The U.S. Navy, together with shipbuilders at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard, laid the keel for its 19th littoral combat ship, the future USS St. Louis.
The ceremony took place in Marinette, Wisconsin, on May 17.
Ship sponsor Barbara Broadhurst Taylor 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 St. Louis,” Taylor said. “The keel-laying ceremony is a great milestone, and I look forward to supporting the ship and its crew throughout the building process. I know the people of St. Louis and Missouri will proudly support her when she is commissioned and officially enters the Navy fleet.”
The Lockheed Martin-led industry team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant of the LCS, and has delivered four ships to the U.S. Navy to date. The future USS St. Louis is one of seven ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with two 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 North, vice president and general manager of Littoral Ships and Systems.
LCS 19 will be the seventh ship to bear the name USS St. Louis. The first St. Louis, a sloop of war, was launched in 1828. Other ships to bear the name included an ironclad gunboat commissioned in 1862, a troop transport commissioned in 1898, a protected cruiser in commission from 1906 to 1922, a light cruiser commissioned in 1939, and, most recently, a Charleston-class amphibious cargo ship in service from 1969 to 1991.