Lockheed Martin begins construction on future Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship USS Beloit

Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine marked the beginning of construction on Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 29, the future USS Beloit, with a ceremony in Marinette.
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Lockheed Martin begins construction on future Navys Littoral Combat Ship USS Beloit 925 001 During the ceremony, the ship’s sponsor’s initials were welded onto a keel plate that will travel with the ship throughout its life. (Picture source: Lockheed Martin)

As part of a shipbuilding tradition dating back centuries, a shipyard worker welded into the ship’s keel plate the initials of Major General Marcia M. Anderson (U.S. Army, Retired), USS Beloit ship sponsor and a Beloit, Wisconsin, native. This plate will be affixed to the ship and travel with Beloit throughout its commissioned life.

LCS 29 will be the 15th Freedom-variant LCS and will join a class of more than 30 ships. To date, four Freedom-variant LCS have deployed to support U.S. Navy presence and peacekeeping missions. In May, LCS 7 (USS Detroit) partnered with a U.S. Navy destroyer and Coast Guard teams to serve interdiction missions in the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility.

In total, there are more than 500,000 nautical miles under the keel of Freedom-variant LCS. The ship delivers advanced capability in anti-submarine, surface, and mine countermeasure missions, and was designed to evolve with the changing security environment. As near-peer competition from large nation-states increases, Lockheed Martin is partnering with the Navy to evolve LCS to meet these threats. Targeted upgrades are already underway with naval strike missiles being installed in support of upcoming deployments. Future installs of improved electronic warfare and decoy launching systems are under development.

Lockheed Martin begins construction on future Navys Littoral Combat Ship USS Beloit 925 002USS Freedom (LCS 1), the lead ship of the U.S. Navy’s Freedom-class of littoral combat ships. (Picture source: USN photo by MC1 James R. Evans)

LCS 29 is the first Navy ship to be named after Beloit, Wisconsin, and the ship’s sponsor has personal ties to Beloit. During a long career with the U.S. military, Major General Anderson became the first African American woman to obtain the rank of major general in the U. S. Army and U. S. Army Reserve. As a citizen-soldier, Anderson was employed for 28 years by the United States Courts, where she served as the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Wisconsin, located in Madison, Wisconsin, until her retirement in late 2019.

Beloit is one of six LCS in various stages of construction and test at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard.