US Navy to christen Freedom-variant ship Billings (LCS 15)

Future USS Billings is ready for launch at Marinette Marine. Photo: Lockheed Martin

The U.S. Navy is set to christen its newest littoral combat ship and the eighth Freedom-variant, USS Billings (LCS 15), in Marinette, Wisconsin, on July 1.

The future USS Billings honors the largest city in Montana and will be the first ship of its name in naval service.

Lockheed Martin, the company leading the team responsible for the construction of Freedom-variant littoral combat ships released a video showing the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard prepare LCS 15 for the launch.

The 118 meter long ship will be launched on her side as the body of water does not allow the ship to be launched lengthwise.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Sharla Tester, the wife of Montana Sen. Jon Tester, the ranking member of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee, will serve as the ship’s sponsor.

“The christening of the future USS Billings 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 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).

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