Navy’s littoral combat ship program remains afloat

The U.S. Navy’s littoral combat ship program, one of the largest defense contracts in Wisconsin, remains afloat even as critics say planned changes aren’t enough to make the vessels more suitable for warfare.

The Navy wants the high-speed warships as fast as they can be built, Joe North, vice president of littoral ships and systems for Lockheed Martin Corp., said Monday in a media conference call from Washington, D.C.

Currently, the Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard in Marinette employs about 1,500 people building the combat vessels designed for a variety of missions including shallow, coastal waters.

Working together, Lockheed Martin and Marinette Marine have delivered two of the ships, the USS Freedom and USS Fort Worth, to the Navy. Six more of the vessels are in various stages of construction at the shipyard north of Green Bay. Two of the ships are being readied for testing.

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