After completing contract negotiations with Austal for the construction of two fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) littoral combat ships in December last year, the US Navy announced it is exercising a contract option with Lockheed Martin Corporation to purchase the third FY2019 LCS.
In an announcement on January 15, the navy said the third ship, to be designated LCS 31, was authorized and appropriated by Congress.
The Freedom-variant LCS 31 will be built at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. The contract value is not revealed for competition reasons.
The Navy’s 2016 Force Structure Assessment revalidated a warfighting requirement for 52 small surface combatants (LCS and Frigates). A total of 35 (LCS) ships have been procured through fiscal year 2019.
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 and the Independence variant is led by Austal USA.
Nine Independence variant ships have been delivered so far by Austal while the Lockheed Martine team delivered seven.