A US combat ship currently in the making will soon be christened the USS Billings.
The USS Billings is one of nine ships currently being built in the Marinette, Wisconsin shipyard of the Lockheed Martin Corporation. It is scheduled to be christened and launched on July 1, under the sponsorship of US Sen. Jon Tester’s wife, Sharla D. Tester.
The future USS Billings is part of a new class of 389-foot U.S. Navy warships designed to operate in shallow water areas at high speeds (40+ knots), explains company spokesman John Torrisi, who will be in Billings this week to promote the coming event.
The ship was named after Billings by the Secretary of the Navy, Raymond Edwin Mabus, “in honor of the patriotic and hardworking citizens of Billings.” The LCS 15 will be the first U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of Montana’s largest city.
The Secretary of the Navy, also, invited Sharla Tester to be the ship’s sponsor.
Torrisi explained that a ship sponsor is most often a woman – usually someone who has dedicated her life to public service. Mrs. Tester will serve as a central figure during the ship’s christening, launching, and commissioning as part of the US Navy fleet.
The Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship is described as a resilient flexible warship, designed from the keel up to affordably take on new capabilities – from the most advanced sensors, to the latest missiles, to cutting-edge cyber systems. Its speed, strength and versatility make it a critical tool to take on emerging new challenges in the world.
It can operate in just 14 feet of water, powered by two MT30 gas turbines designed by Rolls Royce, which power waterjets that propel the 389 foot long LCS to speeds that exceed 40 knots, making it the fastest surface combatant in the Navy’s fleet. The ship is extremely flexible enabling it to perform a wide range of missions with some of the Navy’s most advanced technology onboard. It’s advanced technology allows it to operate with as few as three sailors on the bridge and it only needs a core crew of 50.