Not a Theory, LCS Provides Big Bang to Economy

Study indicates LCS Freedom variant program generates nearly $10 billion economic impact and 13,000 jobs

 

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According to a recent economic impact study, the LCS Freedom variant will pump nearly $10 billion into the nation’s economy over the life of the program. At its peak in 2014, LCS will create nearly 13,000 jobs – almost half in Wisconsin and Michigan – at companies such as Marinette Marine.


The U.S. Navy views the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) as essential to its future. So does much of Wisconsin.

While the ship’s primary mission is to protect the nation, the LCS Freedom variant’s construction at the Marinette Marine shipyard is providing a much needed boost to the economies of Wisconsin, Michigan and states around the country.

According to an economic impact study conducted by Navigant for Lockheed Martin, the LCS’s Freedom variant will pump nearly $10 billion into the nation’s economy through 2023. At its peak in 2014, LCS will create nearly 13,000 jobs – almost half in Wisconsin and Michigan.

In 2010, the Navy awarded a Lockheed Martin led team that includes Marinette Marine a contract for 10 LCSs. Employment at the shipyard on the Wisconsin-Michigan border currently stands at approximately 1,200 workers — about 500 more than the summer, according to the company. Marinette Marine plans to add 300 more employees over the next four months and expects to continue hiring at that pace.

A five-year, $75 million capital plan is underway to modernize Marinette Marine’s facilities, which will increase production efficiencies for LCs and generate additional construction work.

The new jobs are driving down the region’s unemployment rate. According to Wisconsin’s Office of Economic Advisors’ latest statistics, Marinette County’s unemployment dropped to 8.5 percent in December 2011, one percent less than December 2010. During the same period in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula region that borders Marinette Marine, unemployment declined to 9.6 from 11.2 percent.

“The LCS is having a significant economic impact in Wisconsin, Michigan and communities across America,” said Joe North, vice president of littoral ships and systems for Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems & Sensors.  “We have 700 suppliers in 43 states working on these ships. We’re committed to driving down cost and building each ship on schedule and on budget.”

Naval architect Gibbs & Cox in Virginia rounds out the team, along with suppliers such as DRS, Oldenburg and Fairbanks Morse in Wisconsin, Rolls Royce in Massachusetts and Mississippi, BAE Systems in Kentucky, Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine  in Virginia and ArcelorMittal in Pennsylvania.

The Lockheed Martin team built the nation’s first LCS – the USS Freedom – and is currently building three others. Fort Worth (LCS 3) – is 99 percent complete and awaiting Navy acceptance trials in the spring. Construction of the Milwaukee (LCS 5) and the Detroit (LCS 7), respectively – is underway at Marinette.

Posted March 1, 2012