The Navy will christen its newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, USS Indianapolis (LCS 17), during a 10:00 a.m. CDT ceremony Saturday, April 14, in Marinette, Wisconsin. The future USS Indianapolis, designated LCS 17, honors Indianapolis, Indiana’s state capital. She will be the fourth ship to bear the name.
The principal speaker will be former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana. Mrs. Jill Donnelly, wife of U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will christen the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
“The future USS Indianapolis honors more than a city, it pays tribute to the legacy of those who served during the final days of World War II on board USS Indianapolis (CA-35),” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “This ship will continue the proud legacy of service embodied in the name Indianapolis, and is a testament to the true partnership between the Navy and industry.”
LCS-17 is the fourth ship to carry the name of Indiana’s capital city. The most recent Indianapolis was a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine, commissioned Jan. 5, 1980, which served through the end of the Cold War before being decommissioned in 1998. The first Indianapolis was a steamer built for the U.S. Shipping Board (USSB) and commissioned directly into the Navy in 1918. After two runs to Europe, the ship was returned to the USSB following the war. It is the second Indianapolis (CA 35)—a cruiser—that is perhaps the best known of the three. The ship was sunk in the final days of World War II, and her crew spent several days in the water awaiting rescue. But it was her impressive war record that first brought the ship to the attention of Navy leaders and the American public. The ship and her crew served faithfully throughout the war, seeing action in the Aleutians, the Gilbert Islands, Saipan, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. In addition to frequently serving as the flagship of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, the ship earned 10 battle stars for World War II service and successfully completed a top secret mission delivering components of the instrument that ended the war.
Two survivors of the CA 35 crew, Richard Thelen and Art Leenerman, are scheduled to attend the christening ceremony on behalf of their shipmates.
The future USS Indianapolis is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.
LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, designed to meet validated fleet requirements for surface warfare (SUW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and mine countermeasures (MCM) missions in the littoral region. An interchangeable mission package is embarked on each LCS and provides the primary mission systems in one of these warfare areas. Using an open architecture design, modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to gain, sustain and exploit littoral maritime supremacy, LCS provides U.S. joint force access to critical areas in multiple theaters.
The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).