U.S. Navy Commissions Littoral Combat Ship USS Kansas City

The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Kansas City (LCS 22) at Naval Base San Diego on June 20.

The vessel was administratively commissioned via naval message due to public health safety and restrictions of large public gatherings related to the coronavirus pandemic and transitioned the ship to normal operations.

The Navy said in a statement that it is looking at a future opportunity to commemorate the “special event” with the ship’s sponsor, crew, and commissioning committee.

“This Independence-variant littoral combat ship will continue our proud naval legacy and embody the spirit of the people of Kansas City,” said Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite. “I am confident the crew of the USS Kansas City will extend the reach and capability of our force and confront the challenges of today’s complex world with our core values of honor, courage and commitment.”

Vice Adm. Richard A. Brown, commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, welcomed the ship that brings capabilities to counter diesel submarine, mines, and fast surface craft threats to the premier surface force in the world.

“Like other littoral combat ships, Kansas City brings speed and agility to the fleet,” said Brown via naval message. “Congratulations to Kansas City’s captain and crew for all of your hard work to reach this milestone. You join a proud Surface Force that controls the seas and provides the nation with combat naval power when and where needed.”

Mrs. Tracy Davidson, the ship’s sponsor, offered congratulations to everyone who played a role in delivering USS Kansas City to service.

“I am so proud of USS Kansas City and her crew, and everyone involved, for all the tremendous work they’ve done to bring this ship to life. Their dedication to our nation and the Navy is very much appreciated,” said Davidson. “I am privileged to be a part of this ship honoring Kansas City and look forward to remaining connected to USS Kansas City as her legacy grows, wherever she may sail.”

Kansas City’s commanding officer, Cmdr. R.J. Zamberlan, reported the ship ready.

“The caliber of crew required to prepare a warship entering the fleet is second to none,” said Zamberlan. “This is even more impressive aboard an LCS, where every member of the minimally manned team is required to fulfill multiple roles and excel at all of them to get the job done. This crew has exceeded expectations in unprecedented times and I could not be prouder to be their captain.”

USS Kansas City was built in Mobile, Alabama by Austal USA. The keel of the vessel was laid on Nov. 15, 2017, and she was christened on Sept. 22, 2018, followed by launching on Oct. 19, 2018. The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the vessel on Feb. 12 this year.

Future USS Kansas City arrives in San Diego
USS Kansas City (LCS 22) arrives at its new homeport at Naval Base San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Kevin C. Leitner)

The vessel is the 11th of the Independence variant to join the fleet and the second ship to be named for Kansas City. The name Kansas City was assigned to a heavy cruiser during World War II. However, construction was canceled after one month due to the end of the war. The name Kansas City was also assigned to the Wichita-class replenishment oiler AOR-3 in 1967. This ship saw service in the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm and was decommissioned in 1994.

U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ships

The LCS is a high speed, agile, shallow draft, mission-focused surface combatant of the U.S. Navy designed for operations in the littoral environment, yet fully capable of open ocean operations. It is a modular, reconfigurable ship designed to meet validated fleet requirements for anti-surface warfare (ASuW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and mine countermeasures (MCM) missions.

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 (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence-variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).

LCS is now the second-largest U.S. Navy surface ship class in production after the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers. In 2019, three LCSs were delivered to the fleet and five will be delivered in 2020 at a pace not seen since the 1990s.

Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships

The 12th Independence-variant LCS, the future USS Oakland (LCS 24) successfully concluded her acceptance trials on May 22.

Four additional Independence-variant ships are under construction at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama. The future USS Mobile (LCS 26) is undergoing final assembly. The modules for the future USS Savannah (LCS 28) and future USS Canberra (LCS 30) also are being erected, and modules for the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32) are being fabricated.

Additionally, Austal USA is preparing for the construction of the future USS Augusta (LCS 34), USS Kingsville (LCS 36) and USS Pierre (LCS 38).

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