The U.S. Navy christened its newest Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), USS Billings (LCS-15), during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony Saturday, July 1, in Marinette, Wisconsin.
The future USS Billings honors the largest city in Montana. It will be the first ship of its name in naval service.
Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Sharla Tester, the wife of Montana Senator Jon Tester, the ranking member of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee, served as the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony was highlighted by Mrs. Tester breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship, a time-honored Navy tradition.
«The christening of the future USS Billings (LCS-15) brings this great warship one step closer to joining the fleet, where it will, for decades to come, serve as a tribute to the great people of Billings and the state of Montana, as well as the highly skilled men and women who built our nation’s newest littoral combat ship», said the Honorable Sean Stackley, acting Secretary of the U.S. Navy.
The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g. LCS-1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS-6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).
Each LCS is outfitted with a single mission package made up of mission modules containing warfighting systems and support equipment. A dedicated ship crew will combine with aviation assets to deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare or surface warfare missions.
Ship Design Specifications
|Hull||Advanced semiplaning steel monohull|
|Length Overall||389 feet/118.6 m|
|Beam Overall||57 feet/17.5 m|
|Draft||13.5 feet/4.1 m|
|Full Load Displacement||Approximately 3,200 metric tons|
|Top Speed||Greater than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h|
|Range at top speed||1,000 NM/1,151 miles/1,852 km|
|Range at cruise speed||4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km|
|Watercraft Launch and Recovery||Up to Sea State 4|
|Aircraft Launch and Recovery||Up to Sea State 5|
|Propulsion||Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion|
|Power||85 MW/113,600 horsepower|
|Hangar Space||Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters|
|One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)|
|Core Crew||Less than 50|
|Accommodations for 75 sailors provide higher sailor quality of life than current fleet|
|Integrated Bridge System||Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation|
|Core Self-Defense Suite||Includes 3D air search radar|
|Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) gunfire control system|
|Rolling-Airframe Missile Launching System|
|57-mm Main Gun|
|Mine, Torpedo Detection|
|Decoy Launching System|
|USS Freedom (LCS-1)||06-02-2005||09-23-2006||11-08-2008||San Diego, California|
|USS Fort Worth (LCS-3)||07-11-2009||12-07-2010||09-22-2012||San Diego, California|
|USS Milwaukee (LCS-5)||10-27-2011||12-18-2013||11-21-2015||San Diego, California|
|USS Detroit (LCS-7)||08-11-2012||10-18-2014||10-22-2016||San Diego, California|
|USS Little Rock (LCS-9)||06-27-2013||07-18-2015|
|USS Sioux City (LCS-11)||02-19-2014||01-30-2016|
|USS Wichita (LCS-13)||02-09-2015||09-17-2016|
|USS Billings (LCS-15)||11-02-2015||07-01-2017|
|USS Indianapolis (LCS-17)||07-18-2016|
|USS St. Louis (LCS-19)||05-17-2017|
|USS Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21)|
|USS Cooperstown (LCS-23)|
|USS Marinette LCS-25|