The Lockheed Martin-led industry team officially laid the keel for the US Navy's 21st Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul, in a ceremony held at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin.
Ship sponsor Jodi Greene completed the time-honored tradition and authenticated the keel by welding her initials onto a steel plate that will be placed in the hull of the ship.
"It is a tremendous honor to serve as the sponsor of the future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul," Greene said. "I look forward to supporting the ship and its crew throughout the building process and the life of the ship. I know the people of Minneapolis and Saint Paul will proudly support her when she is commissioned and officially enters the Navy fleet."
The Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant of the LCS, and has delivered five ships to the U.S. Navy to date. The future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul is one of eight ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with one more in long-lead production.
"We are proud to build another proven warship that allows our Navy to carry out their missions around the world," said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president of small combatants and ship systems. "We look forward to working with the U.S. Navy to continue building and delivering highly capable and adaptable Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ships to the fleet."
LCS 21 will be the second vessel named for the Twin Cities. SSN-708, a Los Angeles-class submarine, served as the first USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul and was decommissioned in 2008. Her name honors the Twin Cities' patriotic, hard-working citizens for their support of the military.
The Freedom-variant LCS team is comprised of Lockheed Martin, shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox and more than 800 suppliers in 42 states.