The U.S. Navy's newest littoral combat ship is one step closer to its Naval Station Mayport dock after the future USS St. Louis was officially delivered by Lockheed Martin.
The almost 390-foot-long ship is the 10th Freedom-variant LCS designed, built and delivered, and will be commissioned in early August in Pensacola, the manufacturer said.
It should arrive by mid-August at Mayport.
A littoral can make travel at nearly 50 mph and carry a Sikorsky H-60 military helicopter and missiles, the Navy said. Lockheed Martin is building the ships headed for Mayport's littoral headquarters that opened in 2015. Eight will ultimately berth at the Navy's East Coast littoral combat ship base.
Austal USA and General Dynamics are building Independence-class littorals that will be based in San Diego.
Littorals are designed to work in coastal-water battlegrounds and replace the retiring fleet of Oliver Hazard-Perry class frigates at the base. They are what the Navy calls mission-flexible ships that can specialize in either anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare or mine counter-measures using modules with specialized weapons and sensors tailored to each that can be loaded quickly.
"With LCS 19's delivery, the U.S. Navy has 10 Freedom-variant littoral combat ships in the fleet," Lockheed Martin executive Joe DePietro said. "LCS 7 recently deployed, and it is gratifying to know that our team has delivered a ship that is relevant for today's fight and that is needed around the world"
Mayport's USS Little Rock also departed Thursday for a scheduled deployment in the Caribbean, Central America, South America and surrounding waters.
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