Future USS Detroit launched at Marinette Marine shipyard

USS Detroit, Marinette Marine Corp.

MARINETTE - The latest littoral combat ship (LCS) built at Marinette Marine made quite a splash in the Menominee River Saturday.

The launch ceremony marks Marinette Marine's fourth christening.

With phones in hand, many snapped a quick photo of the nearly 3,500-ton ship, named Detroit.

“She’s modular and they’re very fast with speeds of 40 knots more or less,” said Ray Mabus, Secretary of the U.S. Navy.

The ship can maneuver in water less than 20 feet deep.

But Detroit won’t be making waves just yet.

And their status

  • USS Freedom (LCS 1): In service.

  • USS Fort Worth (LCS 3): In service.

  • USS Milwaukee (LCS 5): In sea trials.

  • USS Detroit (LCS 7): Launched Oct. 18.

  • LCS 9 (USS Little Rock): Under construction.

  • LCS 11 (USS Sioux City): Under construction.

  • LCS 13 (USS Wichita): Under construction.

  • LCS 15 (USS Billings): Construction starts later this year.

  • LCS 17 (USS Indianapolis): In planning stages.

  • LCS 19: In planning stages.

NOTE: Ships do not acquire the USS title until their commissioning. Even-numbered ships are built by Austal in Louisiana.

The littoral combat ship still needs testing before it’s sent to the Navy next year.

“Today is a celebration of the ability of the shipyard workers and the great people of Wisconsin and Michigan to come together and take something that’s highly challenging in shipbuilding,” said Rear Adm. Brian Antonio with the U.S. Navy.

The inside of the ship is will include a helicopter deck and hangar.

The Lockheed Martin team says the LCS has the flexibility to work in a variety of missions including surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.

Marinette Marine has a contract with the Navy to build 10 ships.

Building the modern marvels has faced some uphill battles, including criticism about cost. But the Secretary of the Navy says otherwise.

“The first ships cost around $800 million. The last ships that are going to be coming out in this block of 10 ships will cost $350 to $360 million, which is an astounding thing to see the price come down,” Mabus said.

Congressional leaders, particularly those from Wisconsin, continue to stress the importance of the use and production of the LCS.

“It’s absolutely worth fighting for and I’m feeling rather optimistic about the future of the LCS program," said U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin.

Marinette Marine will continue building ships over the next few years.

As for the future USS Detroit, once it passes testing, it will be accepted into the fleet next summer. And once commissioned, the LCS’s home-port will be in San Diego, California.

Construction on a sixth LCS at Marinette Marine will begin Monday.

Click here to watch the launch video.