On February 18, 2015, Austal and the Navy held a keel-laying ceremony for the future USS Omaha (LCS 12), the fourth Independence-variant LCS class ship built at Austal under the 10-ship, $3.5 billion block buy contract awarded to Austal as prime contractor by the Navy in 2010. The ships sponsor, Ms. Susan Buffet Omaha, Neb. native, American philanthropist and daughter of Warren Buffet – was unable to attend the ceremony so Captain Tom Anderson, Littoral Combat Ship Program Manager, stepped in to authenticate the keel.
A traditional keel-laying ceremony marks the first significant milestone in the construction of the ship. Due to Austal's modular approach to ship manufacturing, all 37 modules used to form this 127-meter (419-foot) aluminum trimaran are already being fabricated. For Austal, keel-laying marks the beginning of final assembly. Thirty-two modules have been moved from Austal's Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF) and erected in the final assembly bay in their pre-launch position. The remaining five modules will follow over the coming months.Craig Perciavalle, Austal USA President, made the following remarks regarding the keel laying event: Its amazing to see how fast these ships are coming together. Our performance continues to improve ship after ship as we leverage the stability of this block buy program.
Perciavalle also recognized the remarkable Austal employees who have played an integral role in the success of the LCS program. Over 85 percent of Omaha's modules are already erected, a testament to the hard work and dedication of the most talented shipbuilding professionals in the country. He went on to say, Omaha will be a formidable war ship with the speed, volume and flexibility to not only meet the needs of the Navy today, but adapt to ever-changing needs of the future. We take pride in knowing just how important Omaha will be in projecting America's power across the globe.
Captain Anderson was assisted at the ceremony by Leo Boles. Mr. Boles is an A Class welder and has been part of the Austal team for almost 10 years.
The LCS program is in full swing at Austal USA with two ships delivered and six ships currently under construction. Jackson (LCS 6) and Montgomery (LCS 8) are both preparing for trials. Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) is being assembled in preparation for launch this week. Modules for Manchester (LCS 14) and Tulsa (LCS 16) are under construction in the Module Manufacturing Facility.
Austal was also contracted by the U.S. Navy to build ten 103-meter (338-foot) Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV) under a 10-ship, $1.6 billion block-buy contract, four of which have already been delivered.
For the LCS and JHSV programs, Austal, as prime contractor, is teamed with General Dynamics Mission 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 warehouse/office location in the San Diego, Calif. area.
Terry O'Brien, VP Business Development and External Affairs or
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