Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., delivered the fifth Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), to the U.S. Navy on Dec. 23 at an official document signing ceremony held aboard the ship. The delivery was made exactly six months from the date LCS 8 (Montgomery) was handed over,
This official delivery marks the third LCS built by Austal as the prime contractor. “It’s exciting to be handing over another littoral combat ship to the Navy,” Austal USA president Craig Perciavalle, said in a statement announcing the delivery. “This is the fourth Navy ship we’ve delivered this year, a sure sign of the steady maturation and momentum of both our Expeditionary Fast Transport and Littoral Combat Ship programs.”
The 417’x99′ aluminum trimaran LCS is intended to operate in coastal areas and designed to be a fast and highly maneuverable combat ship. Each aluminum LCS is powered by twin MTU 20V8000 diesel engines and two GE LM2500 gas turbines.
The Austal USA-built LCS has the following three mission module packages:
• Mine Warfare Module — Transforms the ships mission by embarking a self-contained package of 15 crewmembers, sensors and weapons to hunt, identify, localize and neutralize mines. It is designed to work with a composite aviation detachment to suit the mission requirements.
• Anti-Submarine Warfare Module — Transforms the ships mission by embarking a self-contained package of 15 crewmembers, sensors and weapons to detect, track and neutralize quiet diesel-electric submarines operating in shallow water. It is designed to work with a composite aviation detachment to suit the mission requirements.
• Surface Warfare Module — Transforms the ships mission by embarking a self-contained package of 12 crewmembers, sensors and weapons to search, detect, localize and engage small boats. It is designed to work with a composite aviation detachment to suit the mission requirements.
Weapons include a 32-missile vertical launch system, a 57-mm forward gun, eight Harpoon missiles, two close-in weapons system, and six ASW torpedoes.
Six Independence-variant LCSes remain under construction at Austal’s Alabama shipyard. Omaha (LCS 12) and Manchester (LCS 14) are preparing for sea trials. Assembly is underway on Tulsa (LCS 16) and Charleston (LCS 18) and modules for Cincinnati (LCS 20) and Kansas City (LCS 22) are under construction in Austal’s module manufacturing facility.
“The success of this milestone achievement is a result of the hard work and dedication of Austal’s world-class shipbuilding team,” said Perciavalle. “The men and women of Austal are some of the most talented I’ve ever worked with, and I’m looking forward to sharing many future successes with them and the thousands of suppliers across America supporting this program.”
More than 900 suppliers in 41 states contribute to the Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship program, shipyard officials said. This supplier base supports tens of thousands of small business to large business jobs.