Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Twin Citieis Part 1

The cities of Sioux City, Iowa and Wichita, Kansas may not have much in common, and as far as I know are not twinned, except in the names of two new ships for the United States Navy.

Both ships, USS Sioux City LCS-11 and Wichita LCS-13 have been completed by Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Wisconsin and are on their delivery trips. Both are scheduled to visit Halifax en route, and the first arrived today.

Today's fog and rain added to the ship's stealth characteristics.

USS Sioux City was laid down February 19, 2014, launched January 30, 2016 and delivered to the USN on August 22. After acceptance trials, it sailed from Marinette October 23. After a stop in stop in Detroit it made its way through the Welland Canal, escorted by the Hamilton, ON based tug Océan A. Gauthier and the St.Lawrence Seaway with the assistance of the tug Océan Henry Bain. After a stopover in Montreal it sailed November 3.  It is another in the Freedom class of Littoral Combat Ships built at Marinette, all of which have stopped in Halifax on their delivery trips.

Next week the next in the series USS Wichita is due in Halifax*. It was laid down February 2, 2015, and launched September 17, 2016.  After acceptance trials it was also handed over to the USN on the same day as Sioux City, August 22, 2018. It sailed from Marinette November 1 and following the same route, with the same escorts, arrived in Montreal yesterday, November 5.

Both ships have thus avoided last year's fiasco when LCS-9, USS Little Rock was beset by early forming ice in the St.Lawrence Seaway and had to spend the winter in  Montreal. Instead of arriving in Halifax over Christmas, it did not arrive until April 3.

The latest arrivals are not the last we will see.  A total of fifteen ships of the class have been built or are on order, with Marinette Marine, with eight still to come our way.

Update: As you will see from the comment below, someone is reporting that the USS Wichita visit will not take place.

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