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Work begins on littoral combat ship Nantucket

A shipyard worker welds the initials of the littoral combat ship Nantucket's sponsor, Polly Spencer, into the ship's keel plate during a ceremony Wednesday at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin.

LOCKHEED MARTIN/TNS

By STEVE PATTERSON | The Florida Times-Union | Published: October 10, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — Construction started this week on another littoral combat ship, the Nantucket, that will be part of a growing LCS squadron homeported at Naval Station Mayport in Florida.

"The USS Nantucket will confront many complex challenges," Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told a crowd at a keel-laying ceremony at the Marinette, Wisconsin, shipyard of Fincantieri Marinette Marine. "When this ship travels the world, allies and adversaries will see her strength."

The ship, designed to hold a 50-person crew, is among 14 LCS that Navy officials have said are scheduled to be home-ported at Mayport by 2023. Six of those are at the station already. The latest, the USS Billings, arrived in August.

The 388-foot ship, designed for a maximum draft of 14 feet, is part of a Navy push to use smaller, lighter ships that are equipped for changing missions in shallow coastal waters.

Shipbuilder Lockheed Martin touts the vessel as having a hull with portions that are "easily reconfigurable" to incorporate Longbow Hellfire missiles, 30 mm guns and manned and unmanned vehicles.

The ship, with a steel hull and aluminum superstructure, can travel at speeds over 40 knots, the company said in a release.

Formally called LCS 27, the ship is part of a 16-ship LCS series known as the Freedom variant, one of two basic designs the Navy picked for littoral ships.

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