A Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]-led industry team officially laid the keel for the U.S. Navy's ninth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Little Rock, in a ceremony held at Marinette Marine Corporation.
The industry team is building the Freedom-variant LCS for the U.S. Navy on
budget, has delivered two ships with four others under construction and two
in the early material procurement stages. With the nation's first LCS, USS
Freedom, currently on its maiden deployment to Southeast Asia, the Lockheed
Martin-led team is addressing the Navy's need for an affordable,
highly-networked and modular ship unlike any other in the world, designed to
conduct a variety of missions including anti-surface, mine and submarine
In keeping with a time-honored tradition, ship sponsor Janée Bonner
authenticated the keel by having her initials welded into a sheet of the
ship's steel. She was assisted by Marinette Marine Corporation's President
and CEO Chuck Goddard.
"It is an honor to serve as the sponsor of the future USS Little Rock, the
ninth ship in a class that's so vital to our national defense strategy,"
said Janée Bonner. "This marks the beginning of my commitment to support
her, as well as the brave crews that will serve on the ship to defend our
The Lockheed Martin-led LCS team includes ship builder Marinette Marine
Corporation, a Fincantieri company, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, as well as
nearly 900 suppliers in 43 states, including approximately 30 small
businesses in Wisconsin and Michigan.
"This is a great milestone for the U.S. Navy's future USS Little Rock and
for the program as we continue to deliver ships," said Joe North, vice
president of Littoral Ship Systems at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and
Training. "As we transition into serial production, we're applying
lessons-learned to the construction process that our team has learned from
supporting the U.S. Navy in maintaining the team's first and second ships."
Lay the keel is a shipbuilding term that marks the beginning of the module
erection process, which is a significant undertaking that signifies the ship
coming to life. Modern warships are now largely built in a series of
pre-fabricated, complete hull sections rather than a single keel, so the
actual start of the shipbuilding process is now considered to be when the
first sheet of steel is cut and is often marked with a ceremonial event.
About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and
aerospace company that employs about 118,000 people worldwide and is
principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture,
integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and
services. The Corporation's net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.
Fincantieri is one of the world's largest shipbuilding groups, building over
7,000 vessels in over 200 years. A world leader in cruise ship construction
and a key player in other sectors including naval vessels, megayachts and
special high value-added vessels, ship repairs and conversions, With over
10,000 employees and eight shipyards in Italy alone, Fincantieri operates in
the United States through its subsidiary Fincantieri Marine Group (FMG),
serving both civilian and government customers, including the U.S. Navy and
Coast Guard, through its three shipyards (Marinette Marine Corporation, Bay
Shipbuilding, and ACE Marine).
About Gibbs & Cox
Gibbs & Cox, the nation's leading independent maritime solutions firm
specializing in naval architecture, marine engineering and design, is
headquartered in Arlington, VA. The company, founded in 1929, has provided
designs for nearly 80 percent of the current U.S. Navy surface combatant
fleet; approaching 7,000 naval and commercial ships have been built to Gibbs
& Cox designs.