Home » Budget Industry » Austal USA Lays Keel for Littoral Combat Ship Manchester

Austal USA Lays Keel for Littoral Combat Ship Manchester

The launch of the future USS Montgomery (LCS-8) on Aug 6, 2014 in Mobile, Ala. Austal USA Photo

The launch of the future USS Montgomery (LCS-8) on Aug 6, 2014 in Mobile, Ala. Austal USA Photo

Shipbuilder Austal USA laid the keel of the seventh Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) at its Mobile, Ala. yard, the company announced on Monday.

The initials of sponsor Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) were welded into the aluminum keel of Manchester (LCS-14) in the ceremony at the yard.

According to the company, 36 of the 37 modules that make up the 3,100-ton ship have already started construction.

“For Austal, keel laying marks the beginning of final assembly. Nineteen modules have been moved from Austal’s module manufacturing facility and erected in the final assembly bay in their pre-launch position, read a statement from the company.
“The remaining 18 modules will follow over the coming months.”

The ship is the fifth ship of a ten-ship multiyear $3.5 billion contract with Austal USA issued by the Navy 2010 as part of a larger $7 billion block buy for — including ten Lockheed Martin Freedom-class LCS — for 20-ship total.

The first four Independence-class LCS were built under a contract to General Dynamics in which Austal USA was a subcontractor before GD elected not to compete for the multiyear.

Work in the yard is proceeding on other ships.

“Modules for the future USS Tulsa (LCS-16) and the future USS Charleston (LCS-18) are in the early phases of construction,” read the Austal statement.

Earlier this month, LCS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) was christened at the Mobile yard.

In addition to the Independence-class ships, Austal is building ten Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV) for the Navy.

  • PolicyWonk

    The “Duffle Blog” feature on the LCS named after Ms. Giffords was hilarious.

    Another LCS, another sad day for the US Taxpayers…

    • Steve Skubinna

      Yeah, I’m sure Mrs. Giffords is a nice lady and it’s a pity she got shot, but weren’t there any service members killed in the line of duty over the past decade who could have been commemorated?

      Sadly SECNAV Mabus appears to have gone out of his way to belittle and dismiss Sailors and Marines with his ship name selections.

      • PolicyWonk

        A lot of traditions regarding ship naming have changed, because now to ensure funding the navy now names ships mostly for political reasons. The USS Giffords is such an example.

        Whats even more dangerous, is the fact that the Navy has been permitted by Sec. Mabus (amongst other co-conspirators) to build not one, but TWO classes of a type of ship that Adm. Greenert admitted in a Breaking Defense interview that the Littoral Combat Ship was never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat.

        And as if that wasn’t bad enough, these sea-frames don’t meet even the lowest survivability standard, and don’t have the room for growth that would’ve allowed for reasonable up-arming/armoring.

        I’m (personally) less concerned about who they name these ships after, than I am the callous disregard for the lives of those that are ordered to serve on them.

        • Fred Gould

          I spoke to several NDT techs who inspected both classes. A couple of them were prior Navy and all they could say was sad, very, very sad.

        • Steve Skubinna

          They’re both part and parcel of the same dynamic. The current crop of political hacks are all about gaining power and patronage and spreading about federal largess. And so they send people to enforce half formed and unrealistic policies in badly designed, stupidly named vessels.

          If they were serious about the national interest we’d have much better platforms than the LCS, with better names than “USS Vote for me, Congressional District Six!” And we’d have no problem recruiting and retaining motivated people.

        • redgriffin

          Tell me is the complaint that they named a ship after Congresswoman Gifford or that they named a LCS after her?

          • Ctrot

            My complaints are:
            #1 The Navy shouldn’t name a naval vessel after a congresswoman simply because she was unlucky enough to get shot.
            #2 The Navy should not be buying “combat” vessels that are out classed by everything else on the planet in their displacement.

          • redgriffin

            And you have real proof of this fact not anecdotal evidence? Oh and I thought the SecNav had the right to name a ship what every he wanted and it wasn’t put up to a vote.

          • Steve Skubinna

            He doesn’t have any “right” to name a ship. He has the responsibility to name them. And he can, of course, select “Screw You Losers” if he likes.

            Which, in effect, he has done with several ship names. And why not, he’s not going to be the one taking them into combat.

          • redgriffin

            And no one has stopped him?

          • redgriffin

            So tell me how is the LCS a “loser” ship design. Because I know very few systems that are built for a weapons platform before they even know what ths size of the space they have to work with.

  • JJSchwartz

    How many more of these targets are the US taxpayer going to be stuck with? Seems as though between the AF’s F-35 and the Navy’s LCS we have senior military leaders that are seriously lacking in judgement, mission dedication, and apparently it would seem a lack of combat experience. It must be true that once they reach general grade they forget duty, honor and country and become freaking politicians looking for their post-military civilian golden parachute. Time for a purge before we get into a situation where the US ends up on the short end of a very dirty stick.

    • disqus_zommBwspv9

      Let them name all the LCS after politicians