December 17, 2004 The US Department of Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin a US$188.2 million contract option for detail design and construction of the first Flight 0 Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The Littoral Combat Ship is an innovative combatant designed to counter challenging shallow-water threats in coastal regions, specifically mines, diesel submarines and fast surface craft. A fast, agile, and networked surface combatant, LCS will utilise focused-mission packages that deploy manned and unmanned vehicles to execute a variety of missions.

"LCS takes the operational Navy into a higher tactical speed regime, and is a net-centric focal point," said Rear Adm. Charlie Hamilton, program executive officer for ships.

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"It also will fundamentally alter the ship/mission system integration paradigm, through extensive use of modularity. The acquisition of LCS sets a new standard for rapid procurement in support of the warfighter."

On May 27, 2004, the Department of Defense awarded both Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics - Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, separate contract options for final system design with options for detail design and construction of up to two Flight 0 LCS.

The Navy plans to build a total of four Flight 0 LCS.

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