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Northwest Indiana-made steel goes into new USS St. Louis Navy ship
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Northwest Indiana-made steel goes into new USS St. Louis Navy ship

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Northwest Indiana-made steel goes into new USS St. Louis Navy ship

Steel plate made at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor went into the new USS St. Louis Navy ship.

Steel plate forged at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor went into the U.S. Navy’s USS St. Louis, a littoral combat ship that recently completed its acceptance trials in Lake Michigan.

ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor in Porter County and ArcelorMittal Conshohocken provided military-grade steel plate for the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship that's slated to be commissioned this spring.

“ArcelorMittal supplies a highly specialized product used to construct surface ships for the U.S. Navy that are used by servicemen and women around the world to defend our great nation, our allies and interests around the globe,” said Cory Chappell, operations manager, Eastern Plate, ArcelorMittal USA. “Our employees can feel proud knowing that our specialty plate products play a critical role in contributing to the defense of democracy around the world.”

The USS St. Louis, designed to operate in shallow waters near the shore, was constructed by Lockheed Martin and the shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Wisconsin. It specializes in anti-submarine, anti-mine and surface missions by the shoreline.

“Shipbuilding is a long, complex process and Marinette Marine expects their suppliers to: have material made and delivered on time to meet production schedules, provide material that meets or exceeds all NAVSEA Technical Publication requirements and provide excellent gauge control,” said Ken Wilson, account manager, plate, sales and marketing, ArcelorMittal USA.

The USS St. Louis will be able to operate in shallow water as little as 15 feet deep, reach a top speed of 45 knots, and have a crew of between 50 to 100 sailors. The seventh ship in Navy history to bear the name St. Louis, its motto is "Gateway to Freedom."

“These are not just pieces of steel welded together,” Chappell said. “In many cases, this is the first and only line of protection for our military men and women. When we send our products to our customers, we are confident in the quality and would be willing to put our families onboard, knowing they will be protected by our armor.”

ArcelorMittal and its predecessor companies long have supplied Marinette Marine with steel for various Navy ships.

“We’ve worked together for many years to supply world-class products to the greatest navy in the world,” Chappell said. “We value this relationship with the highest priority and one that we strive to continue for many years to come.”

Once it's commissioned, the newly built ship will sail to its home port at Naval Station Mayport near Jacksonsville, Florida, where it will serve along with the USS Indianapolis, which was commissioned at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor in a historic first last fall.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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