Austal USA, the American branch of Australia-based ship building giant Austal, has just launched the fourth Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS). The vessel was transported by barge down the Mobile River until it reached a floating BAE Systems dry dock, at which point it was floated off. Once the shipped has been christened and tested, it will join its sister ships in San Diego. In fact, 16 of the first 24 Independence-class LCS vessels will be based out of San Diego. Look for the future USS Omaha to join the Navy fleet at some point in 2016.
That this precisely choreographed launch event has become commonplace in Mobile is a sign of the maturity and stability of the LCS serial production line,
said Navy Capt. Tom Anderson, LCS program manager.
I look forward to the future USS Omaha completing the test and trial process en route to delivery to the fleet.
Independence-class LCS vessels are designed to address asymmetric threats. Essentially, LCS vessels offer the Navy a flexible mission systems that can be utilized in a vast number of present and future situations. It is meant to be an agile and highly maneuverable vessel capable of mine detection, surface warfare, and sub-surface warfare which specializes in encounters with smaller ships. One of the defining features of LCS vessels is that they can be outfitted with different mission modules depending upon the mission at hand.
To expand upon the capabilities of the Independence LCS variant, the vessel is 418.60 feet long, 103.7 feet tall, 103.7 feet wide, and possesses a top speed of over 40 knots. Also, the vessel displaces up to 3,100 MT and have a draft (vertical distance between the bottom of the hull and the water draft) of 14.4 feet.
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