Tag Archives: Littoral Combat Ship

Gabrielle Commissioned

USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), the U.S. Navy’s newest littoral combat ship, was brought to life by her crew before a crowd of nearly 2,500 guests at Pier 21 at the Port of Galveston, June 10.

USS Gabrielle Giffords Commissioned in Galveston
USS Gabrielle Giffords Commissioned in Galveston

Admiral William Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, delivered the ceremony’s principal address before officially commissioning the ship into service.

«As we man the rails today, blood gets pumped, the ship comes alive, and the heart begins to beat», said Moran. «It’s the blood that is infused by the spirit, the attitude, and the courage of its namesake. We are so proud to be part of Gabrielle Giffords’ legacy to the United States».

Following the commissioning, Doctor Jill Biden, the ship’s sponsor and wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, gave the time-honored Navy tradition of ordering the crew to «man our ship and bring her to life»!

The crowd sounded its approval as the crew ran aboard the ship to man their assigned stations and complete the ceremony of bringing the ship into active service to end a story that began more than five years ago.

In 2012 the Secretary of the U.S. Navy announced the future ship’s name, and USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) became the 16th ship to be named for a woman and only the 13th ship to be named for a living person since 1850.

The ship is commanded by Commander Keith Woodley, a native of Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, who leads the core crew of 50 officers and enlisted personnel.

During the ceremony Woodley praised the crew for their dedication and hard work in getting the ship ready for service.

«This is not just a new ship. This is a new class of ship and that makes it even more challenging for the crew», said Woodley. «They have risen to that challenge and performed exceptionally well in getting this ship ready for service».

Most other Navy surface combatant ships have a crew of 300 or more Sailors, but Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) like Gabrielle Giffords have more automated systems and much smaller crews than their counterparts. Gabrielle Giffords’ crew is just 73 at the ship’s commissioning.

«It’s not easy being an LCS Sailor», said Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Mark Dobrinin. «We have to wear so many hats and be trained on systems and duties outside of our normal job specialty due to the small crew size. Every enlisted Sailor here volunteered for the program and we’re excited to serve on USS Gabrielle Giffords».

The 3,200-ton USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) was built by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama. The ship is 421 feet/128.3 m in length and has a beam of 103 feet/31.4 m and a navigational draft of 14.8 feet/4.5 m. The ship uses two gas turbines and two diesel engines to power four steerable waterjets to speeds in excess of 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h.

Littoral combat ships are fast, agile, mission-focused platforms designed to operate in near-shore environments, while capable of open-ocean tasking, and win against 21st-century coastal threats such as submarines, mines, and swarming small craft.

A fast, maneuverable, and networked surface combatant, USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) is capable of operating independently or with an associated strike group. It is designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in coastal waters.

USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) will depart Galveston and begin her transit to her homeport at Naval Base San Diego.

The crew of the newest littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) «mans the ship and brings her to life» during a commissioning ceremony held in the Port of Galveston, Texas (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Michael D. Mitchell/Released)
The crew of the newest littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) «mans the ship and brings her to life» during a commissioning ceremony held in the Port of Galveston, Texas (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Michael D. Mitchell/Released)

 

The Independence Variant of the LCS Class

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
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)
PROPULSION
Main engines 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster Retractable azimuthing
PERFORMANCE
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
MISSION/LOGISTICS DECK
Deck area >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery Twin boom extending crane
Loading Side ramp
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

 

Independence-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
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)

 

Keel for Manchester

Austal and the U.S. Navy held a keel-laying ceremony on June 29 for the future USS Manchester (LCS-14), marking the first significant milestone in its construction. This new ship is the fifth Independence variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) built at Austal under the 10-ship, $3.5 billion block buy contract awarded to Austal in 2010.

Keel Laying for USS Manchester (LCS 14)
Keel Laying for USS Manchester (LCS 14)

«It has been said that building a high-tech Littoral Combat Ship is more akin to making a spacecraft than a traditional warship», said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), sponsor of the Manchester. «These ships and their technology are impressive. However, what is always most impressive, to me is the professionalism and excellence of the officers and sailors who serve on these remarkable vessels. We are also grateful to the engineers, the welders, the machinists, the metalworkers and electricians – all the men and women who are working as a team to build the USS Manchester (LCS-14). I am honored and humbled to be her official ship sponsor».

