The U. S. Navy's newest littoral combat ship, known as LCS 19 but to be designated USS St. Louis, has completed its acceptance trials on Lake Michigan. Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin
Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's next littoral combat ship, to be designated the USS St. Louis, completed its acceptance trials on Lake Michigan, builder Lockheed Martin announced on Monday.
The Freedom-class ship, currently designated LCS 19, will undergo fine-tuning and final outfitting before it is delivered to the Navy early in 2020.
St. Louis is the 10th Freedom variant, and nineteenth LCS ship built, of 34 planned by the Navy. The other variant of littoral combat ships, with a different hull design, are the Independence class.
The future USS St. Louis was constructed in the Fincantieri Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard in Marinette, Wis.
The vessel features a steel hull, solid state radar and self-defense capabilities adaptable to include Longbow Hellfire missiles, 30 mm guns and manned and unmanned on-board vehicles. Its standard equipment includes Rolling Airframe Missiles, and a Mark 110 gun capable of firing 220 rounds per minute.
"The LCS fleet is growing in numbers and capability, and LCS 19's completion of acceptance trials means the Navy will shortly have 10 Freedom-variant fast, focused-mission ships in the fleet," said Joe DePietro of Lockheed Martin.
At 378 feet in length, the ships are relatively small for naval use, but offer speed, agility and a platform designed for operation in near-shore environments, but capable of open-ocean operation.