Naval Sea Systems Command announced Aug. 18 that fabrication of the future USS Milwaukee (LCS 5), the fifth ship of the littoral combat ship class, has begun at Marinette Marine Corp. Shipyard in Marinette, Wis.
To pave the way for the start of fabrication, the LCS program office completed an extensive production readiness review Aug. 3-4.
The ship's design maturity and readiness, the availability of materials and components and the shipbuilder's ability to successfully start fabrication were all closely evaluated. Following the review, the Navy granted authorization for the company to begin construction.
"Starting construction on the fifth ship of the class is a major step in the life of this remarkable program," said Rear Adm. Jim Murdoch, program executive officer for LCS. "Based on our success in constructing the previous four ships of the class, I am confident we will deliver this ship on schedule and on cost."
LCS is a new breed of U.S. Navy warship, capable of open-ocean operation but optimized for littoral, or coastal, missions. The Navy remains committed to a 55- ship LCS program and is leveraging competition, fixed-price contracting and serial production to reduce construction duration and costs. In addition, Program Executive Office (PEO) LCS is committed to ensuring that, prior to the start of fabrication, the ship's design is mature and the requirements are well understood.
Milwaukee is expected to be delivered to the Navy in 2014. The ship will join USS Freedom (LCS 1) and USS Independence (LCS 2), both currently conducting post-delivery tests and trials, as well as the future USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) and USS Coronado (LCS 4), both expected to be delivered in 2012.
Milwaukee was named in honor of the city of Wisconsin, the state in which half of the class will be built. LCS 5 will be 388 feet in length and will be able to reach speeds in excess of 40 knots.
PEO LCS, established July 11 and an affiliated program executive office of Naval Sea Systems Command, provides a single program executive responsible for acquiring and maintaining the littoral mission capabilities of the littoral combat ship class, beginning with procurement, and ending with fleet employment and sustainment. PEO LCS designs, delivers and maintains the systems, equipment and weapons necessary for the littoral combat ship warfighter to dominate the littoral battle space and provide U. S. forces with assured access to coastal areas.