Monday, July 13, 2009
The keel for the future littoral combat ship, USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), will be laid July 11 during a ceremony at Marinette Marine Shipyard in Marinette, Wisc. Keel-laying has traditionally been the first step in ship construction, when shipbuilders laid down the lengthwise timber that would become the ship's backbone. During the scheduled event, a shipyard welder will attach the future ship's plaque to the keel, and U.S. Rep. Kay Granger will confirm that the keel was laid "straight and true." "Starting construction on the third ship is an exciting milestone to reach," said Capt. Jim Murdoch, LCS program manager within the Navy's Program Executive Office, Ships. "Reaching the Navy's goal of a 55-ship class depends on getting LCS into serial production, which will lead to high quality ships being delivered to the fleet on cost and on schedule." LCS is a new breed of U.S. Navy warship, capable of open-ocean operation but optimized for littoral or coastal missions. Operational experience and analyses indicate that potential adversaries will employ asymmetric means to deny U.S. and allied forces access into critical coastal regions, such as strategic chokepoints and vital economic sea lanes. LCS is specifically designed to defeat such "anti-access" threats, which include fast surface craft, quiet diesel submarines and various types of mines.Fort Worth is expected to be delivered to the Navy in 2012, when she will join sister ships USS Freedom (LCS 1) and USS Independence (LCS 2). Freedom was commissioned by the Navy in November 2008. Independence is currently undergoing builder's sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico and is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy later this year. A contract was awarded to General Dynamics-Bath Iron Works in May for the construction of LCS 4, the future USS Coronado. The future USS Fort Worth, named in honor of the Texas city, will be 378 feet in length, have a waterline beam of 57 feet, displace approximately 3,000 tons and will make speed in excess of 40 knots. PEO Ships is responsible for the development and acquisition of U.S. Navy surface ships and is currently managing the design and construction of a wide range of ship classes and small boats and craft. These platforms range from major warships such as frontline surface combatants and amphibious assault ships to air-cushioned landing craft, oceanographic research ships and special warfare craft. PEO Ships has delivered 31 major warships and hundreds of small boats and craft from more than 30 shipyards and boat builders across the United States.