he launch of a new littoral combat ship on July 18 was another festive occasion here at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, marking the fifth time this heartland shipyard has put an LCS in the water.
But the Little Rock (LCS 9) will also become a milestone departure of sorts for the US Navy’s LCS program when, after she’s delivered to the fleet next year, the warship will be the first East Coast-based LCS, operating from Mayport, Florida. The first eight LCSs — half of which already are in service —– are based at San Diego.
“All of the odd-numbered hulls starting with 9 won’t have to go through the Panama Canal,” noted Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer for LCS and the Navy’s top official on the program. “The Mayport basin is smaller, so [they] get the monohull versus the trimaran.”
Antonio spoke in July at Marinette, taking a break from a program review held just prior to the Little Rock’s launch.