On February 25, 2015, Austal USA successfully launched the future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10). Gabrielle Giffords is the third of ten 127-meter Independence-variant LCS class ships Austal has been contracted to build for the U.S. Navy as prime contractor subsequent to a $3.5 billion block buy in 2010. The Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) are 127-meter (419-foot) aluminum trimarans, capable of being outfitted with reconfigurable payloads (mission packages) which can be changed to support mine countermeasure, anti-submarine and surface warfare missions.
Craig Perciavalle, Austal USA President, commented, It is amazing to see this process in action. Watching the smooth transition of the ship from the assembly bay to the barge, and then watching as it floats in the river for the first time. Mr. Perciavalle added, We are making great strides with the LCS program and are extremely proud to show the hard work and dedication our incredible team of shipbuilders have put into these capable warships for our great Navy.
The launch of Gabrielle Giffords was a multi-step process which involved lifting the 1,600-metric-ton ship almost three feet in the air, moving it approximately 400 feet onto a moored deck barge adjacent to the assembly bay using transporters provided by Berard Transportation – then transferring the LCS to a BAE's floating dry dock,Drydock Alabama. The floating dry dock was submerged with LCS 10 entering the water for the first time. The ship is now moored in the Mobile River in front of Austal USA's facility, where it will undergo final outfitting and activation before sea trials and delivery to the Navy.
The LCS program is in serial production at Austal USA with eight ships currently under construction or in the pre-construction phase. Jackson (LCS 6) is preparing for sea trials in March/April; Montgomery (LCS 8) was christened in November and is also preparing for sea trials later this summer; over 85 percent of Omahas (LCS 12) modules are erected in final assembly and construction is well underway in Austal's Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF) on Manchester (LCS 14) and Tulsa (LCS 16). Charleston (LCS 18) has just started with work in our router shop cutting the initial material for construction in the MMF. Long lead time material procurement has started for Cincinnati (LCS 20).
Austal, as prime contractor, is teamed with General Dynamics Mission Systems (GD-MS) for the Independence-variant LCS program. GD-MS is the ship systems integrator, responsible for the design, integration and testing of the navigation, C4I, and aviation systems.
The U.S. Navy has also contracted Austal to build ten, 103-meter Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) under a 10-ship, $1.6 billion contract. Four of the ten have already been delivered. Austal continues to make steady forward progress on the JHSV program as USNS Trenton (JHSV 5) prepares for delivery to the Navy in April. Brunswick (JHSV 6) is to be launched in the late Spring. Construction on Carson City (JHSV 7) is also well underway in Austal's Mobile, Ala. shipyard.
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.
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