According to Shawne K. Wickham, New Hampshire Sunday News’s correspondent, the U.S. Navy’s new combat ship USS Manchester (LCS-14) was christened on April 07 at the Alabama shipyard where she was built. New Hampshire’s senior senator, Jeanne Shaheen, did the honors, smashing a bottle of champagne against the ship, named in honor of her state’s largest city.
Shaheen is the ship’s sponsor, which she called both an honor and a «solemn responsibility». «For the United States of America, I christen thee Manchester», said Shaheen, whose family was in attendance. «May God bless this ship and all who sail in it». Shaheen was sporting protective safety goggles and gloves but that didn’t protect her fuchsia blazer and black skirt from getting drenched with champagne as the bottle shattered.
The ship’s horn sounded and a band struck up «Anchors Aweigh» as Shaheen exchanged hugs with Navy Commander Emily Bassett, who will command the Manchester. Bassett had visited Manchester last weekend to get a first-hand look at the city for which her ship is named. Shaheen also took a moment in her remarks to lobby for holding the official commissioning ceremony for the USS Manchester (LCS-14) in Portsmouth.
The Manchester was built by Austal USA at its Mobile, Alabama, shipyard. Components and critical systems for the 417-foot/127.1-meter littoral combat ship were made by Manchester-based Granite State Manufacturing. Company executives Glenn Lawton and Doug Thomson were on hand for the christening ceremony.
The new Independence-class ship will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads called mission modules, which can be changed quickly. The modules, combined with crew detachments and aviation assets, will be used to deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare or surface warfare missions, according to the U.S. Navy.
This is actually the second USS Manchester. The first was a light cruiser that served three combat tours during the Korean War and earned nine battle stars before it was decommissioned in 1956. During her recent visit to Manchester, Commander Bassett explained that the new Manchester’s «trimaran» hull is designed to minimize the amount of water displaced. That allows the ship to go faster and reach waters only smaller vessels could have navigated in the past.
The new ship will not be fully named the USS Manchester (LCS-14) until it is officially commissioned in the fall.
The Independence Variant of the LCS Class
|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 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|
|USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10)||04-16-2014||02-25-2015|
|USS Omaha (LCS-12)||02-18-2015||11-20-2015|
|USS Manchester (LCS-14)||06-29-2015|
|USS Tulsa (LCS-16)||01-11-2016|
|USS Charleston (LCS-18)|
|USS Cincinnati (LCS-20)|
|USS Kansas City (LCS-22)|
|USS Oakland (LCS-24)|