US Navy lays keel for 20th littoral combat ship

Austal’s Alabama, USA, shipyard laid the keel for the U.S. Navy’s future USS Cincinnati (LCS 20) on April 10.

USS Cincinnati will be the 20th littoral combat ship and the tenth Independence-variant.

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and ship’s sponsor Penny Pritzker authenticated the keel during the ceremony.

While keel laying traditionally represents the formal start of a ship’s construction, advanced modular shipbuilding allows fabrication of the ship to begin months in advance. Today, keel laying continues to symbolically recognize the joining of the ship’s components and the ceremonial beginning of the ship.

LCS seaframe program manager’s representative, Navy Cmdr. Chris Addington, commended the Austal USA shipbuilders at the event. “Through the hard work and dedication of the men and women of Austal, this keel will be built up to a highly capable Navy ship,” he said. “Thanks to all of you for your efforts to complete a great ship that will exemplify its namesake city.”

Cincinnati will be approximately 418 feet in length, with a width of nearly 104 feet. The Navy’s LCS class consists of the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA and the Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin. Both variants are being purchased under an innovative block-buy acquisition strategy. There are currently 13 LCSs under construction.

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