Navy christens, launches 1st ship named for Billings

BILLINGS, Mont. — The Navy has christened and launched a new ship named for Billings, Montana’s largest city.

Sharla Tester, who is married to Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., broke the ceremonial bottle of champagne over the ship’s bow before it slid into Lake Michigan.

It’s the first Navy ship to bear the name. The christening and launch of the future USS Billings (LCS 15), will move the ship one step closer to joining the U.S. Navy fleet. The Billings is a littoral combat ship with three major missions: finding and disarming mines, defending against attacks by small boats and fighting submarines.

The ship is about 83 percent finished and is scheduled to be handed over to the Navy in 2018.

Billings Mayor Tom Hanel and City Council members Al Swanson, Chris Friedel and Ryan Sullivan also attended the christening.