USS Little Rock enters service

US Navy littoral combat ship USS Little Rock officially entered service following a commissioning ceremony on the Buffalo River on December 16.

Little Rock (LCS 9) is the navy’s fifth Freedom-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), designed and built by Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine.

USS Little Rock completed its acceptance trials in August and was delivered to the US Navy on September 25.

Little Rock is the second warship named for the Arkansas state capital and was commissioned alongside the first USS Little Rock (CL 92), which serves as a museum at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.

“As a company with strong ties to Arkansas and Upstate New York, we are privileged to have delivered USS Little Rock to the Navy and see her commissioned in the state where so many of our employees call home,” said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president of small surface combatants and ship systems. “We take great pride in knowing that USS Little Rock and her dedicated crews will serve in the defense of our great nation, enabling the US Navy to carry out its missions where and when needed for decades to come.”

The LCS-class consists of the Freedom variant and Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered ships, e.g. LCS 1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and follow-on even-numbered ships). Twenty-nine LCS ships have been awarded to date: 11 have been delivered to the Navy, five are in various stages of construction and three are in pre-production states.