Austal USA christened littoral combat ship 20 (LCS 20), the future Cincinnati, at a ceremony at its ship manufacturing facility in Mobile, Ala., on Saturday. The Cincinnati is the 10th of 15 421'6"x103.7' Independence-variant LCS Austal USA has under contract with the Navy at a combined value of over $4.5 billion.
“We’re so excited to christen this awesome ship here at Austal USA,” Austal USA president Craig Perciavalle, said in his remarks during the ceremony. “The future USS Cincinnati will set another benchmark for cost, schedule, quality and capability for the LCS program thanks to the incredible work of our shipbuilding team.”
The Independence-variant LCS, with a draft of 15.1' and a displacement of 3,200 MT, is a 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.
“Austal USA remains laser focused on providing the most cost-effective and capable small surface combatants in the world to our great Navy,” Perciavalle said. “We stand ready with capacity now to efficiently build the Navy our nation needs while being able to support an aggressive growth plan to a 355-ship fleet.”
The ship’s sponsor, Penny Pritzker — the 38th U.S. Commerce secretary — headlined a group of officials, naval guests, civic leaders, community members and Austal USA employees who attended the ceremony under the hull of the ship in Austal USA’s final assembly bay. Pritzker was chosen to fulfill this prestigious honor by former Navy secretary, Ray Mabus.
“It is a great honor to be associated with this incredible vessel and the amazing people who built it,” commented Pritzker. “I wish the crew well as the Cincinnati becomes an integral part of the U.S. naval fleet protecting our nation.”
Austal has delivered two LCSes to the Navy in 2018 while another five are under construction. LCS 18 is preparing for sea trials as LCS 20, 22, 24 and LCS 26 follow close behind. Additionally, Austal has two more LCSes in a pre-construction phase, LCS 28 and LCS 30.
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 EPF vessels, while an additional three are in various stages of construction.