The US Navy has christened its newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Mobile (LCS 26).
The christening ceremony took place at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, on December 7, 2019.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, representing Alabama’s first district, delivered the christening ceremony’s principal address. His wife, Rebecca Byrne, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of South Alabama, served as the ship’s sponsor.
LCS 26 is the 13th Independence-variant LCS and the 26th in the class. It is the fifth ship named in honor of the port city on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
“This Independence-class LCS will extend the maneuverability and lethality of our fleet to confront the many challenges of a complex world,” said Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly.
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, while the Independence-variant team is led by Austal USA.
The Independence-variant LCS is said to be the most recent step in the small surface combatant evolution. The LCS is designed to conduct surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and mine countermeasures missions in the littoral near-shore region, while also possessing the capability for deep-water operations. With its open-architecture design, the LCS can support modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to capture and sustain littoral maritime supremacy.
In addition to being in full-rate production for the LCS program, Austal USA is also the US Navy’s prime contractor for the expeditionary fast transport (EPF) program.