The U.S. Navy christened its newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, the future USS Indianapolis (LCS 17), during a 10:00 a.m. CDT ceremony at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin, on Saturday, April 14, 2018.
The future USS Indianapolis, designated LCS 17, honors Indianapolis, Indiana’s state capital. She is the fourth ship to bear the name.
The principal speaker of the ceremony was former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana. Mrs. Jill Donnelly, wife of U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana, served as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
“As a native Hoosier and the daughter of two World War II veterans, there is no greater honor than to serve as the sponsor of the future USS INDIANAPOLIS,” Donnelly said. “This ship pays tribute to the legacy of brave and resilient sailors, and I know the people of Indianapolis – and all Hoosiers – will support this ship and her future crews for decades to come.”
The ship will be launched into Menominee River on April 17. After additional outfitting and testing, the ship will be officially delivered to the U.S. Navy later this year.
LCS-17 is the fourth ship to carry the name of Indiana’s capital city. The most recent Indianapolis was a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine, USS Indianapolis (SSN-697), commissioned Jan. 5, 1980, which served through the end of the Cold War before being decommissioned in 1998. The first Indianapolis was a steamer built for the U.S. Shipping Board (USSB) and commissioned directly into the Navy in 1918. After two runs to Europe, the ship was returned to the USSB following the war. It is the second Indianapolis (CA 35)—a cruiser—that is perhaps the best known of the three. The ship was sunk in the final days of World War II, and her crew spent several days in the water awaiting rescue. But it was her impressive war record that first brought the ship to the attention of Navy leaders and the American public. The ship and her crew served faithfully throughout the war, seeing action in the Aleutians, the Gilbert Islands, Saipan, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. In addition to frequently serving as the flagship of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, the ship earned 10 battle stars for World War II service and successfully completed a top secret mission delivering components of the instrument that ended the war.
The future USS Indianapolis is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.
LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, designed to meet validated fleet requirements for surface warfare (SUW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and mine countermeasures (MCM) missions in the littoral region. An interchangeable mission package is embarked on each LCS and provides the primary mission systems in one of these warfare areas. Using an open architecture design, modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to gain, sustain and exploit littoral maritime supremacy, LCS provides U.S. joint force access to critical areas in multiple theaters.
The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).
The Lockheed Martin-led industry team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant of the LCS, and has delivered five ships to the U.S. Navy to date. The future USS INDIANAPOLIS is one of eight ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with one more in long-lead production. The Lockheed Martin-led LCS team is comprised of shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 800 suppliers in 42 states.