LCS Fort Worth's Mess Deck  (Source: Lockheed Martin/USN)
The third U.S. Navy LCS is currently 50 percent done, and should launch before the end of the year

Lockheed Martin said the third littoral combat ship (LCS) for the U.S. Navy, the Fort Worth, has reached its halfway point in construction. The company said the Fort Worth LCS already has main and auxiliary engines installed and tested, with all necessary modules currently in construction.  

"Lockheed Martin and its teammates have demonstrated strong performance in constructing LCS 3,” said Joe North, Lockheed LCS program manager, in a statement.  "This performance proves our ability to deliver a low-risk solution that will meet the Navy’s need for a class of affordable and survivable warships.”

Lockheed also mentioned USS Fort Worth is on schedule and on budget, and should be finished before the end of 2010.  The U.S. Navy expects to receive the LCS sometime in 2012, assuming there are no unexpected construction delays. 

Lockheed Martin is leading the team behind the third LCS, with Marinette Marine Corporation building the ship, while architect company Gibbs & Cox also works on the project.  Marinette Marine helped manufacture the USS Freedom a couple of years ago, and is expected to help the Navy with future projects as well.

LCS Freedom, which was first commissioned in 2008, has been operational in 18 months and has completed one deployment.  After months of delay and confusion, the Navy tested its LCS Independence in late 2009, with an average speed of 44 knots during testing.

Navy officials said they expect to have 55 LCS' -- many designed for shallow waters -- but could decrease or increase the total number. Military officials and lawmakers will discuss the matter further in years to come.

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