The Navy and Lockheed Martin, with Marinette Marine Corp., held a keel laying ceremony Feb. 19 in Marinette, Wisc., for the future USS Sioux City (LCS 11), the Navy’s 11th littoral combat ship.
The keel-laying ceremony recognizes the first joining together of a ship’s components. While modern shipbuilding processes allow advanced fabrication of individual modules, laying the keel represents the formal beginning in the life of a ship. LCS 11 is the first Navy ship to be named after Sioux City, Iowa.
Ship sponsor Mary Winnefeld, wife of Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld, Jr., authenticated the keel by having her initials welded into a sheet of the ship’s hull.
“I’m both honored and delighted to be back in my home state of Wisconsin as the sponsor of Sioux City,” said Mrs. Winnefeld. “It’s been a real privilege to meet the great Americans who are building this versatile ship, and I thank them in advance for their quality work. I look forward to meeting her crew soon, being part of her family, and bringing our ship to life when she’s commissioned.”
LCS is a high-speed, agile, shallow draft, mission-focused surface warship designed for operations in the littoral, or coastal, environment (within 300 nautical miles of land), yet fully capable of open ocean operations. Sioux City is one of four Freedom-variant LCS currently under construction at Marinette Marine. The ship is expected to deliver to the fleet in 2017.
“We are acknowledging an important milestone in the life of the newest Littoral Combat Ship, and we are also celebrating a monumental leap forward in the strength, capability, and flexibility of the Navy’s future Surface Fleet. LCS 11 and the entire LCS Class are truly without precedent in our national defense arsenal – breaking new ground in Navy acquisition, ship design, and warfighting technology,” said Capt. Tom Anderson, LCS program manager.
The Navy is committed to the LCS program and is leveraging competition, fixed-price contracting and ongoing production to reduce construction time and costs. Lessons learned from the lead ships have been incorporated in the follow on ships.
PEO LCS is responsible for delivering and sustaining credible littoral mission capabilities to the fleet and is working with industry to achieve steady production to increase production efficiencies and leverage cost savings. Delivering high-quality warfighting assets while balancing affordability and capability is key to supporting the nation’s maritime strategy.