The Navy will christen its newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) in a ceremony at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard in Marinette, Wis., Dec. 18 at 1:15 p.m. CST.
Sylvia Panetta, wife of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. Panetta will officially christen the ship Milwaukee.
Milwaukee was named in honor of the largest city in the state of Wisconsin and will be the fifth to bear the city’s name.
“Milwaukee’s christening serves as a tribute to this great American city, but also to the hard working people of Wisconsin and our nation’s entire industrial base,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “LCS is one of our most important platforms and represents the future of the Navy. Our commitment to this program remains as steadfast as that of those who helped build this great ship.”
Littoral combat ships are fast, agile surface combatants optimized for warfighting in the highly trafficked near-shore regions of the world against asymmetric “anti-access” threats. Through its innovative design, LCS can be reconfigured for surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and mine countermeasures. This versatility enables Navy to provide warfighters with the most capable, cost-effective solutions to gain, sustain, and exploit littoral maritime supremacy.
The launch and christening of LCS 5, and the recent launch of LCS 6 from the Austal USA shipyard together mark a milestone for the littoral combat ship program. These are the first two littoral combat ships built from start to finish using serial production processes. Serial production is important because it allows the Navy to reap benefits such as improved cost structure per vessel and reduced construction time.
The Navy has incorporated much of the knowledge gained in the build, test and operation of LCS 1 and LCS 2, the lead ships of the class, into follow-on ships.
Milwaukee will be 388 feet in length and equipped with four axial-flow waterjet engines, which will improve performance and move nearly half a million gallons of seawater per minute which will propel the ship to speeds in excess of 40 knots.
The first USS Milwaukee was a double-turret ironclad river monitor built for Civil War service. A St. Louis-class cruiser, the second USS Milwaukee (C-21) was lost in 1916 while attempting to free a submarine that had run aground. The third USS Milwaukee (CL-5) was an Omaha-class light cruiser, which served through World War II in the Atlantic, and the fourth USS Milwaukee (AOR 2), a Wichita-class replenishment oiler, was decommissioned in 1994.
Press Release, December 17, 2013; Image: Wikimedia