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Lockheed contracted for USS Wichita post-shakedown availability services

By
Stephen Feller
The USS Wichita, the 13th littoral combat ship of the U.S. Navy, is due to be commissioned in January 2019. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy
The USS Wichita, the 13th littoral combat ship of the U.S. Navy, is due to be commissioned in January 2019. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy

Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has been contracted by the U.S. Navy for post-shakedown availability services on the USS Wichita, including engineering and management services, ahead of its commissioning in January.

Work on the $16 million contract, announced Tuesday by the Department of Defense, follows completion of acceptance trials earlier this year and ahead of the Littoral Combat Ship's commissioning, which is scheduled for Jan. 12.

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Post-shakedown services typically include correction of any defects discovered after the Navy takes possession of a vessel and following a series of cruising and other exercises, including fitting out of most of the materials expected to be aboard the ship.

The USS Wichita will be the 13th LCS to be commissioned by the Navy, and seventh of the Freedom-class of the LCS.

The Wichita will have a 50-member core crew, as well as 15-member mission package crew and 24-member aviation detachment. The LCS vessel will likely carry two MH-60 Seahawks or one MH-60 and up to three Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicles.

Work on the new contract is expected to run through February 2020, with 2013 and 2019 Navy shipbuilding and conversion funds of just over $15 million obligated to Lockheed at the time of award.

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