Littoral Ships Will Boost Local Economy

Recently, Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, announced NAS Mayport will receive the first of 11 planned Littoral Combat Ships starting in 2016.

During his speech he said, “we really want to modernize and make this the large Navy region that it deserves to be.” We are encouraged to hear such a strong statement of support.

Over the last few months, we have seen the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates USS Underwood and USS Klakring decommissioned.

For many years frigates were a mainstay at Mayport with a total of 51 of these ships commissioned from the late 1970s through the late 1980s.

At their height, in the 1980s, Mayport boasted 18 of these vessels. The six remaining frigates homeported at Mayport are scheduled to leave by 2015, but the Littoral Combat Ship will appear soon thereafter.

These modern warships will be accompanied by at least 1,200 sailors to provide support and crew the vessels. The versatility of Littoral Combat Ships allow them to perform the missions of three types of naval vessels.

Littoral Combat Ship combine the size of a small warship with the maneuverability of a patrol boat.

To accommodate these new ships and their crews the Navy will begin to make investments and upgrades to NAS Mayport, creating new opportunities and jobs.

While Greenert stated the days of frigates and destroyers may be drawing to a close, Mayport will be well equipped and well positioned to welcome the next generation of combat ships and the brave fighting men and women who serve on them.

I am proud of the Navy’s confidence in our region and welcome the arrival of Mayport’s new Littoral Combat Ships, crews and the families.

Greg Smith
JAX Chamber Chair
Northeast Florida Market President, Bank of America Merrill Lynch