The Secretary of the Navy has announced the names of five new ships. One of them, the USS Omaha, will be one of two new littoral combat ships. Secretary Ray Mabus said the littoral combat ships will be a major part of the future of the Navy.
The other littoral combat ship will be named the USS Sioux City.
Also announced Wednesday were the names of three Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers, the USS John Finn, the USS Ralph Johnson, and the USS Rafael Peralta.
The destroyers will be able to conduct a variety of operations including peacetime presence, crisis management, and sea control and power projection. They will be capable of fighting air, surface, and subsurface battles simultaneously.
Secretary Mabus said the Omaha and Sioux City will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads called mission packages. The payloads can be changed out quickly according to combat needs. They include special detachments that will deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine, undersea, and surface warfare missions.
The littoral combat ships are also referred to as LCS. The USS Omaha will be a LCS-2 style ship which has a similar look to a stealth fighter jet in the front. It will be 419 feet long and have a waterline beam of 103 feet. The USS Sioux City will be an LCS-1 which looks more like a traditional ship. It will be 378 feet long and have a waterline beam of 57 feet. Both will reach speeds in excess of 40 knots.
Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson praised the decision to name the new Navy vessel after Omaha. He said, “Naming the ship for our largest city recognizes the commitment Nebraskans have to our men and women in uniform serving around the world and on the seas. We’re eagerly anticipating the day the USS Omaha will join America’s naval fleet that so ably helps to safeguard the freedoms we all cherish and enjoy.”
There have been other ships named the USS Omaha in the past. The first was in 1869, which was designed to protect shipping interests worldwide.