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Lockheed Martin - led team launches future USS Billings

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The future USS Billings launches sideways into the Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin, on July 1. Lockheed Martin

MARINETTE, WISCOSIN (BNS): The Lockheed Martin - led industry team have launched the 15th Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) into the Menominee River at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard.

Ship sponsor Sharla D. Tester christened LCS 15, the future USS Billings, in Navy tradition by breaking a champagne bottle across the ship's bow just prior to the launch on 1st July.

"As a lifelong Montanan, there is no greater honor than to serve as the sponsor of the future USS Billings and to help bring this magnificent warship one step closer to joining the fleet," Tester said.

"I know the people of Billings - and all Montanans - look forward to supporting Billings and her future crews for decades to come."

Named in honor of the patriotic and hardworking citizens of Billings, LCS 15 will be the first US Navy ship to bear the name of Montana's largest city. She will undergo additional outfitting and testing at Fincantieri Marinette Marine before her anticipated delivery next year.

The Lockheed Martin-led industry team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant of the LCS, and has delivered four ships to the US Navy to date.

The future USS Billings is one of eight ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with one more in long-lead production, Lockheed Martin said.

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