Austal/General Dynamics Lay the Keel of the USS Omaha

Austal USA shipyard recently conducted a keel laying ceremony for the future USS Omaha, the sixth Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS).

Teamed with combat systems provider General Dynamics, the shipbuilders Austal USA held the event this past Wednesday in Mobile, Alabama. The ship will be around 420 feet in length, and has a waterline beam greater than 100 feet.

The keel ceremony is the first milestone in the construction of the ship. It symbolizes the formal beginning in the life of a ship, and recognizes the first joining together of a ship’s components, despite the fact that modern shipbuilding has allowed for advanced fabrication of individual modules.

"Today we celebrate an important milestone in the construction and ultimately life of the future USS Omaha,"
said Capt. Tom Anderson, LCS program manager.
"Once complete, this highly adaptable warship will deploy cutting edge mine countermeasures, antisubmarine warfare, and surface warfare systems around the globe."

The LCS is the first in the family of new surface ships for the United States Navy. It is a fast, highly maneuverable, networked surface combat ship, which is a specialized variant of the family of US future surface combat ships known as the Zumwalt-class destroyer. It is designed to meet the requirements for shallow draft vessels to operate in coastal waters and counter threats like coastal mines, quiet diesel submarines, and terrorists on small, fast, armed boats. It also has the potential to carry explosives.

"I think there will be a higher level of confidence in the ship's capability and what it can do. But I think it will be a great appreciation for the flexibility going forward and they will be in high demand,"
said Captain Anderson.

PEO LCS is in charge of delivering and sustaining littoral mission capabilities to the fleet, while working to increase production efficiency.

The ship's sponsor is philanthropist Ms. Susan Buffet, daughter of Warren Buffet.

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