Mobile, Ala.-based Austal USA delivered its seventh Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS) to the U.S. Navy on Wednesday, Feb. 28. The future 421'6"x103.7' Manchester (LCS 14) will be the 12th LCS to enter the fleet.

“We’re so excited to deliver another LCS to the fleet,” Austal USA president Craig Perciavalle said in a prepared statement. “The efficiency at which we’re delivering these ships is world class, and a testament to the incredible skill and hard work of the best shipbuilding professionals in the country.”

With a displacement of 3,200 MT and a 15.1' draft, the Manchester is the second LCS delivered to the Navy by Austal in less than six months, follows the Omaha (LCS 12) commissioning, which took place in San Diego earlier this month. Shipyard officials said they are pleased with the feedback they have received from the Navy regarding the Coronado‘s (LCS 4) recent deployment success and the work being done on the West Coast by the other five Austal-built LCSes — all performing as expected.

Six LCSes remain under construction at Austal’s Alabama shipyard. Tulsa (LCS 16) is making final preparations for acceptance trials and Charleston (LCS 18) is preparing for builder’s sea trials. Assembly is underway on Cincinnati (LCS 20) and Kansas City (LCS 22) and modules for Oakland (LCS 24) and Mobile (LCS 26) are under construction. Construction on LCS 28, recently named Savannah, is to begin later this year.

“Leveraging this momentum,” Perciavalle added, “Austal stands 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.”

More than 900 suppliers in 41 states contribute to the Independence-variant littoral combat ship program. This supplier base supports tens of thousands of small business to large business jobs.

Austal is also under contract to build 12 Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels (EPF) for the U.S. Navy. The company has delivered nine EPFs while an additional three are in various stages of construction.

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.