Navy to Commission Newest Littoral Combat Ship on Saturday

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The future USS Billings (LCS 15) arrives at Naval Air Station Key West's Truman Harbor on July 28, 2019, in preparation for her commissioning ceremony Aug. 3. Billings is the 17th littoral combat ship to enter the fleet and the eighth of the Freedom variant. It is the first ship named for Billings, the largest city in the U.S. state of Montana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Arnesia McIntyre)
The future USS Billings (LCS 15) arrives at Naval Air Station Key West's Truman Harbor on July 28, 2019, in preparation for her commissioning ceremony Aug. 3. Billings is the 17th littoral combat ship to enter the fleet and the eighth of the Freedom variant. It is the first ship named for Billings, the largest city in the U.S. state of Montana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Arnesia McIntyre)

The Navy will commission its newest warship, the USS Billings, on Aug. 3 in Key West, Florida. A ceremony at Naval Air Station Key West's Truman Harbor is expected to draw 2,000 people.

The 10 a.m. ceremony is open to the public, but tickets are required and they ran out last month.

Everyone entering the base must show a ticket, along with a valid state or federal-issued photo identification at the gate.

If you can't attend Saturday's ceremony, the Navy will livestream the event. The link will not become active until five minutes before the 10 a.m. ceremony.

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The first ship named for Montana's largest city, the 378-foot Billings weighs 3,500 metric tons and can reach a speed of 45 knots, according to the commissioning committee.

It's one of the Navy's littoral combat ships, fast and agile ships designed to operate near shore.

The Freedom-class ships can also tackle the open ocean and are built to take on threats such as submarines, mines and swarming small craft.

Each ship costs around $362 million, according to FreightWaves.com.

The Billings comes armed with Rolling Airframe Missiles and a Mark 110 gun, capable of firing 220 rounds per minute, according to the Washington Business Journal.

The Billings, launched in 2017, is the 17th littoral combat ship to enter the fleet. Its home port will be Naval Base Mayport in Florida.

Lockheed Martin and the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard built the ship in Marinette, Wisconsin, with the help of 12,500 suppliers in 42 states.

Cmdr. Nathan Rowan, a Tennessee native, is the ship's commanding officer. He leads a crew of 70 officers and enlisted personnel.

The Billings sustained minor damage June 21 when it struck a moored commercial vessel while getting underway in the St. Lawrence River in Montreal.

No one was injured and the damage to the combat ship happened above the waterline, a Navy spokeswoman said.

Cmdr. Michael Johnson was later removed from command of Billings and Rowan got the job.

The Billings was in Canada as part of a routine transit ahead of its commissioning in Key West.

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This article was written by Gwen Filosa from Florida Keys Keynoter and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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