Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., hosted future USS Santa Barbara ship sponsor and keel authenticator, Lolita Zinke, recently at a keel laying ceremony for the 16th Independence variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). Zinke welded her initials into the ship's keel plate officially authenticating that the keel of the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32) "has been truly and fairly laid".

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.

LCS 32 will be the third U.S. Navy ship to be named after Santa Barbara. Lolita Zinke is a native of Santa Barbara. After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), she graduated from California Western School of Law.