The U.S. Navy christened its newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Mobile (LCS 26), during a ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 7, in Mobile, Alabama.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, representing Alabama’s first district, delivered the christening ceremony’s principal address. His wife, Rebecca Byrne, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of South Alabama, served as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, Rebecca Byrne christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer David Singleton said the USS Mobile christening highlights Austal USA’s impressive capability and productivity, as the 20th ship to be christened at the shipyard in the past 5 years.
“As Prime contractor, Austal USA is delivering two major programs for the U.S. Navy, comprising a total of 33 ships, and it’s even more impressive when you consider Mobile is the 20th ship they have christened in just 5 years.
“The Austal USA shipyard has achieved outstanding productivity and efficiencies on both the LCS and EPF programs, and this is reflected in the progress on Mobile, which has been christened within 2 years of starting construction”, Singleton said.
LCS is a highly maneuverable, lethal and adaptable ship designed to support focused mine countermeasures (MCM), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and surface warfare (ASuW) missions. The ship integrates new technology and capability to affordably support current and future mission capability from deep water to the littorals. 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 areas in multiple theaters.
The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom-variant team is led by Lockheed Martin in Marinette, Wisconsin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence-variant team is led by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).
Austal USA is contracted to design and construct 19 Independence-class LCS for the U.S. Navy and has delivered 10 ships to date, with 6 currently at various stages of construction.
In addition to being in full-rate production for the LCS program, Austal USA is also the U.S. Navy’s Prime contractor for the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) program. Austal has delivered 10 EPF, with a total of 14 under contract.