Shaheen, the only woman to serve as both a U.S. senator and state governor, authenticated the keel by welding her initials onto an aluminum plate that will be placed in the keel – a beam around which the hull, or body, of a ship is built. The keel runs lengthwise down the middle of the ship serving as the basic foundation or spine of the structure, providing the major source of the hull’s strength. Shaheen has been part of New Hampshire’s leadership fabric by representing her state in Congress since 2009.

Due to Austal’s modular approach to ship manufacturing, 36 of 37 modules used to form this 127-meter (419-foot) aluminum trimaran are already being fabricated. For Austal, keel laying marks the beginning of final assembly. Nineteen modules have been moved from Austal’s Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF) and erected in the final assembly bay in their pre-launch position. The remaining 18 modules will follow over the coming months.

Austal is a global defense prime contractor and a designer and manufacturer of defense and commercial ships
Austal is a global defense prime contractor and a designer and manufacturer of defense and commercial ships

«With 19 modules of Manchester already erected, and the christening of Gabrielle Giffords just a few short weeks ago, it’s exciting to see just how well the LCS program is maturing here», said Craig Perciavalle, president of Austal USA. «This milestone would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of Austal’s talented design and production team».

Austal’s LCS program delivered USS Independence (LCS-2) in 2009 and USS Coronado (LCS-4) in 2013. Seven additional LCS are under construction at the Mobile, Alabama shipyard. The U.S. Navy conducted acceptance trials on the future USS Jackson (LCS-6) last week, while the future USS Montgomery (LCS-8) is preparing for builders trials later this year. The future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) was christened June 13, and the future USS Omaha (LCS-12) will complete final assembly and prepare for launch later this summer. Modules for the future USS Tulsa (LCS-16) and the future USS Charleston (LCS-18) are in the early phases of construction.

Austal is also building ten 103-meter (338-foot) Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) for the U.S. U.S. Navy under a $1.6 billion block-buy contract. USNS Trenton (JHSV-5) marked the fifth vessel in this class to be delivered since the inception of the program. Both USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1) and USNS Millinocket (JHSV-3) are on humanitarian missions, in Central America and Southwest Asia, respectively.

Austal USA is a full-service shipyard offering design, construction and high-speed vessel service and repair. As Austal USA continues to expand its service and repair capabilities, the company is well positioned for new business with engineering, test and trials capabilities, and a new warehouse and office location in San Diego, California.

Austal also designs, constructs, integrates and maintains an extensive range of patrol and auxiliary vessels for government agencies globally
Austal also designs, constructs, integrates and maintains an extensive range of patrol and auxiliary vessels for government agencies globally

Christening of Gabby

The U.S. Navy christened its tenth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), during a midday ceremony June 13 at Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. LCS 10 is named after former United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

The future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), a Littoral Combat Ship built at the Austal USA shipyards in Mobile, Alabama, is christened during a ceremony Saturday, June 13, 2015, on the Mobile River
The future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), a Littoral Combat Ship built at the Austal USA shipyards in Mobile, Alabama, is christened during a ceremony Saturday, June 13, 2015, on the Mobile River

«The christening of the future USS Gabrielle Giffords marks the beginning of what is certain to be a long life for this great ship», said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. «It is also a celebration of the skill and dedication of the men and women who have built LCS 10 and the courage of her namesake. This ship truly embodies the Navy motto of Semper Fortis – Always Courageous».

During the event, Second Lady of the United States Doctor Jill Biden, the ship’s sponsor, smashed a champagne bottle on the bow as other dignitaries, including Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle and former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and her husband Captain Mark Kelly, USN (Retired), were watching from the platform.

Though Gabby’s comments were brief, Giffords’ excitement shown through every word during Saturday’s christening ceremony. «Thank you to all the people who built this ship. She’s stealthy. She will defend freedom around the world. Go Navy», Giffords said.

The LCS class consists of the Freedom variant and Independence variant, each designed and built by different industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for odd-numbered hulls, e.g., LCS-1). The Independence variant team is led by General Dynamics (LCS-2 and LCS-4) and Austal USA (for the subsequent even-numbered hulls). Purchased under the innovative block-buy acquisition strategy, there are 12 ships currently under construction.

While capable of open-ocean tasking, LCS is intended to operate in the littorals – shallow, coastal waters. As such, the ships can operate in water as shallow as 20 feet/6 meter deep and can travel at speeds in excess of 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h. USS Freedom (LCS-1) and USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) recently demonstrated these critical capabilities as part of their operational deployments to U.S. 7th Fleet in the Asia-Pacific region.

