On 15 April 2023 the final littoral combat ship built at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard was launched and christened. It was the last planned side-launch of a ship at the marine.

The future USS Cleveland (LCS 31), a Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, is the 16th and final Freedom-variant LCS. Robyn Modly, wife of former Acting Secretary of the Navy and Cleveland native, Thomas Modly, christened the ship.

“A side launch is the way that human beings have been launching ships literally for millennia, it was the first way a large vessel could be launched… but for the building of a modern warship that leaves quite a bit to be desired,” said Fincantieri CEO, Mark Vandroff.

Fincantieri is now working on a new launch for the frigates, which are the next generation of ships following the littoral combat ships.

“We are very pleased that the Navy chose us to build the frigate I think those are great ships, the one they chose for us is based on a frigate designed for various European Navy’s,” says Vandroff. In doing so, they are working on constructing a new launch.

“The shiplift that you can see behind me is under construction, we are making great progress on it, I expect to have it done and certified before the end of 2023,” added Vandroff.

The first frigate is expected to be launched and christened in 2025, and completely finished in 2026. Although it is in the water, the future USS Cleveland is not quite finished.

Production is about 85 per cent complete and testing and trials are still to be undertaken.


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