The littoral combat ship program continues to push ships to the fleet as the program begins to wind down ahead of the Navy’s planned transition to a future frigate.
In Marinette, Wisconsin, Lockheed and Fincantieri’s latest mono-hull LCS, the Sioux City, completed acceptance trials in Lake Michigan, according to May 31 announcement. That ship is preparing to commission in Annapolis, Maryland, in the Fall after some weather and mechanical delays pushed back trials. The Sioux City is the sixth mono-hull LCS.
Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, in May delivered its eighth trimaran LCS, the Tulsa, and the second LCS delivered by the yard this year. The first one, the Manchester, was commissioned May 26.
Both yards are still churning on a backlog of LCS. The ships will be coming fast and furious over the next couple of years as Austal, Lockheed and Fincantieri all pursue strategies to secure the contract to build the Navy’s future frigate, known as FFG(X).
At Marinette, the yard has seven other ships in production as well as one in long-lead procurement. Austal is working on five other LCS and the last three expeditionary fast transport ships of the 12 ordered.
Between the two shipyards, there are no fewer than three proposals for the FFG(X).
Fincantieri is pushing hard to make FREMM the Navy’s next frigate, which would likely be built at Marinette. You can read all about the FREMM below:
Lockheed is also likely eyeing Marinette for its proposal for FFG(X), a variant of the Freedom mono-hull LCS, for which it is the prime contractor.
Austal is likewise proposing a variant of its trimaran LCS and the stakes for that shipyard are especially high since it is coming to the end of both its programs. Lockheed and Fincantieri are anticipating an order of a Freedom LCS variant multi-mission surface combatant for Saudi Arabia’s naval recapitalization.
All three of the contractors are among five competing for the FFG(X) contract. Navantia and Huntington Ingalls are the other two.
David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.