The US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship 21, the future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul, has been launched by the Lockheed Martin-led shipbuilding team at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine Shipyard in Wisconsin.
Ship sponsor Jodi Greene, Deputy Under Secretary of the US Navy for Policy, christened LCS 21 prior to launch.
"LCS is the second largest ship class in the US Navy, and Lockheed Martin is proud to deliver capability and added force projection with each additional hull," said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of small combatants and ship systems.
"LCS is ready to serve a variety of missions, and our team is working with the Navy to add lethality and survivability enhancements to meet the missions sailors will face in the future."
The LCS is a high-speed, agile, multi-mission combatant, with the Independence variant open ocean capable but designed to "defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in the coastal water battlespace".
The vessel is designed for critical missions including mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare.
"Littoral combat ships are designed to operate in more areas than a typical Navy ship, including shallow water near the coastline," said the ship's sponsor and Northfield, Minnesota native Deputy Undersecretary Greene.
"Consequently, LCS 21 is going to bring the name 'Minneapolis-Saint Paul' all around the globe."
Lockheed Martin is in full-rate production and has so far delivered eight ships to the US Navy, with a further eight vessels in various stages of production and test.
The company confirmed that this year it will begin construction on two ships, deliver two ships, complete sea trials for two ships and see three ships commissioned (LCS 13, 15 and 17).
"We take great pride in building the future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul and all of the freedom variant ships," said Jan Allman, Fincantieri Marinette Marine president and CEO.
"LCS 21 and her sister ships will soon represent the interests of the United States where and when needed."