The US Navy has christened its newest Austal USA-built, Independence Class littoral combat ship (LCS), USS Savannah (LCS 28), at a ceremony at the company’s shipyard in Alabama.
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Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition James Geurts delivered the christening ceremony's principal address.
Dianne Isakson, wife of former US senator John Isakson, will serve as the ship’s sponsor – in a time-honoured Navy tradition, Isakson will christen the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
LCS is a highly manoeuvrable, lethal and adaptable ship designed to support focused mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare missions.
The ship integrates new technology and capability to affordably support current and future mission capability from deep water to the littorals.
Using an open architecture design, modular weapons, sensor systems, and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to gain, sustain and exploit littoral maritime supremacy, LCS provides US joint force access to critical areas in multiple theatres.
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 in Marinette, Wisconsin (for the odd-numbered hulls).
The Independence-variant team is led by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).
LCS 28 is the 14th Independence-variant LCS and 28th in class. It is the sixth ship named in honour of the city of Savannah. The first was a coastal galley that provided harbour defence for the port of Savannah, 1799-1802.
The second USS Savannah, a frigate, served as the flagship of the Pacific Squadron and then served in the Brazil Squadrons and Home Squadrons, 1844-1862. The third USS Savannah (AS 8) was launched in 1899 as the German commercial freighter, Saxonia.
Seized in Seattle, Washington, upon the outbreak of World War I, the freighter was converted to a submarine tender and supported submarine squadrons in both the Atlantic and Pacific, 1917-1926.
The fourth USS Savannah (CL 42) was a Brooklyn Class light cruiser commissioned in 1938. The warship served through the entire Mediterranean campaign, receiving three battle stars for service before decommissioning in 1945. The fifth USS Savannah (AOR 4) was a Wichita Class replenishment oiler commissioned in 1970.
AOR 4 earned one battle star and a Meritorious Unit Commendation for service in the Vietnam War. The oiler provided underway replenishment services in the Atlantic and Indian oceans until decommissioning in 1995.
The Independence Class LCS is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation.
The 127-metre trimaran is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The ship successfully integrates new technology and capability to support current and future US Navy mission capability in any operating environment.
Austal USA is also under contract to build 14 expeditionary fast transport (EPF) vessels for the US Navy. The company has delivered 11 EPFs, while an additional two are in various stages of construction at the Mobile shipyard.