The United States military has named its latest littoral combat ship after Australia’s capital.
The US Navy has dubbed its latest Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS) the future USS Canberra (LCS 30) at a ceremony on Saturday (5 June) in Mobile, Alabama.
With the ship’s sponsor — Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne — unable to attend, Arthur Sinodinos, Australian ambassador to the US, delivered the ceremony's principal address.
Sinodinos was joined by Todd Schafer, acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations, and Environment) and Vice Admiral Ricky Williamson, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics (N4).
“[In naming the vessel], we move one step closer to welcoming a new ship to Naval service and transitioning the platform from a mere hull number to a ship with a name and spirit,” acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker said.
“There is no doubt future sailors aboard this ship will carry on the same values of honour, courage and commitment upheld by crews from an earlier vessel that bore this name.”
LCS is designed to operate in near-shore environments, combating modern coastal threats by supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence.
The US Navy’s LCS class consists of two variants, the ‘Freedom-variant’ and the ‘Independence-variant’, designed and built by two separate industry teams — Lockheed Martin (Freedom-variant) and Austal USA (Independence-variant).
USS Canberra is set to be the 15th Independence-variant LCS and 30th in class, and is the second ship named in honour of the city of Canberra.
The first USS Canberra (CA 70) was laid down as USS Pittsburgh on 3 September, 1941 and renamed Canberra on 15 October, 1942.
CA 70, the first US Navy cruiser named after a foreign capital, was named in honour of the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra, which sank after receiving heavy damage during the Battle of Savo Island.
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The ship received seven battle stars for her service in World War II, and served as the ceremonial flagship for the selection of the Unknown Serviceman of World War II and Korea in May 1958.
CA 70 was decommissioned on 2 February 1970 at the San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard.
One of CA 70’s propellers is preserved at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, while the ship's bell was donated to the Australian National Maritime Museum in 2001.