The U.S. Navy will commission its newest Freedom-class littoral combat ship into service on Saturday at the Naval Air Station in Key West, Fl. The Lockheed Martin-build USS Billings, named after the largest city in Montana, to support the Navy’s missions in near-shore and open-ocean environments, the Department of Defense said Wednesday.
It will be the eighth Freedom-variant ship owned by the service branch and will work to counter “anti-access” threats like high-speed craft, mines and quiet diesel submarines. Lockheed Martin leads the industry team tapped to design and manufacture the Freedom-class vessels, while Austual USA spearheads the production of the Independence-variant under the LCS program.
Sen. Jon Tester, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, will deliver the principal address at the commissioning ceremony.