The USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) has been launched by the United States Navy at Mobile, Alabama’s Austal USA shipyard. As the 16th ship to be named after a woman and the 13th to be named after a living person since 1850, the vessel was named after Gabrielle Giffords who was a former Congresswoman from Tucson, Arizona. The ship is the third Independence-variant of the original block buy and is the first of the three that is constructed using Austal’s LCS modular manufacturing facility. As continuous fitting and activation continues for the USS Gabrielle Giffords, the final delivery to the fleet is expected to be in 2017.
As part of the littoral combat ship program, the USS Gabrielle Giffords belongs to a family of Freedom and Independence variants which are produced by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. These vessels are designed to undergo several different applications such as asymmetric anti-access threats, mines, silent diesel submarines, and fast armed craft. With a total of 375 ships in the US Naval fleet, there currently exists approximately 56 - 60 LCS ships in operation. Initiated in February 2002, the LCS program allowed for a significant decrease in lead time to receive, design, and construct ships when compared to any previous ship class. The first LCS, the USS Freedom (LCS 1), was constructed by Lockheed Martin and was delivered to the Navy on September 18, 2008. General Dynamics delivered the second LCS, the USS Independence (LCS 2), 3 months later on December 18, 2008. From the fiscal years of 2010 to 2015, it is expected that a total of 20 ships will be delivered to the United States Navy.
Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics are both industry leaders in the Aerospace and Defense Industries. As top contractors for the United States Government, both companies have been awarded multi-million dollar contracts from all divisions of the United States Armed Forces.
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