The U.S. Navy’s latest littoral battleship, future USS Billings (L.C. S 15), came at Naval Air Station Key West’s Truman Harbor in preparation for her commissioning ceremony on 3 August.
Billings is the 17th littoral battleship to enter the line and the eighth of the Freedom-variant. It’s the first ship named for Billings, the biggest city in the U.S. state of Montana.
Naval Air Base Key West is the state-of-the-art center for combat fighter jet of all army services, offers world-class pierside support to the U.S. and foreign naval ships, and is the premier training facility for surface and subsurface army practices.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin will deliver the ceremony’s main address. Sharla Tester, the wife of Montana Sen. Jon Tester, the ranking member of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Panel, will serve as the ship’s supporter. The ceremony shall be highlighted by Mrs. Tester breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the front to formally baptize the ship, a time-honored Navy custom.
The LCS section consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, planned and constructed by two industry groups. The Freedom-variant group is led by Lockheed Martin.
The Independence-variant group is headed by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the next even-numbered hulls).
Each LCS is equipped with a single mission bundle made up of mission modules, including warfighting techniques and support gear. A dedicated boat crew will combine with aviation assets to station crewed and uncrewed vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine counterinsurgency or floor warfare initiatives.