The U.S. Navy will commission its newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Cincinnati (LCS 20), during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony Saturday, Oct. 5, on the west pier in Gulfport, Mississippi.
The principal speaker will be Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio. Former Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will serve as the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored naval tradition when Mrs. Pritzker gives the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”
“USS Cincinnati and her crew will play an important role in the defense of our nation and maritime freedom,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “She stands as proof of what teamwork – from civilian to contractor to military – can accomplish. This fast, agile platform will deliver her motto, ‘Strength in Unity’ worldwide thanks to their efforts.”
The future USS Cincinnati is the fifth U.S. Navy ship to honor Ohio’s third largest city. The first was a stern-wheel casemate gunboat that served during the Civil War and was sunk by Confederate fire on two separate occasions. Raised both times and returned to service, she was decommissioned following the war. The second Cincinnati was a cruiser commissioned in 1894. She served extensively in the Caribbean before, during, and after the Spanish-American War before being decommissioned in 1919. The third ship to bear the name was a light cruiser commissioned in 1924 that served around the world and earned a battle star for World War II service that included convoy escort and blockade duty. She was decommissioned in 1945 after the war ended. The fourth Cincinnati was a Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine commissioned in 1978. The boat served for 17 years before being decommissioned in 1995.
LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, 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 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 (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence-variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).