Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine have delivered the future USS St. Louis, Littoral Combat Ship 19, to the U.S. Navy.

“With LCS 19’s delivery, the U.S. Navy has 10 Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ships in the fleet. LCS 7 recently deployed, and it is gratifying to know that our team has delivered a ship that is relevant for today’s fight and that is needed around the world,” said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager, Small Combatants and Ship Systems.

“Our team is encouraged by the positive feedback we’ve received about LCS 7 on deployment, and we continuously look to incorporate fleet input into capabilities on LCS hulls.”

Today, say Lockheed, the Freedom-variant LCS delivers advanced capability in anti-submarine, surface and mine countermeasure missions.

“LCS was designed to evolve with the changing security environment. Today, as we see an increase in near-peer competition from large nation states, Lockheed Martin is partnering with the Navy to evolve LCS to meet these threats.”

Upgrades are already underway – their computing infrastructure is receiving cyber upgrades and naval strike missiles are being installed in support of upcoming deployments.

LCS 19 is the tenth Freedom-variant LCS designed, built and delivered by the Lockheed Martin-led industry team and will be commissioned in Pensacola, Florida, this summer.

“Fincantieri Marinette Marine’s shipbuilders are proud to deliver these proven warships, and we are honored to continue working with our partner Lockheed Martin and our customer, the U.S. Navy, to give them the capabilities to keep our nation and her interests safe,” said Jan Allman, Fincantieri Marinette Marine CEO, in a news release.

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The Saudi version of these ships looks like the way to go. Meanwhile also in the US: The Navy Now Wants To Retire The First Four Of Its Troublesome Littoral Combat Ships It was something many of us saw as a near-certain eventuality, the Navy has formally announced that it wants to retire its first four Littoral Combat Ships. Split evenly across both the Freedom and Independence classes of the failed Littoral Combat Ship concept, the oldest of the vessels was commissioned just 12 years ago, the youngest a mere six years ago. Yes, you read that right—six years ago!… Read more »


The first four LCS are being retired because it is not cost effective to upgrade them (given the current, dismal funding for the navy in general.) Retiring the first four will allow for significant upgrades to the others. You might say this was ‘predicted” but that is just not the case. Ignore the US blogosphere of retired old guys who think they know, but are clueless and don’t.


In some respects the T31 has a similar design brief to the LCS, minus the speed. A cheaper, lower manned vessel for filling the general purpose role, flying the flag, anti-piracy etc. As an OPV or coastguard vessel the LCS would surely be ideal. A 57mm gun for warning shots, a large helipad and hangar, SEARAM if someone tries lobbing a missile at you. I guess the two ship designs just weren’t fighty enough. I know there have been some serious issues with the power integration and cracking of the aluminium hulls. I am just surprised that the US Navy… Read more »


The first four were re-designated as test ships in 2016, and there’s been significant changes between them and later hulls, and the Navy has decided that they aren’t worth it.

As to the LCS being an OPV or Coastguard ship, given their costs and the fuel usage I can’t see the logic of that at all.


Agreed. To me they feel neither fish nor fowl.

Steve Taylor

T31 / Iver Huitfeldt (type of vessel) is exactly the ship the USN needed. How so many bought in to the speed in the DoN / USN I don’t know.

Actually Absalon would be ideal for them too.

So a family of diesel ships using a common large hull.

Glass Half Full

Actually the T31 / Iver Huitfeldt might also be the ideal fit for the FFG(X) spec. It will be interesting to see if HII stick with an upgraded Coast Guard cutter or have been quietly working on something else. They have been very secretive about their platform for this program and the Danes were certainly pushing the IH platform for this program in the past.

Steve Taylor

I don’t think T31 is sophisticated enough for FFG(X). It is a FREMM or T26 type vessel fits the brief better.

With T31 the US could have loaded it up with missiles, perhaps 5in mount at A and B, reconfigured the hangar with double doors like Abaslon to help manoeuvring of helicopters. Something they could push close to the shore. Yet something with the range and seakeeping to keep up with CBG’s and ARG’s if needed. Add some Absalons into the mix and they have a working littoral system.


Both of those ships were delivered to the Danish Navy in an incomplete condition that hides their actual, more expensive price tag. Absalon is totally NOT fit for USN service.

Glass Half Full

Somewhat ironically the LCS high speed requirements seem to have been the Achilles heal for this program; I’ve not seen a justification for why high speed was so important versus what it cost in other areas of the platform. It mandated a lightweight build and lightweight weapon fit-out where too much became optional for US operational requirements. Addressing those issues is producing something akin to a very light frigate (in US terms) with what may end up significantly narrowing the gap in cost to that of a much more capable FFG(X) platform. As Trevor has commented neither fish nor fowl.


Its a while back that I read about their failures but if I remember correctly in the articles I read two major problems were highlighted. Firstly that they were designed to have a modular fit of weapon systems to make them very flexible, powerful and upgradable. Great on paper but as yet not one of those modular designs has yet made it into the ships, leaving them totally under armed as compared to the blue water adversaries they are likely to meet. This becomes important due to point 2. Secondly the generally off shore role for which they were originally… Read more »

Steve Taylor

Nelson said I think never set a frigate against a fort.

4000 ton of anything has no right messing about just offshore needs to be OTH.

Helicopters, SDV, drones, long range PGM for guns, etc. as you say have made the point moot.


