08 Aug 2019

US Navy commissions littoral combat ship

The US Navy has commissioned a new littoral combat ship, the USS Billings, in a ceremony in Florida.

The new littoral combat ship will be named USS Billings after the largest city in Montana, which has a strong naval history and is home to many veterans. Senator Jon Tester, a member of the Senate Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, announced the commission.

Montana has the highest per capita veteran populations in the US. In the past, 30 ships have been named in honour of people and places in Montana, including Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Helena (SSN 725) and the under-construction Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Montana (SSN 794).

Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the Navy, said: “The future USS Billings and her crew will play an important role in the defense of our nation and maritime freedom.”

“She stands as proof of what teamwork – from civilian to contractor to military – can accomplish. This fast, agile platform will deliver her motto, ‘Big Sky Over Troubled Waters,’ worldwide thanks to their efforts.”

The USS Billings will be an agile focused-mission ship designed for near-shore operations but also able to work in open water and will be homeported in Mayport, Florida. It is designed to tackle asymmetric ‘anti-access’ problems including mines, fast surface craft, and diesel submarines.

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, Marinette, Wisconsin (for the odd-numbered hulls) and the Independence variant team is led by Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).

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