The U.S. Navy christened its newest Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Charleston (LCS-18), during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony Saturday, August 26, in Mobile, Alabama.
The future USS Charleston, designated LCS-18, honors Charleston, the second-largest city in South Carolina. She will be the sixth ship to be named for Charleston.
The Honorable Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the U.S. Navy, delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Charlotte Riley, the wife of ten-term, former Mayor of Charleston Joe Riley, served as the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony was highlighted by Mrs. Riley breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship, a time-honored Navy tradition.
«I am honored to be here as we christen the newest LCS, the future USS Charleston», said the Honorable Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the U.S. Navy. «Charleston, like the other ships in the LCS program, is going to be highly maneuverable, able to operate where other ships cannot, and will project power through forward presence. The ship and her crew will serve our nation for decades to come, but let us not forget our industrial force whose service makes this great ship possible. I am grateful for the men and women of Austal for their dedication, and to the citizens of Mobile for their support, as we continue to make our Navy stronger».”
The name Charleston has a long and storied history in the U.S. Navy. The first U.S. Navy ship to bear the name Charleston was a row galley that defended the coast of South Carolina during the Quasi-War with France. The second Charleston (C-2) was a protected cruiser that received the surrender of Guam during the Spanish-American War. The third Charleston (C-22) was a St. Louis-class protected cruiser that performed escort and troop transport duties in World War I. The ship named Charleston (PG-51) was an Erie-class patrol gunboat that earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one battle star for her service in the northern Pacific during World War II. The fifth Charleston (AKA-113/LKA-113) was an amphibious cargo ship that served during the Vietnam War.
The future USS Charleston (LCS-18) is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric «anti-access» threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.
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 (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g. LCS-1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS-6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).
Each LCS seaframe will be outfitted with a single mission package made up of mission modules containing warfighting systems and support equipment. A dedicated ship crew will combine with aviation assets to deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare or surface warfare missions.
The Independence Variant of the LCS Class
|Construction||Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy|
|Length overall||421 feet/128.3 m|
|Beam overall||103 feet/31.4 m|
|Hull draft (maximum)||14.8 feet/4.5 m|
|PAYLOAD AND CAPACITIES|
|Complement||Core Crew – 40|
|Mission crew – 36|
|Berthing||76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments|
|Maximum mission load||210 tonnes|
|Mission Bay Volume||118,403 feet3/11,000 m3|
|Mission packages||Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)|
|Surface Warfare (SUW)|
|Mine Warfare (MIW)|
|Main engines||2 × GE LM2500|
|2 × MTU 20V 8000|
|Waterjets||4 × Wartsila steerable|
|Bow thruster||Retractable azimuthing|
|Speed||40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h|
|Range||3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km|
|Operational limitation||Survival in Sea State 8|
|Deck area||>21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2|
|Launch and recovery||Twin boom extending crane|
|Internal elevator to hanger|
|Launch/Recover Watercraft||Sea State 4|
|FLIGHT DECK AND HANGER|
|Flight deck dimensions||2 × SH-60 or 1 × CH-53 or multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs/VTUAVs)|
|Hanger||Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60|
|Launch/Recover Aircraft||Sea State 5|
|WEAPONS AND SENSORS|
|Standard||1 × 57-mm gun|
|4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns|
|1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher|
|3 × weapons modules|
|USS Independence (LCS-2)||01-19-2006||04-26-2008||01-16-2010||San Diego, California|
|USS Coronado (LCS-4)||12-17-2009||01-14-2012||04-05-2014||San Diego, California|
|USS Jackson (LCS-6)||08-01-2011||12-14-2013||12-05-2015||San Diego, California|
|USS Montgomery (LCS-8)||06-25-2013||08-06-2014||09-10-2016||San Diego, California|
|USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10)||04-16-2014||02-25-2015||06-10-2017||San Diego, California|
|USS Omaha (LCS-12)||02-18-2015||11-20-2015|
|USS Manchester (LCS-14)||06-29-2015||05-12-2016|
|USS Tulsa (LCS-16)||01-11-2016|
|USS Charleston (LCS-18)||06-28-2016|
|USS Cincinnati (LCS-20)||04-10-2017|
|USS Kansas City (LCS-22)|
|USS Oakland (LCS-24)|