Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The Navy will commission its newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Sioux City during a 9 a.m. ceremony on Saturday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa will deliver the principal address at the ceremony while Mary Winnefeld, the wife of former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. James "Sandy" Winnefeld, is the ship's sponsor.
The Navy will stream the commissioning Saturday on its Navy Live official blog.
The USS Sioux City, or LCS 11, is the 13th LCS to join the fleet and the sixth of the Freedom variant, alongside the Independence-type LCS. It would be the first naval vessel to be named after Sioux City, Iowa.
USS Sioux City will be homeported at Naval Station Mayport in Florida where it will undergo activation trials before entering active service.
The LCS is meant to operate in shallow coastal waters, along with regular sea operations. It is designed to be modular, allowing multiple weapons and sensor packages depending on the mission of the ship.
It's standard armament is a MK 110 57mm gun. The LCS can also be equipped with RIM-110 RAM surface-to-air missiles and a variety of other ordnance. It can carry up to two helicopters and vertical take-off drones like the MQ-8 Fire Scout.
The LCS comes in two highly similar models, the Freedom variant, by Lockheed Martin, and the Independence variant, by Austal USA, with multiple ships of each type on order.
The LCS has been criticized for design issues and a lack of significant firepower. Though production continues, it is expected to be supplemented by a new class of Guided Missile Frigates that carry vertical launch systems for missiles and other heavy weaponry.