The General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship Team today delivered Independence (LCS 2), its innovative high-speed trimaran combatant ship, to the United States Navy. The ship was constructed by team member Austal USA in Mobile. The delivery of Independence was preceded by the keel laying of its sister ship, Coronado (LCS 4), on Thursday, December 17.
Captain Dean Krestos, USN, Commanding Officer Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, Bath, Maine, officially accepted custody of Independence (LCS 2), the Navy’s first warship configured with a trimaran hull form. After signing the custody transfer documentation, Captain Krestos noted, “It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of the United States Navy, to accept delivery of the LCS-2, Independence, bringing to the fleet the second ship of this exciting new class of surface combatants.”
A brief ceremony was conducted at Austal USA Headquarters to commemorate the ship’s delivery. Those present included RDML James Murdoch, USN, the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program manager; CDR Curt Renshaw and CDR Mike Riley, the ship’s Blue and Gold Crew Commanding Officers; Jim Baskerville, vice president of the LCS Program for General Dynamics Bath Iron Works; Bob Browning, Austal Managing Director; Joe Rella, Austal USA President and Chief Operating Officer; and other Navy and General Dynamics LCS Team representatives.
RDML Murdoch, speaking on behalf of the Navy, praised the combined efforts of the Navy industry team in delivering LCS 2 and the characteristics of the ship itself.
Speaking for the entire General Dynamics LCS Team, Baskerville said, “Delivering Independence is a significant accomplishment for our team. Today, we provide the Navy with a new and highly capable warship equipped with extraordinary aviation features, large payload capacity and an open architecture computing environment for future missions – all contained within an extremely fast, stable and efficient trimaran hull form to support the Navy’s needs today and tomorrow. We’ve designed Independence to fight – and we’ve built it to win.”
Independence (LCS 2) will remain in Mobile, Ala., awaiting its commissioning on January 16, 2010, marking the first time a Navy ship has been commissioned in the city since 1945. After commissioning, the Navy will operate the ship in preparation for the ship’s next set of trials in the summer of 2010.
On Thursday, a brief keel laying ceremony was held in Mobile at Austal USA’s Assembly Bay 4 to record completion of the first major construction milestone for what will soon be the Navy’s second high-speed trimaran Littoral Combat Ship, Coronado (LCS 4). In attendance were a number of Navy representatives, including RDML James Murdoch, Navy Littoral Combat Ship Program Manager, and members of the General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship Team, including members of the Austal USA work force. The keel module, a large outfitted section of the aluminum ship’s center hull, was the centerpiece of the ceremony.
In welcoming attendees, Baskerville said, “This is a significant day for the entire GD LCS Team and our Navy counterparts in Washington, Bath and Mobile. The lessons learned during the construction of Independence are already being applied to Coronado to ensure it will be, like Independence, a highly capable and effective platform to support the Navy’s needs.”
Speaking for the Navy, RDML Murdoch noted the significant facility and efficiency improvements being made at Austal to the benefit of Coronado and future LCS ships. He also expressed high confidence and respect for the sailors that will serve and take Coronado into harm’s way.
Coronado (LCS 4) is scheduled for delivery in June 2012.
Independence and Coronado are major parts of the Navy’s plan to address asymmetric threats in the 21st century. Intended to operate in coastal areas, the ships will be fast, highly maneuverable and equipped to support mine detection/elimination, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare mission.
The ships’ highly flexible OPEN CI design, developed and integrated by a General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems team, allows “plug and play” integration of both the core systems and the LCS mission modules. It meets Navy open architecture requirements, strictly adheres to published industry standards and facilitates the integration of commercially available products.
General Dynamics Bath Iron Works is the prime contractor for the General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship Team. Partners include shipbuilder Austal USA (Mobile, AL); General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (Fairfax, VA); BAE Systems (Rockville, MD); L3 Communications Marine Systems (Leesburg, VA); Maritime Applied Physics Corporation (Baltimore, MD); and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems (Baltimore, MD).
Bath Iron Works employs approximately 5,500 people. Since 1991, BIW has manufactured and delivered 31 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers; the shipyard is also building the lead ship of the Navy’s Zumwalt (DDG 1000) class of guided missile destroyers.
Austal USA’s Mobile facility currently employs almost 1,000 workers and is one of the largest aluminum shipyards in the world. In addition to the LCS, recent projects have included construction of the largest-ever aluminum ferry in the United States. Austal is also in the pre-construction design phase on the first Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV) for the U.S. Department of Defense.
General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems is a provider of end-to-end mission solutions in systems integration, development and operations support to customers in the defense, intelligence, space and homeland security communities. The company integrates land, air, sea, space and cyber assets to facilitate the collection, exploitation, analysis and dissemination of mission-critical intelligence information.
General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., employs approximately 92,300 people worldwide. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies. More information about General Dynamics is available online at www.generaldynamics.com.