Austal USA celebrated the christening of the company’s 19th Independence-variant 421'6"x103.7' littoral combat ship (LCS) on Saturday — the future USS Pierre (LCS 38).

The LCS is designed to be an agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats.

Each aluminum trimaran LCS has a displacement of 3,200 MT, a 15.1' draft, and is powered by a pair of 12,200-hp Rolls-Royce 20V8000 diesel engines and two 29,500-hp GE LM2500 gas turbines.

LCS 38 is the second ship named in honor of the capital city of South Dakota. The first USS Pierre, a World War II PC class submarine chaser, was commissioned in 1943 and decommissioned in 1958. Pierre (LCS 38) is the last Independence-variant LCS to be christened. Following delivery, the new LCS will join her sister ships homeported in San Diego and deploying to the INDO-PACOM region. 

Last November, the Navy reported it had six Independence-variant LCS deployed in the Pacific throughout 2023, including the record-breaking 26-month overseas deployment of Charleston (LCS 18). The Austal USA-built LCS variant is also providing support to the Navy’s unmanned programs with Oakland (LCS 24) operating as a mothership for the Unmanned Surface Division 1 vessels Ranger, Mariner, Seahawk and Sea Hunter; the large flight decks support unmanned drones, like the MQ-8C Fire Scout. Integration of the mine countermeasures (MCM) mission package placed aboard Canberra(LCS 30) signifies additional capabilities planned for Independence-variant LCSes. 

“One of my proudest moments since joining Austal USA, was looking out into the audience today and seeing the many talented Austal USA employees and other Navy and industry guests who are responsible for the success of the LCS program,” Austal USA President Michelle Kruger said during her remarks. “Austal USA has grown from a small commercial shipyard to a large, advanced defense ship manufacturer primarily thanks to the Indy-variant LCS program. Christening this ship, the last Austal USA-built LCS, makes me a bit nostalgic but I know, for this company and the great team we’ve assembled, the future is bright and limitless.” 


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