The Associated Press: Littoral combat ship Fort Worth is christened

Dec 6, 2010

MARINETTE, Wis. — The third littoral combat ship was christened in northeast Wisconsin on Saturday, then launched into the Menominee River with a tremendous splash and a ground-moving thud.

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, christened the ship, named Fort Worth, in the time-honored tradition: smashing a bottle of champagne across its bow. The Navy named the littoral combat ship after the Texas city to honor its long history of supporting the armed forces.

The 389-foot ship was built in Wisconsin, and lawmakers said the Navy could soon request several more littoral combat ships in projects that would create hundreds of jobs.

Fort Worth can operate in waters as shallow as 20 feet and reach speeds topping 46 mph, according the Navy. It could be used to hunt submarines and pirates, defend ground troops and support unmanned aerial vehicles, such as Predator drones.

Littoral combat ships also are designed for quick modification rather than a single purpose. For example, a ship’s anti-submarine package could be swapped for a mine-warfare package if combat conditions change.

Fort Worth was built at the Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard in Marinette, in conjunction with defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp.

It still has to undergo outfitting and testing. The Navy says it should enter service in 2012, and will likely be based in San Diego.

The warship is the second littoral combat ship that Marinette Marine has built for the Navy.