WASHINGTON (NNS) - The Navy will christen littoral combat ship (LCS) Fort Worth Dec. 4, during a 10 a.m. CST ceremony at Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard in Marinette, Wis.

The ship's name recognizes the city of Fort Worth, Texas.

For more than 150 years, the patriotic citizens of Fort Worth have supported the Navy and the men and women in uniform. Home to Ranger outposts, training facilities, aviation depots and defense manufacturing, Fort Worth has answered the call whenever the nation needed it.

Former Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England will deliver the principal address at the ceremony. Rep. Kay Granger of Texas will serve as the ship's sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by Granger breaking a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship, which is a time-honored Navy tradition.

Designated LCS 3, Fort Worth is an innovative combatant designed to operate quickly in shallow water environments to counter challenging threats in coastal regions, specifically mines, submarines and fast-surface craft. It is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots and can operate in water less than 20 feet deep. Fort Worth will address a critical capabilities gap in the littorals. Carrying out the Navy's mission, it will serve to enhance maritime security by deterring hostility in troubled waters, maintaining a forward presence and by its ability to project power and maintain sea control.

A fast, agile and high-technology surface combatant, Fort Worth will be a platform for the launch and recovery of manned and unmanned vehicles. To meet increased demand for mission-tailored packages, its modular design will support interchangeable mission packages, allowing the ship to be reconfigured for antisubmarine warfare, mine countermeasures or surface warfare missions on an as-needed basis. The LCS will be able to swap out mission packages pierside in a matter of days, adapting as the tactical situation demands. The modular approach also allows us to incorporate new or improved systems into the fleet as advanced technologies mature, providing flexibility and evolving capability. These ships will also feature an advanced networking capability to share tactical information with other Navy aircraft, ships, submarines and joint units.

Fort Worth will be manned by two rotational crews, Blue and Gold, similar to the rotational crews assigned to Trident submarines. These core crews will be augmented by one of the three types of mission package crews as well as an aviation detachment. The prospective commanding officer of the Blue crew is Cmdr. James R. Blankenship, from Ironton, Ohio. The prospective commanding officer of the Gold crew is Cmdr. Warren E. Cupps, from Fort Worth. Upon being commissioned in the future, Fort Worth will be homeported in San Diego, Calif.

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