Future USS St. Louis launched at Marinette Marine

The Future USS St. Louis launched into the Menominee River, in Marinette, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. (Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin)

MARINETTE (WLUK) -- A second Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), this year, was christened and launched Saturday at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine.

A hit of a bottle and a splash into the Menominee River celebrates the future USS St. Louis and its transition from construction to the testing phase.

"This particular ship can get across the water easily and get in those other waters that may be where we need people to be," explained U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri.

Blunt said the Littoral Combat Ship or LCS for short, will be able to operate closer to the shore than other military vessels.

It'll also be the 7th vessel to bear the name St. Louis in honor of the city and its legacy.

The future USS St. Louis is the 10th freedom-variant ship built by Fincantieri Marinette Marine; Lockheed Martin's vice president, Joe DePietro said there's many more to come.

"Obviously we have through LCS 29; (It's) already awarded to us so, we have a backlog of LCS's," said DePietro.

Lockheed Martin, which is the contractor that hired Marinette Marine, said production flow is running at its highest efficiency.

"We have been able to take three ships through acceptance trial, we delivered two ships, we launched our second ship today and started construction on two additional ships," DePietro explained.

Lockheed Martin's vice president said there's currently 7 ships in various stages of production and test at Marinette Marine.

"And of course we look for more opportunity to build more ships into that profile," added DePietro.

But for now, he said LCS 19 and her crew will do the St. Louis legacy proud.

NOTE: Ships do not acquire the USS title until their commissioning. Odd-numbered ships are built in Marinette while even-numbered ships are built by Austal in Alabama.

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