The Navy will bring its newest combat ship to Annapolis later this year for a commissioning ceremony.
On Thursday, his last full day on the job, Ray Mabus, the secretary of the Navy, announced on Twitter the choice of the Naval Academy for the ceremony. No explanation was offered, and no plans for a ceremony have been announced, according to a Navy news release issued Friday morning.
The USS Sioux City is the 11th ship in a new class of littoral combat ships intended to confront shallow-water, coastal threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.
The program that produced Sioux City has seen its share of difficulties. All of the first five ships have broken down at one point, and cost overruns have attracted congressional criticism.
In a story published last year by the Annapolis-based U.S. Naval Institute News, Mabus said the next administration would make the final decision about how many small surface combatants to buy.
A team of contractors led by Maryland-based Lockheed Martin launched the Freedom variant littoral combat ship from the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in July. It has been undergoing a yearlong outfitting and testing process, and will be based with others of the same design at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida. A second squadron of the ships is be based in San Diego.
At 378 feet in length, the Sioux City was designed to be a fast and nimble ship.
The Freedom variant first appeared in 2010 and is highly automated and designed for minimal staffing. The Sioux City has a waterline beam of 57 feet and displaces about 3,000 tons. The Navy says it can operate at speeds in excess of 40 knots.
The crew has been posting information about its progress at a Facebook page. So far, those posts have included visits to the ship's namesake city.