The fourth Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship completed a two-phased builders trials on April 21, paving the way for acceptance trials later this spring.
The first phase of builders trials for the future Montgomery (LCS-8) took place in early March, when shipbuilder Austal USA tested vessel propulsion, communications, navigation and combat systems, and related support systems, according to a Navy statement. The second phase, which wrapped up last week, extensively tested the Twin Boom Extensible Crane system, a cornerstone of the ship’s operational mission package capability. The crane system helps launch unmanned vehicles for mine countermeasures missions as well as manned small boats for security missions.
The Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) will conduct acceptance trials this spring, and the ship is expected to deliver by this fall, the statement said.
The LCS fleet is growing quickly, with the future Detroit (LCS-7) set for delivery in mid-September, just ahead of Montgomery, and then the future Little Rock (LCS-9) and Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) following closely behind.
The following is the full text of the Navy’s statement on Montgomery builders trials:
MOBILE, Alabama – The future USS Montgomery (LCS 8) successfully completed phase two of its builder’s trials, which included extensive testing of the, April 21.
The builder, Austal USA, will perform any remaining corrective actions required of the ship in preparation for acceptance trials, to be conducted by the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) later this spring.
“Montgomery was put through her paces and performed well,” said LCS program manager Capt. Tom Anderson. “I look forward to presenting her to INSURV, and also to getting her sister ship, LCS 10, to sea in the near future.”
In early March, Austal USA’s test and trials team successfully conducted phase one of Montgomery’s builder’s trials. Phase one trials included testing. Montgomery is expected to be delivered to the Navy later this fiscal year.
Montgomery was christened in November 2014. LCS 10, the future USS Gabrielle Giffords, is preparing for builder’s trials later in 2016. Other sister ships including Omaha (LCS 12), Manchester (LCS 14), Tulsa (LCS 16), Charleston (LCS 18), Cincinnati (LCS 20), Kansas City (LCS 22), Oakland (LCS 24) and the yet-unnamed LCS 26 are all in varying stages of construction.
The LCS class consists of the Freedom variant and 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 follow-on even-numbered hulls).
LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, with three types of mission packages including surface warfare, mine countermeasures, and anti-submarine warfare. The Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships (PEO LCS) is responsible for delivering and sustaining littoral mission capabilities to the fleet. Delivering high-quality warfighting assets while balancing affordability and capability is key to supporting the nation’s maritime strategy.