Austal USA christened the 22nd littoral combat ship (LCS), the future Kansas City, at its state-of-the-art ship manufacturing facility last Saturday. Kansas City is the 11th of 17 Independence-variant LCSes Austal USA has under contract with the Navy.
The Independence-variant littoral combat ship is a 421’6″x103.7′ high-speed, agile, shallow draft, focused-mission surface combatant designed to conduct surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and mine countermeasures missions in the littoral region. With its open architecture design, the LCS can support modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to capture and sustain littoral maritime supremacy. Each aluminum LCS is powered by twin 12,200-hp MTU 20V8000 diesel engines and two 29,500-hp GE LM2500 gas turbines
“Today marks a significant milestone with the christening of this amazing warship,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said in a prepared statement. “Our talented shipbuilding team is proud to provide our Navy with an extraordinarily capable vessel that will honor Kansas City as she becomes an integral part of the U.S. naval fleet protecting our nation.”
Austal delivered Charleston (LCS 18) at the end of August, the third Independence-variant LCS delivered to the Navy this year. In addition to the future Kansas City, four more Independence-variant LCS are currently under construction, including Cincinnati (LCS 20), Oakland (LCS 24), Mobile (LCS 26) and Savannah (LCS 28) with construction on Canberra (LCS 30) scheduled to begin in early 2019. The future LCS 32 and 34 were awarded on Sept. 18, and will begin pre-production activities.
In addition to being in full rate production for the LCS program, Austal is also the Navy’s prime contractor for the expeditionary fast transport (EPF) program. Austal has delivered nine EPFs, while an additional three are in various stages of construction.