US Navy Launches USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul Combat Ship

Source: Image: Lockheed Martin Corporation

Built by Lockheed Martin, the USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul is a fast and agile combat ship designed for shallow water and near-shore missions.

The US Navy launched its newest combat ship, the USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul, from the Fincantieri Marinette Marine Shipyard on Saturday. The ship was christened with a bottle of champagne smashed against its bow by its sponsor, Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy Jodi J. Greene, who is a Northfield, Minnesota native.

The shipyard stands on the border between Wisconsin and Michigan, while the ship itself is named in honor of the Twin Cities. It is the second naval vessel to carry the name, with the first being a submarine that was last in service in 2008. The newest vessel is designed to be fast in order to conduct close-to-shore missions.

At a crowded event, the USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul was side launched into the Menominee River, which means that it slid into the water sideways, making a huge splash before steadying itself as it swayed back-and-forth. This is because the river isn’t wide enough for a length launch where the ship goes in hull first.

With a successfully completed launch, the ship will undergo a set of sea trials before it is moved to its base in Mayport, Florida and officially commissioned for active service.

Designed by Lockheed Martin, the Freedom-class ship, the beam (the ship’s width at its widest point) measures 57 feet and has a length of 387 feet. Its full load displacement, including passengers, cargo, and fuel, is about 3,400 metric tons.

Built for speed and agility, the USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul has a top speed of over 45 knots, or about 53 mph. The Littoral Combat Ship 21 model that it’s based on is the fastest ship in the US Navy, created for shallow water missions and near-shore combat. It moves using a diesel and gas turbine along with a steerable water jet made from flexible yet resilient materials.

The USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul is equipped with a variety of weapons and defense systems, including a 3D air search radar, a decoy launching system, lightweight Rolling Airframe Missiles, and a 57mm Mk110 deck gun.

The ship accommodates 98 sailors, 50 of which are core members who will be on board after the ship finishes its testing.

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