The U.S. Navy commissioned USS Billings (LCS 15) – the nation’s eighth Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) – in Key West, Florida. This milestone places the ship, built by the Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) -led team into active service.
The ceremony is witnessed emotional moments. Because Billings is the first ship in the U.S. Navy to be named after the largest city in Montana. She sails with the motto, “Big Sky over Troubled Waters.”
“The citizens of Billings and the state of Montana will always be proud to call this ship their own,” said Bill Cole, the mayor of Billings and the chairman of the ship’s commissioning committee. “Wherever you sail, the people of Billings will always be with you and the Big Sky will always be over you.”
“This privilege is not lost on me,” said Cmdr. Nathan Rowan, commanding officer of Billings. “I am humbled by it and hope to exceed expectations in my remaining time with the Billings setting the tone for a safe, successful, and sustained legacy for this ship and all who will serve aboard her.”
“Billings was designed to operate and adapt to a rapidly changing environment,” said Joe DePietro, vice president of Small Combatants and Ship Systems at Lockheed Martin. “She is equipped and ready for today’s threats and easily modifiable to meet the threats we may not even be aware of yet. Our team is confident Billings will be what the Navy needs when the fleet needs it.”
Billings has a crew of approximately 70 Sailors, and is designed to operate near the shore and in the open ocean. This provides cost-effective force flexibility and allows the Navy to strengthen allied partnerships.
“A warship and its crew is better when they are ambassadors, better when they put a hand out—a hand of friendship, a hand of comfort, reassurance. But make no mistake, they can bring it. They’ve got power and they can fight,” said Adm. Craig S. Faller, Commander, U.S. Southern Command. “Billings is fast. It’s lethal. It can fight, and so can its crew.”
Hull: Advanced semi-planing steel monohull
Length Overall: 118 meters (387 feet)
Beam Overall: 17.5 meters (57 feet)
Draft: 4.1 meters (13.5 feet)
Full Load Displacement: Approximately 3,400 metric tons
Top Speed: Greater than 45 knots
Watercraft Launch and Recovery: Up to Sea State 4
Aircraft Launch and Recovery: Up to Sea State 5
Propulsion: Combined diesel and gas (CODAG) turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
Hangar Space: Two H-60 Helos (either MH-60S or MH-60R) and up to three VTUAVs (MQ-8B or MQ-8C Firescout).
Core Crew: 50; Accommodations for 98 sailors
Integrated Bridge System: Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation
Core Self-Defense Suite: Includes 3D air search radar (4D air search radar in hulls after LCS 15), Rolling Airframe Missile (SeaRAM in hulls after LCS 15), medium caliber 57-mm Mk 110 deck gun, EO/IR gunfire control system and decoy launching system.