Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., delivered its 12th Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS) to the U.S. Navy on June 26, 2020. The future Oakland (LCS 24) is the second ship delivered by Austal USA to the Navy in 2020.
The 421'6"x103.7' Independence-variant LCS is the most recent step in the small surface combatant evolution. A high-speed, agile, shallow draft, focused-mission surface combatant, the LCS is designed to conduct surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and mine countermeasures missions in the littoral near-shore region, while also possessing the capability for deep-water operations. With its open-architecture design, the LCS can support modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles. The Independence-variant LCS integrates new technology and capability to support current and future mission capability from deep water to the littorals.
“We’re so excited to deliver Oakland to the fleet,” Austal USA president Craig Perciavalle said in a statement announcing the delivery. “Every milestone we accomplish during these unprecedented times is a true testament to the extraordinary skill and dedication of our LCS team — an indication of the success of our efforts to minimize the impact of the pandemic. The efficiency at which we’re delivering these ships is nothing short of world class.”
Upgrades on the LCS program continue to take shape both with inline production and post-delivery. The Austal USA and General Dynamics Mission Systems team recently integrated a new over-the-horizon missile system capability onto the Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) prior to her deployment as she meets U.S. Navy operational requirements and more LCS prepare for deployment.
“In the Pacific, USS Gabrielle Giffords is strengthening maritime security and regional stability with every port visit, exercise, and operation in which she participates” Perciavalle continued. “The LCS program has become instrumental to the U.S. Navy fleet as ships deploy from San Diego. We’re looking forward to seeing the USS Oakland and her sister ships follow in the path of the Giffords and Montgomery.”
Five small surface combatants are presently under various stages of construction at Austal’s Alabama shipyard. The future Mobile (LCS 26) is preparing for sea trials. Assembly is underway on the future Savannah (LCS 28) and Canberra (LCS 30), and modules for the future Santa Barbara (LCS 32) and Augusta (LCS 34) are under construction in Austal’s module manufacturing facility. The future Kingsville (LCS 36) and Pierre (LCS 38) are under contract.
More than 700 suppliers in 40 states contribute to the Independence-variant LCS program.
Austal is also under contract to build 14 Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels (EPF) for the U.S. Navy. The company has delivered 11 EPFs while an additional two are in various stages of construction.