The US Littoral Combat Ships have never resolved one issue, what are they for. They don’t have a gun for the NGS role, they don’t carry enough Marines or helicopters for an assault role, they are to big to take on fast attack boats and their CIC is not big enough to operated as a headquaters or mothership. To me it seems that no one really ever decided what they are for. To build a ship upto 25-28 knots is straight forward, 32knots+ and it will cost a lot of money, which these ships do, but you still cannot run… Read more »

Glass Half Full

IMV the gun is one thing they got right for LCS. The new USN FFG(X) frigate will also have a 57mm rather than a 125mm. The FFG(X) is relatively high end with 32x MK41 VLS cells, new state of the art radar and reasonable ASW fit. Its why one of the tenders is FREMM. I suspect the reason for the lighter gun fit is a recognition that ships operating relatively close inshore are becoming increasingly vulnerable to sophisticated (and not-so-sophisticated) shore based weapons in the hands of much lower tier adversaries, let alone those from Tier 1 adversaries. Along with… Read more »

Steve Taylor

Two ‘frigates’ with 5in guns at A and B using precision guided munitions would provide an awful lot of supporting fire to an ARG. You could probably 4 gun systems and a small war’s worth of shells for the cost of an F35b and do most of what an F35b in providing close support.


Sometimes I wonder for close support and littoral combat if a modern version of the old County class would be good, 4 4.5 inch or 5 inch twin turrets, Sea Ceptor instead of Sea Slug, Phalanx instead of Sea Cat a couple of 30mm with LMMs a few mini guns and a Wild Cat or Merlin. Yes the old County class would be 500 tons heavier than a T31 Arrowhead, also 20m longer, but just imagine the moral of Marines going ashore when they would know that they could get the support of two or three T31s with 4 4.5-5… Read more »

Glass Half Full

Hi Ron, you seem to be suggesting NGS as a requirement to support troops making an opposed landing. The issue is that we don’t have to storm beaches today, we have more options than in the past. We can use helicopters, or in the USMC case tilt rotor, to leap frog the beach and basically land troops where opposition is light or non-existent, using modern surveillance to help ensure that, along with aerial over-match using rotary and fixed wing assets to suppress opposing troops and hold off opposing air power. A beach landing, opposed by ground troops, just isn’t going… Read more »


Glass Half Full, In some ways I agree with you, we do have many possibilities today. Heres the issue, did anyone expect to put a few thousand troops ashore in the Falklands in 1982. How often were the destroyers and frigates called to the gun line for support. Yes I agree that over the past few decades this type of support has not been needed, yet in 1991 the 16 inch guns of the US Battlewaggons proved to be very useful. The concept of a Littoral combat ship is to fight in the brown green waters, to be able to… Read more »

Glass Half Full

Hi Ron. I think we have to be careful on how we extrapolate the Falklands experience, especially into a modern war theater. NGS in the Falklands had value in the absence of adequate UK air assets and only light UK artillery, although the latter was very effective in its own right. NGS also largely enjoyed immunity from land based counter fire, although moved to night ops because the aerial threat was deemed too great a risk. However, the example of HMS Glamorgan is telling. An Exocet from an Argentine “lashed-up” ground launcher, severely damaged the ship and killed 14 crew;… Read more »

Steve Taylor

I think the RN fired about 5000 shells during the Falklands. And that was mostly what could be termed suppression and harassing fires. Some accounts said towards the end the Argentine conscripts became bomb happy and either ignore the shelling or cracked. . As you rightly say there is no storming the beaches in our doctrine. But even in manoeuvre warfare there is need to support not only defence of the AOA but attacks springing from it. If the RM is being tasked toward more maritime based operations then fires from naval guns is probably as good as way as… Read more »

Steve Taylor

The County is a favourite ship of mine too. As a solid and even innovative design as Leander. We just won’t talk about Sea Slug……….It’s a shame the UK can’t screw together ships that decently today. Yes. If you want ‘guns’ you need length and space. Probably the only thing the USN got right with the Zumwalt is it form and layout. What worries me about sending a modern blue water escort to the gulf is that not enough arcs are covered by cannon. I think purchasing T31 with 57mm is wrong which is not to say I think that… Read more »


I agree, It would be better to remove the Mk8s from the T45s and give them to the T31s and give the T45s the 57mm guns. To put a T45 on the gun line is well stupid.

Steve Taylor

I suppose a big ship with a big gun looks the part. But beyond the rare ‘constabulary’ jobs’ it will never be used and then only used as a threat. It takes lots of shots from even a 4.5in to stop anything. More shots than would look good in the media anyway! No 57mm is enough. And it would be a lot better for places like the Gulf too. Now the Italian Horizons have 3 76mm guns which is entirely different proposition. They are not just close in weapons but offer a little more with a capability that fits somewhere… Read more »


The USN cannot deploy LCS for any meaningful time. The maintenance schedule for the vessels is such that supportability is a logistical nightmare. The original T23 concept was similar… Park it alongside and let someone else do the work not the crew who can stand down and do courses and take leave. The RN quickly learnt the folly of that idea (although something similar, CLS on T 45 was a similar cluster! ) Currently the USN have an LCS deployed in the Caribbean doing MSP and anti drug patrols. That’s it. They where supposed to have a handful of them… Read more »


The USN would be better served going for the T26 as a replacement for the Burke Class and the FFG X.

This would enable them to get scale and cost right, and for the other 5 eyes nations would be a great standardisation.

Boris really should be picking the phone up to Mr Trump and doing a deal.

Steve Taylor

T26 offers nothing over Burke. The latter might be an old design. But it is the design that influenced all large Western escorts that came after it.