The U.S. Navy’s newest littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Manchester (LCS 14) departed from Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, May 5, beginning her journey to her commissioning site in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The ship’s commissioning is scheduled for May 26, after which she will begin her transit to her homeport of San Diego. As part of her sail around, Manchester will conduct regularly scheduled equipment and systems checks, training, visit several ports and transit through the Panama Canal.
“We are proud to take full ownership of our new ship, but we also thoroughly enjoyed our time here in Mobile, Alabama and were welcomed with open arms by the local community – especially the Mobile Navy League,” said Cmdr. Emily Bassett, the ship’s commanding officer and a native of Seattle. “We left our homes in San Diego in August of last year for the shipbuilding yard here in Mobile, so after commissioning we are looking forward to re-uniting with our families when we return to our home port this summer.”
Manchester is the twelfth littoral combat ship delivered to the Navy and the seventh LCS of the Independence variant. The Independence variant is noted for its unique hull design, and large flight deck size.
“Manchester will be the ninth LCS homeported in San Diego, continuing to advance our nation’s desire to grow our Fleet in capability and size to a 355-ship Navy,” said Capt. Matthew McGonigle, commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron ONE and a native of Turnersville, New Jersey. “LCSs play an important role in ensuring we can deter and defeat current and future threats in an increasingly complex, security environment.”
LCS is a high speed, agile, shallow draft, focused-mission surface combatant designed to meet validated fleet requirements for Surface Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare, and Mine Countermeasures missions in the littoral region. An interchangeable mission package is embarked on each LCS and provides the primary mission systems in one of these warfare areas. Using an open architecture design, modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to gain, sustain, and exploit littoral maritime supremacy, LCS provides U.S. joint force access to critical theaters.
Lt. Justus Cook, Future USS Manchester (LCS 14)