MARINETTE, Wis., July 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)-led industry team officially laid the keel for the U.S. Navy's 17th Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Indianapolis, in a ceremony held at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin.
Ship sponsor Mrs. Jill Donnelly, the wife of U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, 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 Indianapolis," Donnelly 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 Indianapolis and all Hoosiers will proudly support her when she is commissioned and enters the Navy fleet."
The LCS's modular design and affordable price achieves increased capacity and capability so the U.S. Navy can provide presence where and when needed, with a level of force that will deter and defeat threats.
"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. "We look forward to working with the U.S. Navy to continue building and delivering highly capable and adaptable Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ships to the fleet."
The Lockheed Martin-led industry team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant of the LCS, and has delivered three ships to the U.S. Navy to date. The future USS Indianapolis is one of seven ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with three more in long-lead production.
"On behalf of Marinette Marine, we are incredibly proud to build these ships for the U.S. Navy," said Jan Allman, MMC president and CEO. "We continue to streamline our processes and leverage the craftsmanship and skills of our employees in producing these high quality vessels for our warfighters."
LCS 17 will be the fourth ship to bear the name USS Indianapolis. A previous Indianapolis (CA 35) is best known for its role in World War II, where it operated throughout the Pacific escorting convoys and attacking enemy submarines. Indianapolis' service ended when it was sunk by a Japanese torpedo on July 30, 1945. Only 317 of the 1,196 sailors serving aboard the ship survived after five days afloat in the Pacific Ocean. Richard Thelen, a USS Indianapolis (CA-35) survivor, attended the keel laying ceremony as a representative of all who sailed on CA-35.
The Lockheed Martin-led LCS team is comprised of shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 500 suppliers in 37 states. The Freedom-variant's steel monohull design is based on a proven, survivable design recognized for its stability and reliability. With 40 percent reconfigurable shipboard space, the hull is ideally suited to accommodate additional lethality and survivability upgrades associated with the Freedom-class Frigate.
About Lockheed Martin Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 125,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
About Fincantieri Marinette Marine Founded in 1942, Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) is located on the Menominee River flowage into Green Bay. The largest shipyard in the Midwest, FMM has delivered more than 1,300 vessels to the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and commercial customers, including the technologically advanced Littoral Combat Ship Freedom variant for the U.S. Navy. In 2008, FMM along with several sister shipyards also based in the Great Lakes region, became part of Fincantieri, one of the world's largest shipbuilding groups and number one by diversification and innovation, with almost 21,000 employees, of whom approximately 7,700 in Italy, 21 shipyards in 4 continents. Fincantieri operates in the United States through its subsidiary Fincantieri Marine Group, serving both civilian and government customers. Over the past five years, Fincantieri invested more than $100 million in both capital infrastructure and its resources to support FMM's transformation into what is now one of the best shipyards in the United States. Employing approximately 1,500 employees, today FMM is a state-of-the-art, full service new construction shipyard.
About Gibbs & Cox Gibbs & Cox, the nation's leading independent maritime solutions firm specializing in naval architecture, marine engineering and design, is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. The company, founded in 1929, has provided designs for nearly 80 percent of the current U.S. Navy surface combatant fleet; approaching 7,000 naval and commercial ships have been built to Gibbs & Cox designs.