The U.S. Navy’s ninth Independence Class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Charleston (LCS 18) successfully completed acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico, July 19, after a series of in-port and underway demonstrations for the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV).
Acceptance trials are the last significant milestone before the ship is delivered and commissioned into service with the Navy. During trials, the Navy conducted comprehensive tests of the future USS Charleston to demonstrate the performance of the propulsion plant, ship handling abilities and auxiliary systems.
“Another solid acceptance trial by the Navy and industry team in Mobile,” said LCS Program Manager Capt. Mike Taylor. “I look forward to celebrating with the crew of the future USS Charleston when she is delivered later this summer.”
While underway, the ship successfully demonstrated her bow thruster, twin boom extensible crane operations with the 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boat, completed surface and air self-defense detect-to-engage exercises and demonstrated the ship’s handling and maneuverability through high-speed steering and operation of her anchor.
Following delivery, Charleston (the ship) will undergo a post-delivery availability that includes crew training, certifications and familiarization exercises in Mobile.
The ship will be homeported in San Diego with sister ships USS Independence (LCS 2), USS Coronado (LCS 4), USS Jackson (LCS 6), USS Montgomery (LCS 8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), USS Omaha (LCS 12), USS Manchester (LCS 14) and the future USS Tulsa (LCS 16), which was delivered in April and will be commissioned in February 2019 in San Francisco.
The LCS program is at a full rate production with several ships currently under varying stages of construction at Austal USA in Mobile. Cincinnati (LCS 20) is preparing for sea trials. Final assembly is well underway on Kansas City (LCS 22) and Oakland (LCS 24). Modules for Mobile (LCS 26) and Savannah (LCS 28) are under construction in the module manufacturing facility and Canberra (LCS 30) is in pre-production. The contracts for Savannah and Canberra were awarded to Austal in 2017.
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.