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USS Sioux City one step closer to being active Navy ship

(Provided photo)
(Provided photo)

MARINETTE, Wis. — The USS Sioux City has passed a major milestone, sailing one step closer to its commissioning and addition to the U.S. Navy fleet this fall.

The ship completed acceptance trials May 20-24 on Lake Michigan. During trials, the Navy tested the ship’s combat system, aviation support, small boat launch handling and recovery, and ride control.

“The success of the sea trials is a major milestone that takes us a step closer to a fall commissioning date,” said retired Rear Adm. Frank Thorp, chairman of the USS Sioux City Commissioning Committee.

Thorp said the commissioning still is anticipated sometime in the fall at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. It could be at least another month before the commissioning date is set, he said, as the Navy proceeds with the scheduling process.

“It’s a complex effort to schedule such a significant event like this,” Thorp said.

The USS Sioux City is the 11th in the class of littoral combat ships, which are designed to operate in shallower water close to shorelines. The ship will have a 98-person crew and be used for maritime security.

Acceptance trials are the final set of tests before a ship’s delivery to the Navy.

“This ship is agile, powerful and lethal, and the industry team and I are looking forward to her delivery, commissioning and deployment,” Joe DePietro, vice president of Small Combatants and Ship Systems at Lockheed Martin, said in a news release. Lockheed Martin is the contractor for the USS Sioux City and other ships in its class.

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After any issues found during acceptance trials are addressed, the USS Sioux City, which was christened and launched at the Marinette shipyard in January 2016, will be accepted by the Navy. It then will sail through the Great Lakes to Norfolk, Va., for final preparations before arriving at Annapolis for commissioning. Once commissioned, the USS Sioux City will sail to its home base in Mayport, Fla., before it’s deployed.

Thorp said the commissioning committee is making progress toward its $800,000 fundraising goal for the ship’s commissioning festivities. During a visit to Sioux City in March, Thorp said that more than $250,000 had been raised, most of it from sources in and near Sioux City. Other major sources of donations will come from the Annapolis area and from defense contractors.

Thorp said many potential donors are waiting for the Navy to set a commissioning date before making a donation.

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