The ship is Austal's fifth in a $3.5 billion, 10-ship Independence-class LCS contract with the Navy
The ship is Austal’s fifth in a $3.5 billion, 10-ship Independence-class LCS contract with the Navy

 

The Independence Variant of the LCS Class

Principal dimensions

Construction:                         Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy

Length overall:                       417 feet/127.1 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 packages:               ASW, SUW, MIW

 

Propulsion

Main engines:                        2 × GE LM2500

2 × MTU 20V 8000

Waterjets:                                4 × Wartsila steerable

Bow thruster:                         Retractable azimuthing

It is 16th U.S. naval ship to be named for a woman and only the 13th since 1850 to be named for a living person
It is 16th U.S. naval ship to be named for a woman and only the 13th since 1850 to be named for a living person

Performance

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

 

Mission/Logistics deck

Deck area:                                  >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2

Launch and recovery:          Twin boom extending crane

Loading:                                       Side ramp

Internal elevator to hanger

 

Flight deck and hanger

Flight deck dimensions:      2 × SH-60 or 1 × CH-53

Hanger:                               Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60

 

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

The ship is a 417-foot trimaran designed to destroy mines, hunt submarines, interdict drugs and rush humanitarian relief to distant shores
The ship is a 417-foot trimaran designed to destroy mines, hunt submarines, interdict drugs and rush humanitarian relief to distant shores

Let’s call it a frigate

The modified Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class will be designated as frigates, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced at the Surface Navy Association 2015 symposium. The name change follows the December decision by the Navy to up gun the existing LCS classes for the last 20 of the service’s 52 small surface combatant requirement as part of an almost yearlong study directed by the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD).

The Lockheed Martin Multi-mission Combat Ship is one potential next generation variant the company has developed. The MCS design, using the flexible LCS hullform, can be built to different sizes, configured and integrated with sensors and weapons based on individual navies’ requirements. Image: Lockheed Martin
The Lockheed Martin Multi-mission Combat Ship is one potential next generation variant the company has developed. The MCS design, using the flexible LCS hullform, can be built to different sizes, configured and integrated with sensors and weapons based on individual navies’ requirements. Image: Lockheed Martin

«One of the requirements of the Small Surface Combatant Task Force was to have a ship with frigate-like capabilities. Well, if it’s like a frigate, Let’s call it a frigate»? Mabus said. «We are going to change the hull designation of the LCS class ships to FF. It will still be the same ship, the same program of record, just with an appropriate and traditional name».

As the existing Flight 0 LCS are modified and back fitted with additional capabilities, they could earn the FF label, he said. Mabus said the name change came after consultation with Navy leadership, including Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA). Mabus said he often had confusing conversations about the LCS ship class. «It’s not an ‘L’ class ship», he said. «When I hear ‘L’ I think amphib, so does everybody else». The FF designation for the LCS will be the first of a planned set of nomenclature changes for other ships classes as well that will come in the coming weeks, Mabus said. He mentioned the Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB), the Mobile Landing Platform and the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) in his remarks.

The Navy's first trimaran Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Independence (LCS 2), during Builder's Sea Trials in the Gulf of Mexico July 2009
The Navy’s first trimaran Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Independence (LCS 2), during Builder’s Sea Trials in the Gulf of Mexico July 2009

As for the now Fast Frigate class, the up gunned variants are moving forward are set to be acquired starting in Fiscal Year 2019, will add about $50 to 60 million in weapons, sensors and armor to beef up the existing Flight 0 Austal USA Independence and Lockheed Martin Freedom class designs which are now being built for about $500 million a hull on average.

According to Sam LaGrone, USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute, Navy leaders have highlighted the new ships will have an emphasis on anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare borrowing some of the modularity of the Flight 0 LCS designs. The Navy is set to deliver an acquisition strategy to the OSD in May and an analysis if some of the modifications can be back fit on to the existing LCS designs.

As the U.S. Navy faces retirement of three important ship classes soon, the Freedom-class littoral combat ship is helping to fill that gap affordably with one flexible, technologically advanced ship suited for multiple missions. Photo: US Navy
As the U.S. Navy faces retirement of three important ship classes soon, the Freedom-class littoral combat ship is helping to fill that gap affordably with one flexible, technologically advanced ship suited for multiple missions. Photo: US Navy