WASHINGTON, April 4 (UPI) -- A Lockheed Martin-led team has been contracted by the U.S. Navy to build the 13th Freedom-class littoral combat ship.
The award -- the exercise of an earlier contract option -- includes funding for seaframe construction, systems integration and testing.
The vessel, LCS 25, will be built in Wisconsin by Fincantieri Marinette Marine and delivered to the Navy in 2020.
"We are proud to continue our partnership with the U.S. Navy to build and deliver the capable Freedom-class LCS to the fleet," said Joe North, vice president and general manager of Littoral Ships and Systems. "Over 12,000 people and 500 suppliers in 37 states contribute to this critical program and will continue to do so as we transition to the new Freedom-class Frigate in the coming years."
The LCS, slightly smaller than a guided-missile destroyer, is a modularly designed vessel for use in close-to-shore operations. The Navy is buying them under block-buy contracts, which leads to lower acquisition costs. LCS 25 will be the 11th ship procured under a 2010 block buy contract.
The Lockheed Martin-led industry team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-class variant, and has delivered three ships to the U.S. Navy to date. Seven additional Freedom-class ships are in various stages of construction.