Navy to Christen Littoral Combat Ship Manchester
The Navy will christen its newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship, USS Manchester (LCS 14), during a 10 a.m. CST ceremony Saturday, May 7 in Mobile, Alabama.
Manchester, designated LCS 14, honors the city of Manchester, New Hampshire.
Thomas Oppel, chief of staff to the secretary of the Navy, will serve as the principal speaker. New Hampshire Senator, the Honorable Jeanne Shaheen, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by Shaheen breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship, which is a time-honored Navy tradition.
"The christening of the future USS Manchester represents another step forward as we continue to grow our fleet and serves as a reminder of the importance of our Navy's partnership with the highly-skilled and dedicated shipbuilders of our nation's industrial base," said the Honorable Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy. "It is because of the important work done by these men and women that the Manchester will represent our Navy and the people of New Hampshire with distinction, around the world, for years to come."
The future USS Manchester is the second naval vessel to honor New Hampshire's largest city. The first, a light cruiser, was commissioned Oct. 29, 1946. During nearly ten years of commissioned service, the ship completed numerous deployments, including three combat deployments in support of operations during the Korean conflict. The ship was decommissioned June 27, 1956 and stricken from the Navy list April 1, 1960.
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, e.g. LCS 1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls) and was originally led by General Dynamics, Bath Iron Works (LCS 2 and LCS 4).
The LCS seaframes will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission modules (made up of mission systems and support equipment), which can be changed quickly. These modules combine with crew detachments and aviation assets to become complete mission packages, which will deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, or surface warfare missions.