On April 16, 2014, Austal and the Navy held a keel-laying ceremony for the fifth Independence variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), one of five Austal-designed U.S. Navy LCS currently under construction in Mobile, Ala. The ships namesake, the Honorable Gabrielle Giffords (former United States Representative from Arizona), was present at the ceremony to authenticate the keel.
A traditional keel-laying ceremony marks the first significant milestone in the construction of the ship. Due to Austals modular approach to ship manufacturing, all 37 of the modules used to form this 127-meter aluminum trimaran design are already being fabricated. For Austal, keel-laying marks the beginning of final assembly. Twenty modules have been moved from Austals Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF) and erected in the final assembly bay in their pre-launch position. The rest will follow over the coming months.
Craig Perciavalle, Austal USA President, made the following remarks regarding the keel laying event: Its amazing to think that as prime contractor, this is the eighth Naval ship we are laying the keel for in less than four years. He went on to say, The Gabrielle Giffords is an innovative new warship with incredible capabilities; a combatant that meets and exceeds the requirements established today, while having the capability and adaptability to meet evolving threats and requirements for decades to come.
Perciavalle also recognized the talented Austal employees who have played an integral role in the success of the LCS program. Your hard work, incredible craftsmanship and creativity are whats bringing Gabrielle Giffords to life.
Ms. Giffords is a native of Tucson, Arizona, and graduate of Scripps College. She also has a Masters Degree in Regional Planning from Cornell University. Her professional career began as an associate for regional economic development at Price Waterhouse in New York City, then she returned home and became President and CEO of a local chain of auto service centers founded by her grandfather.
Ms. Giffords dedicated her life to public service for more than ten years, first as the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate from 2000-2005, and then in Congress from 2006-2012. Her success is credited to her reliance on old-fashioned values of kindness, candor and grueling hard work.
Unfortunately her Congressional career was cut short as she was the victim of an assassination attempt in January 2011, seriously injuring her along with 13 others and killing six, including the nine-year-old daughter of Ms. Roxanna Green, the Gabrielle Giffords ships sponsor.
Former U.S. Representative Giffords was assisted at the ceremony by Mr. Jesus Silva. Mr. Silva is an A Class welder and has been part of the Austal team for almost seven years.
The LCS program is in full swing at Austal USA with five ships under construction at this time. Jackson (LCS 6) is preparing for trials. Montgomery (LCS 8) is being assembled in Bay 4 in preparation for launch. Modules for Omaha (LCS 12) are under construction in the Module Manufacturing Facility and fabrication on Manchester (LCS 14) began in January. USS Coronado (LCS 4) was recently commissioned at a ceremony in Coronado, Calif.
Austal has been contracted by the U.S. Navy to build ten 103-meter Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV) under a 10-ship, $1.6 billion contract, three of which have already been delivered, and ten Independence-variant LCS, eight of which are a part of a 10-ship, $3.5 billion contract.
For the LCS and JHSV programs, Austal, as prime contractor, is teamed with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. For the LCS program, General Dynamics is the ship systems integrator, responsible for the design, integration and testing of the navigation systems, C4I, and aviation systems.
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 waterfront facility on the Mobile River.
About Austal and General Dynamics Mission Systems
Austal, as prime contractor, is teamed with General Dynamics Mission Systems (GDMS) for the Independence-variant LCS program. General Dynamics is the ship systems integrator, responsible for the design, integration and testing of the navigation, C4I, and aviation systems. Learn more here
Austal is a global defense prime contractor and a designer and manufacturer of defense and commercial ships. For more than 25 years Austal has been a leader in the design, construction and maintenance of revolutionary ships for Governments, Navies and Ferry operators around the world. More than 250 vessels have been delivered in that time.