Austal LCS completes acceptance trials, christens fast transport vessel

Omaha (LCS 12), the sixth Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS) built by Austal USA, successfully completed acceptance trials May 12 in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Austal USA LCS aluminum trimaran measures 419’x99′. It is a high-speed combat ship that is designed to combine superior seakeeping, endurance and speed with the volume and payload capacity needed to support emerging missions.

The trials involved the execution of intense comprehensive tests by the Austal-led industry team while underway, which demonstrated to the Navy the successful operation of the ship’s major systems and equipment. Acceptance trials are the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship, which is expected this summer.

The LCS program is at full production delivering two ships a year. At Austal USA, six ships are currently under construction. Manchester (LCS 14) is preparing for trials and Tulsa (LCS 16) will begin trials at the end of the year. Final assembly is well underway on Charleston (LCS 18) and Cincinnati (LCS 20). Modules for Kansas City (LCS 22) are under construction in Austal’s module manufacturing facility and the first aluminum was recently cut on Oakland (LCS 24).

“With the imminent delivery of LCS 12 and with Manchester (LCS 14) right behind her, scheduled for delivery later this year, Austal has achieved and maintained incredible momentum that positions us well into the future. We are excited that these ships are joining the fleet,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said in a statement announcing completion of the trials.”

Littoral Combat Ship (l) and Expeditionary Fast Transport vessel at Austal USA earlier this year. Ken Hocke photo

Littoral Combat Ship (l) and Expeditionary Fast Transport vessel at Austal USA earlier this year. Ken Hocke photo

In addition, Austal celebrated the christening of the expeditionary fast transport ship City of Bismarck (EPF 9) with a ceremony at its shipyard in Mobile, Ala., on May 13. City of Bismarck is the ninth of 12 Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels (EPF) that Austal has under contract with the Navy as part of a contract worth over $1.9 billion.

The 338′x93’6″ EPF is an aluminum catamaran capable of transporting 600 tons, 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, and is designed to operate in austere ports and waterways, providing added flexibility to U.S. war fighters worldwide. The ship’s flight deck can also support flight operations for a wide variety of aircraft, including a CH-53 Super Stallion.

City of Bismarck (EPF 9) is the first naval vessel to be named in honor of North Dakota’s capital city. Eight Spearhead-class EPFs have been delivered and are serving as an affordable solution to fulfilling the Military Sealift Command’s requirements worldwide. Yuma was delivered to the Navy in April and three more EPFs are under construction at Austal.

“Austal USA is having tremendous success with the EPF program. We are delivering two ships a year and watching these great ships deploy in less than a year of delivery,” said Perciavalle.

About the author

Ken Hocke

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.

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