New, Cutting Edge Combat Ship Named for the Twin Cities [GALLERY]
MARINETTE, WIS -- One of the U.S. Navy's new cutting-edge ships will bear the name of our state's capital, and largest city.
The USS Minneapolis - St. Paul is one of the Navy's new Littoral Combat Ships. Ships designed to be able to handle a variety of different missions, and shallow water duties. The ship is being built in the shipyards at Marinette, Wisconsin about an hour north of Green Bay.
Some of the specific missions the Minneapolis - St. Paul will be involved in include Anti-Piracy, Search and Rescue and Humanitarian Relief.
John Torrisi is a Communications Specialist for Lockheed Martin, the ship's builder. He says even though the ship is nearly 400 feet long, it can go places most Navy ships can't.
"The future USS Minneapolis - St. Paul will only need about 14 feet of water to operate. Which for a ship of its size it's remarkable. That shallow draft also lets it reach locations around the world that the US Navy can't currently reach."
The ship can operate in that shallow of water because it gets rid of the usual propellors, in favor of jets. This jet propulsion also lets the new ship reach up to 50 mph or 40 "knots" in open water.
The ships are designed to replace three different classes of Navy ships, Frigates, Mine Sweepers and Patrol Combatants. The Minneapolis - St. Paul's sister ships are the USS Wichita, USS Little Rock, USS Billings and USS Sioux City.
Each Freedom Class ship comes with an average price tag of $360-million after all the new tech and sea trials. Torrisi says, this actually saves taxpayers quite a bit over other Navy ships.
"This is the only naval ship building program where you can buy a ship for under $1-billion. It's about 1/4th the cost of other shipbuilding programs, mainly destroyers and larger navy ships."
Each ship has around 100 sailors on it, and Torissi says, it's because of the brand-new technology they're incorporating.
"So essentially this ship, is smart. It's the first of the [truly] 21st Century ships."
The Littoral Combat Ships will replace 51 aging Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates.
Torissi says they hope to have the ship start its sea-trials in Lake Michigan sometime next year, with final delivery to the Navy in 2020. Lockheed Martin has partnered with 25 different Minnesotan suppliers to help build the Minneapolis - St. Paul.
A Los Angeles-class submarine was also known as the USS Minneapolis - St. Paul, that was decommissioned in 2008.