On February 18, 2015, Austal and the US Navy held a keel-laying ceremony for the future USS Omaha (LCS 12), the fourth Independence-variant LCS class ship built at Austal under the 10-ship, $3.5 billion block buy contract awarded to Austal as prime contractor by the Navy in 2010.
Captain Tom Anderson, Littoral Combat Ship Program Manager, authenticated the keel.
A traditional keel-laying ceremony marks the first significant milestone in the construction of the ship. Due to Austal’s modular approach to ship manufacturing, all 37 modules used to form this 127-meter (419-foot) aluminum trimaran are already being fabricated. For Austal, keel-laying marks the beginning of final assembly. Thirty-two modules have been moved from Austal’s Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF) and erected in the final assembly bay in their pre-launch position. The remaining five modules will follow over the coming months.
Craig Perciavalle, Austal USA President, said:
Over 85 percent of Omaha’s modules are already erected, a testament to the hard work and dedication of the most talented shipbuilding professionals in the country. Omaha will be a formidable war ship with the speed, volume and flexibility to not only meet the needs of the Navy today, but adapt to ever-changing needs of the future.
Captain Anderson was assisted at the ceremony by Leo Boles. Mr. Boles is an “A” Class welder and has been part of the Austal team for almost 10 years.
The LCS program is in full swing at Austal USA with two ships delivered and six ships currently under construction. Jackson (LCS 6) and Montgomery (LCS 8) are both preparing for trials. Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) is being assembled in preparation for launch this week. Modules for Manchester (LCS 14) and Tulsa (LCS 16) are under construction in the Module Manufacturing Facility.