The US Navy will christen its tenth littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), during a midday ceremony June 13 at Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. LCS 10 is named after former United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords.
During the event, Second Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden, the ship’s sponsor, will break a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow thereby christening the ship in a time-honored Navy tradition.
The LCS class consists of the Freedom variant and Independence variant, each designed and built by different industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for odd-numbered hulls, e.g., LCS 1). The Independence variant team is led by General Dynamics, Bath Iron Works (LCS 2 and LCS 4) and Austal USA (for the subsequent even-numbered hulls).
Purchased under the innovative block-buy acquisition strategy, there are 12 ships currently under construction.
While capable of open-ocean tasking, LCS is intended to operate in the littorals — shallow, coastal waters. As such, the ships can operate in water as shallow as 20 feet deep and can travel at speeds in excess of 40 knots. USS Freedom (LCS 1) and USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) recently demonstrated these critical capabilities as part of their operational deployments to U.S. 7th Fleet in the Asia-Pacific region.
Image: US Navy