The U.S. Navy‘s newest littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Little Rock (LCS 9), will be commissioned tomorrow into active service during a ceremony held in Canalside Buffalo, adjacent to the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park, in Buffalo, New York. In honor of this momentous occasion we’ve gathered ten facts — five about the ship and five related to its namesake city — to help you get to know Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Little Rock. Make sure to tune in here Saturday to watch the historic commissioning ceremony LIVE, starting at 1100 EST.
- The future USS Little Rock’s keel was laid down June 27, 2013. The mast stepping ceremony took place April 23, 2015 and it was christened July 18, 2015. It will be commissioned during a ceremony at Canalside in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017.
- PCU Little Rock’s name honors the capital city Arkansas, which is the state’s largest municipality with nearly 200,000 people calling it home.
- The littoral combat ship will be the 10th littoral combat ship to join the Navy and the 5th in the fleet of the odd-numbered Freedom variants. It features a steel double-chine advanced semi-planing monohull design.
- PCU Little Rock’s namesake city derives its name from a small rock formation on the south bank of the Arkansas River called “le Petit Rocher” (French: “the little rock”). The “little rock” was used by early river traffic as a landmark and became a well-known river crossing.
- The future USS Little Rock (LCS 9) was christened and side launched on July 18, 2015 during a ceremony at Marinette Marine Corporation’s shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin.
- Former Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus selected USS Little Rock’s name. He served as the 75th SECNAV and was the longest serving leader of the Navy and Marine Corps since World War I.
- Janée L. Bonner, spouse of the Honorable Josiah “Jo” Bonner, former U.S. representative of Alabama, is the ship’s sponsor. She christened the ship and at the commissioning will give the traditional order for the crew to “man our ship and bring her to life!”
- For the first time in the Navy’s 242-year history, a new ship will be commissioned alongside a ship of the same name. The original USS Little Rock is the only remaining Cleveland-class ship and is now on permanent display as a museum at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.
- At 3400-tons, LCS 9 is 388 feet in length, has a beam of 57 feet, and can operate at more than 40 knots. It will be homeported in Mayport, Florida.
- A Key to the City of Little Rock was given to the ship and it, along with a Key to the City of Buffalo recognizing them for the historical commissioning, will be put on a plaque & stored in a trophy case aboard the vessel for the life of the ship.
LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed for operation in near-shore (littoral) environments, also has the capability to perform open-ocean operations. It’s designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. For more information on the littoral combat ship, click here.