IROQUOIS — The latest example of America’s “littoral combat ship” (LCS) output floated eastbound through the local Seaway yesterday evening.
Storied defence contractor Lockheed Martin and shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine turned ‘LCS 19’ over to the U.S. navy earlier this year. Tenth in the so-called ‘Freedom Class’ series, the angular and imposing vessel was en route to Pensacola, Florida, to be commissioned as the USS St. Louis.
The warship’s passage through local waters happened to come during the same week that U.S. President Donald Trump extolled the LCS design during a speech at the manufacturer’s Wisconsin shipyard. “These are the greatest of their kind anywhere in the world, the fastest, the most powerful, the greatest of everything. And the beautiful thing about it [is], it’s all made in the USA,” boasted the American commander-in-chief, after touring a sister ship of LCS 19.
“It’s like a yacht with missiles on it,” Trump bragged at one point in his speech, also lauding his country’s “military industrial base.” and an upcoming follow-up series of new frigates.
Designed to be fast and agile for close-to-shore operations, the U.S. plans to build 35 littoral combat ships. LCS 15 — now known as the USS Billings — similarly travelled through the area last summer on its way to Florida. At the time, Lockheed Martin spokesperson Kate Scruggs couldn’t offer a precise price tag for each unit but told NVN by email that the cost was still less than the $480-million Congressional cap set in financial year 2010.
Below, U.S. President Donald Trump visits the Marinette, Wisconsin, shipyard June 25, which recently produced the future USS St. Louis seen locally on its way up the Seaway.