The seventh Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) built by Austal, Manchester (LCS 14), has completed acceptance trials December 15 in the Gulf of Mexico, marking the final significant milestone prior to the warship’s delivery in early 2018.
This milestone achievement involved the execution of intense comprehensive tests by the Austal-led industry team while underway, which demonstrated to the Navy the successful operation of the ship’s major systems and equipment.
LCS 14 will be the second Independence-variant LCS Austal delivers to the Navy in less than six months.
“This is the fourth Austal-built Navy ship to reach this milestone this year, an amazing feat but not surprising considering the incredibly talented shipbuilders we employ here,” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle. “With LCS 14 now making final preparations for delivery and LCS 16 right behind her, we’re excited to see these ships join the fleet at such a steady pace, momentum that positions us well for the future.”
Austal has delivered six Independence-variant LCS, one of which, USS Coronado (LCS 4), recently returned to San Diego Navy Base after completing a successful 14-month deployment with the Pacific Fleet. While deployed for the first time, the Coronado accomplished several LCS “firsts” - first launch/firing of Harpoon antiship missiles, first deployment of hybrid aviation detachment of MH-60 helicopter and FireScout UAS, first use of MQ-8B FireScout UAS to provide target information for LCS-launched Harpoon missile, and first experimentation with NRL-developed NOMAD electronic warfare system.
The LCS program is at full rate production and is continuing its momentum at Austal USA with seven ships currently under construction. Tulsa (LCS 16), Charleston (LCS 18) and Cincinnati (LCS 20) are preparing for trials. Final assembly is well underway on Kansas City (LCS 22) and Oakland (LCS 24) and the first aluminum was cut on the future USS Mobile (LCS 26) on December 12. Austal also recently received new construction contracts for LCS 28 and LCS 30 – two of the three LCS awarded in FY 2017.