Sunday, September 24, 2006

Navy's First Littoral Combat Ship Launched In Northern Wisconsin

A new class of U.S. Navy warships was launched in northern Wisconsin. The littoral combat ship, named USS Freedom (LCS-1), was designed and built by a team led by Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin. The company said it would help the Navy defeat growing littoral, or close-to-shore, threats. The warship made a side-launch at Marinette Marine Corp. into the Menominee River, which divides Wisconsin and Michigan. The 377-foot ship, whose speed can reach more than 40 knots, will act as a platform for launch and recovery of manned and unmanned vehicles, according to the Department of Defense. Its modular design will allow the ship to be reconfigured for anti-submarine warfare, mine warfare or surface warfare missions, the department said.
USS Freedom, a littoral combat ship, is launched at Marinette Marine Shipyard in Marinette, Wis.
The Navy contracted the team in 2004 to develop the ship. The team includes naval architect Gibbs & Cox, ship builders Marinette Marine Corporation, a subsidiary of The Manitowoc Company, Inc. and Bollinger Shipyards. USS Freedom will be manned by one of two rotational crews. One of the commanding officer's is Cmdr. Donald Gabrielson, who was born in northern Minnesota and graduated from the U.S. Navy Academy in 1989. The other commanding officer is Cmdr. Michael Doran, who was born in Harrisonville, Mo., and graduated from Villanova University in 1989. When the Navy commissions the ship next year, it will be based at Naval Station San Diego, Calif. It will continue to undergo outfitting and testing at Marinette Marine.

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