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13th Littoral Combat Ship, USS Wichita, commissioned by US Navy

According to Lockheed Martin, The U.S. Navy commissioned USS Wichita (LCS 13) – the nation's seventh Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) – at Naval Station Mayport on January 12 2019, before a crowd including active-duty and veteran sailors. This milestone places the ship, built by the Lockheed Martin (LMT)-led team into active service.

13th Littoral Combat Ship USS Wichita commissioned by US Navy 925 001 Wichita LCS-13 (Picture source : Lockheed Martin)

Unique among combat ships, LCS is designed to complete close-to-shore missions and is a growing and relevant part of the Navy's fleet.

It is fast (capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots), automated (with the most efficient staffing of any combat ship), lethal (standard equipped with Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) and a Mark 110 gun, capable of firing 220 rounds per minute), flexible (with 40 percent of the hull easily reconfigurable, integrating capabilities like the Longbow Hellfire Missiles, 30mm guns, and manned and unmanned vehicles targeted to meet today's and tomorrow's missions).

"We are confident that LCS 13 will be what the Navy needs, when the fleet needs it, and we are proud to mark this day with her crew as the Navy welcomes its newest combat ship," said Joe DePietro, vice president, Small Combatants and Ship Systems, Lockheed Martin. "We remain focused on delivering these ships as quickly as possible with increasing capability and lethality."

The LCS is a highly maneuverable, lethal and adaptable ship, designed to support focused mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare missions. It is enabled with the COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System, built from the Aegis Common Source Library, which drives commonality among the fleet. The Freedom-variant LCS integrates new technology and capability to affordably support current and future mission capability from deep water to the littorals.

"Like a proud parent, I am so excited to share with you how awesome this ship really is," said LCS 13's Commanding Officer, Commander Nathan Rowan. "People ask me about Littoral Combat Ship. Is it a new cruiser or destroyer? Actually it's neither. It's an entirely new category of warship. The LCS packs quite a hefty punch for such a small package."

There are seven ships in various stages of production and test at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Wisconsin, where the Freedom-variant LCS is built. The next Freedom-variant in the class is LCS 15, the future USS Billings, slated for delivery this spring.