The advanced procurement dollars approved by Congress provides the funding required to maintain the cost and schedule of the final block buy option. 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," said Joe North, vice president 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 award comes as USS Freedom conducted a successful deployment to Southeast Asia in 2013 and is currently operating out of her homeport in San Diego, California, while USS Fort Worth is deployed until 2016. The USS Fort Worth is serving in the U.S. 7th Fleet to strengthen international relationships, visit more ports, engage in multi-regional naval exercises and further LCS capabilities using both manned and unmanned assets.
The contract modification is for construction of LCS 21 and LCS 23, the 11th and 12th Freedom variant ships. The first ship on this 2010 contract, the Milwaukee (LCS 5), was christened and launched in 2013, and is slated to be delivered to the Navy this summer. Detroit (LCS 7) was launched in 2014. Little Rock (LCS 9) and Sioux City (LCS 11) are in construction, with LCS 9 christening and launch planned for this summer. Wichita (LCS 13) had its keel laid in February 2015. Billings (LCS 15), as well as Indianapolis (LCS 17) and to be named LCS 19 are in the construction phase.
Marinette Marine Corporation, a Fincantieri company, is building the ships in Marinette, Wisconsin, with naval architect Gibbs & Cox of Arlington, Virginia, providing engineering support. Fincantieri has invested more than $100 million in the Marinette facility on upgrades that have increased efficiency and minimized energy consumption, an expansion that will allow for construction of more than two ships at a time, and process improvements that will speed up production.
Nearly 900 suppliers across 43 states are contributing to the Freedom-class LCS program.