June 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy said it will christen its latest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, the future USS Minneapolis-St. Paul, on Saturday.
The ship, designed for near-shore environments, is also designated LCS 21. Rep. Betty McCullum, D-Minn., whose congressional district includes the city of St. Paul, will be the principal speaker at the event at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard in Marinette, Wis., on Saturday. Jodi Greene, deputy undersecretary of the Navy, will ceremonially break a bottle of sparkling wine over the ship's bow.
Boat landings along the Menominee River will be closed as the ship is launched sideways into the water Saturday morning.
LCS vessels are designed to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. They are outfitted with mission packages that can deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare or surface warfare missions. While their shallow drafts allow them to operate in shallow water, they are equally capable of ocean-going maneuvers.
The USS Minneapolis-St. Paul has a steel hull and aluminum superstructure. It is 388 feet long and carries 51 personnel.
"The christening of the future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul marks an important step toward this great ship's entry into the fleet," said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. "The dedication and skilled work of our industry partners have ensured this ship will represent the great city of Minneapolis St. Paul and serve of our Navy and Marine Corps team for decades to come."