The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of its eighth Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Tulsa (LCS 16) from Austal USA during a ceremony in Mobile, Alabama, April 30, 2018.
Delivery marks the official transfer of LCS-16 from the shipbuilder, an Austal USA-led team, to the Navy. It is the final milestone prior to commissioning, which is planned for late 2018 in San Francisco. The future USS Tulsa is the second Austal designed and built LCS delivered to the Navy this year. Tulsa’s delivery precedes the future USS Manchester (LCS 14) commissioning, which will take place in New Hampshire at the end of May.
“Today marks a significant milestone in the life of the future USS Tulsa, as transfer occurs to the Navy and she enters service,” said Capt. Mike Taylor, LCS program manager. “I look forward to celebrating the commissioning of this fine ship alongside the crew later this year in San Francisco.”
“The Austal team is excited to deliver another of these incredible ships to the US Navy. We are proud to be able to administer this program with efficiency and reliability,” Austal CEO, David Singleton said. “The maturity and success of the LCS program is a direct result of the dedication and skill of the Austal employees, and the technology we have invested in Mobile in our next generation shipbuilding facility.”
“The advanced production process we have developed at Mobile is allowing us to roll out ships from the assembly bays one after the other in such quick succession offering a huge competitive advantage for Austal to be able to support the US Navy’s fleet expansion to 355 ships” Mr Singleton said.
Tulsa is the 13th littoral combat ship to be delivered to the Navy and the eighth of the Independence variant to join the fleet. The Independence variant is noted for its unique trimaran hull and its large flight deck.
“We look forward to welcoming the future USS Tulsa and crew in San Diego later this year,” said Capt. Matthew McGonigle, commander, LCS Squadron One (COMLCSRON ONE). “Bringing a ship to life is no small task and I commend the crew for their hard work and dedication to their ship and to the LCS community.”
COMLCSRON ONE supports the operational commanders with warships ready for tasking by manning, training, equipping and maintaining littoral combat ships on the west coast.
“To see Tulsa ready for delivery, words almost can’t express the amazing work that Austal, Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Gulf Coast, and Program Executive Office Unmanned and Small Combatants, have done to get her to this point,” said Cmdr. Drew Borovies, Tulsa’s commanding officer. “Although there is still plenty of hard work ahead, we are at the point where Tulsa is ready for her crew, and I can say without hesitation that her crew is ready for Tulsa. Tulsa and her crew are ‘Tough, Ready. and Able!'”
Following commissioning, Tulsa will be homeported in San Diego with her fellow ships USS Freedom (LCS 1), USS Independence (LCS 2), USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), USS Coronado (LCS 4), USS Jackson (LCS 6), USS Montgomery (LCS 8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), USS Omaha (LCS 12) and the future USS Manchester (LCS 14).
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 theaters.
Five LCS remain under construction at Austal’s Alabama shipyard. Future USS Charleston (LCS 18) is preparing for sea trials. Assembly is underway on future USS Cincinnati (LCS 20) and future USS Kansas City (LCS 22) and modules for future USS Oakland (LCS 24) and future USS Mobile (LCS 26) are under construction. Construction on LCS 28, recently named USS Savannah, is to begin later this year.
Program Executive Office Unmanned and Small Combatants is responsible for delivering and sustaining littoral mission capabilities to the fleet.
Austal is also under contract to build 12 Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels (EPF) for the U.S. Navy. The company has delivered nine EPFs while an additional three are in various stages of construction.