Chief Of Navy In Marinette
Chief Naval Officer Admiral Gary Roughead makes a stop at Marinette Marine and reassures the company the work they are doing building LCS ships for the Navy will continue.Photo: Video by nbc26.com
The USS Fort Worth is almost ready to set sail.
"The Littoral Combat Ship is more than a ship, it's a system, it's a capability that we need and I'm pleased at what I am seeing," says Naval Chief of Operations, Admiral Gary Roughead.
LCS three is the second of 10 LCS ships to be built at Marinette Marine. While Congress is dealing with budget issues in Washington D.C., work at this shipyard is full speed ahead.
"The best thing we can do is continue to perform and not give them an excuse to make a cut and I firmly believe that if we continue to build these on schedule and on cost that they will continue to fund those," says Marinette Marine President and CEO Chuck Goddard.
But despite the ongoing budget battle in Washington, Admiral Roughead says he believes the future of the LCS program in Marinette is safe.
"I see this as providing capability that the Navy needs, that the Navy needs quickly and it's being delivered and the products are great."
Good news for Marinette Marine which currently employs about 1,100 workers and plans to add many more in the next two years thanks to the LCS contracts.
"Over the next year and a half to two years we're going to double that number...we're hiring at 35-50 a month now," Goddard says.
While another shipyard in Alabama is building 10 LCS ships of a different design, Marinette Marine is hoping for a competitive edge.
"They certainly can look at the program and if we are performing to what they asked us to do and we are doing that on schedule and on budget, I feel good," says Joe North, Lockheed Martin Vice President of the LCS program for the parent company of Marinette Marine.
Admiral Roughead says doesn't see the program as a competition, but says the LCS program is a key component to the future of the Navy.
"I'm very comfortable where we are with our shipbuilding programs and the recognition of how important those programs are to the Navy and the nation."