navy issued a contract modification and additional procurement funding totaling $441 million to Lockheed Martin and its partners in the Littoral Combat Ship program. The new funding will cover the cost of LCS 21 and LCS 23, the eleventh and twelfth vessels of the Freedom Class Littoral Combat Ships.
Lockheed Martin and its partners, including Marinette Marine Corporation, a shipbuilder in Marinette, Wis., and naval architect Gibbs & Cox of Arlington, Va., were assigned the Freedom-Class contract in 2010.
According to Lockheed, there are nearly 900 suppliers in 43 states contributing to the Freedom-class LCS program. The diesel-powered ships are designed to be a fast, maneuverable and networked surface combatant for missions like anti-mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, and humanitarian relief
The LCS vessels are combat-capable ships designed for “multi-mission support” in littoral zones (i.e., near to shore.) The first ship in the series was commissioned in 2008, and the Pentagon has issued contracts for a total of 55 ships. Another version of the LCS, called the Independence Class, is included in the total but those vessels are built by a different consortium.
The Lockheed team’s new award is defined as $362 million to fully fund the cost of one LCS, and $79 million in advanced procurement funding for a second ship. The balance of the cost of the second ship will be funded by Dec. 31, 2015, according to Lockheed.
The award also includes a priced option for one additional fiscal year 2016 ship.
“We are proud to continue this partnership with the Navy in building the advanced Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, and we thank the Navy for maintaining the cost and schedule for the block buy,” stated Lockheed’s Joe North, v.p. of Littoral Ship Systems at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training. “Thousands of people across the country contribute to this important program and will continue to do so as we transition to the new frigate upgrade in the coming years.”
The first ship completed under the 2010 contract, the Milwaukee (LCS 5), was christened and launched in 2013. It is slated to be delivered to the Navy this summer. The second ship, Detroit (LCS 7), was launched in 2014.
Little Rock (LCS 9) and Sioux City (LCS 11) are in construction, with christening and launch planned this summer for LCS 9.
In February, Marinette Marine laid the keep for Wichita (LCS 13). Billings (LCS 15), Indianapolis (LCS 17), and the yet-to-be named LCS 19 are in the construction phase.