Austal has welcomed the announcement by the Commander, US Pacific Fleet, that the USS Montgomery (LCS 8), an Independence Class littoral combat ship (LCS), has conducted a number of operations with two ships from the Royal Australian Navy in the South China Sea.
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Austal chief executive David Singleton said it was pleasing to see the Independence Class LCS engaging successfully with ships from the RAN, highlighting the interoperability of both the ship and the navies.
“It’s great to see the Montgomery successfully engaged with the Royal Australian Navy at sea, demonstrating the capability of the vessel to operate with a variety of ships, on numerous missions and exercises,” Singleton said.
“We expect to see many more of these Austal-designed and constructed ships in our region, with a total of 19 Independence Class LCS being delivered by Austal USA to the US Navy.”
Montgomery was joined by the RAN’s HMAS Stuart and HMAS Sirius and conducted communication drills, division tactics, bilateral flight operations and personnel exchanges while transitioning at sea.
Austal is contracted to deliver 19 LCS for the US Navy, with 10 delivered since 2010, five currently under construction and four scheduled for construction, with USS Charleston commissioned in March 2019.
The LCS is a high-speed, agile, multi-mission combatant, with the Independence variant open ocean-capable, but designed to "defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in the coastal water battlespace".
The vessel is designed for critical missions including mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare.