The U.S. Navy christened another littoral combat ship (LCS) on Saturday at AustalUSA, in Mobile, Ala., where the 419’x99’x14′ aluminum trimaran is under construction. The Coronado is the second Independence-variant LCS. The first aluminum trimaran was the Independence, the second LCS in the Navy’s new class of warships. (MarinetteMarine, Marinette, Wis., is building the odd numbered LCSes, steel-monohulled 378’x57’x32′ Navy warships.)
“It is an innovative, cost-efficient platform,” Joe Rella, Austal’s president and CEO, told a large crowd at the Mobile Convention Center, where the christening celebration took place. “The Coronado will be a great platform for the coming century.”
Rella said the new warship offers maneuverability, stability, endurance, shallow draft, three weapon zones, and a flight deck that’s larger than any other Navy surface combatant. “We have built you a great ship,” Rella said. “The third great ship to have the name Coronado.”
Coronado is a southern California community on the island facing San Diego, the U.S.’s principal Pacific port, where the new LCS will be homeported.
Lou Von Thaer, president, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, spoke about some of the state-of-the-art technological systems aboard the Coronado. He then addressed the look of the vessel and those who will be aboard when Coronado goes to sea later this year. “She’s beautiful on the outside and the inside,” he told the audience, which included many of the sailors that would crew the new LCS. “The most flexible part of any [Navy] ship is its sailors.”
Rear Adm. James A. Murdoch, USN program executive officer, littoral combat ships, said the Navy has a responsibility to build the best vessels possible, like the Coronado because those ships “take sailors into and out of harm’s way. The Navy needs ships that can fight anywhere in the world.”
Assistant Security of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition Sean Stackley told the audience that the Navy needs ships like the LCS to protect U.S. interests and to aid in relief from natural disasters, something the Navy has done since its existence. “We are a maritime nation,” he said.
Several months ago, Austal cut metal on the Jackson, the sixth LCS, the first ship of Austal’s latest 10-vessel LCS order worth over $3.5 million.