The following is the text of a news release from Austal USA:
(MOBILE, Ala.) — Austal USA hosted the christening of the nation’s 16th littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Tulsa, in Mobile on Saturday.
Tulsa (LCS 16) is the sixth LCS in Austal’s 11-ship contract worth over $3.5 billion. With its shallow draft of 14 feet, the Independence-variant LCS is an advanced high-speed and agile 419-foot aluminum trimaran combat ship that combines superior seakeeping, endurance and speed with the volume and payload capacity needed to support emerging missions.
“We are proud to provide an awesome combat ship to our nation’s incredible sailors. One that will honor the great city of Tulsa as she defends our nation around the globe,” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle. “We’re equally excited to share this celebration with an amazing patriot in Kathy Taylor who has served veterans and active duty military in so many ways, and now infuses her spirit as the sponsor into this incredible ship and her crew.”
The ship's sponsor, Kathy Taylor, was Tulsa’s 38th mayor and is currently chief of economic development for Tulsa’s Mayor, G.T. Bynum. Her administration hired the first veterans' liaison in the mayor’s office, helped establish the first veterans' court in the nation, formed the Tulsa Veterans Advisory Council and worked with local colleges to increase veteran enrollment and completion of college. In 2006, Taylor visited all branches of the United States armed forces as a member of the U.S. Department of Defense civilian task force traveling throughout the Middle East. She later partnered with Tulsa’s 211 Service Helpline to improve communication about services and benefits available to active duty military and veterans.
Traditionally, the christening of a ship is where the ship's sponsor blesses the ship by breaking the bottle of champagne on the bow of the ship and ceremonially gives the ship its name. The roll of sponsorship represents a lifelong relationship with the ship and its crew.
The future USS Tulsa will launch in mid-March and is scheduled for delivery in 2018. It has a maximum speed of more than 40 knots, a 28,000-square-foot mission bay, and a flight deck capable of simultaneously holding two H-60 helicopters.
Austal’s LCS program is maturing fast with five ships delivered and six ships under construction. Omaha (LCS 12) will conduct builder’s sea trials later next month. Manchester (LCS 14) is also preparing for trials. Final assembly is well underway on Charleston (LCS 18) and modules for Cincinnati (LCS 20) and Kansas City (LCS 22) are under construction in Austal’s module manufacturing facility.
The company has also been contracted by the U.S. Navy to build 12 expeditionary fast transport ships (EPFs). Of the 12 ships included in the $1.9 billion multi-ship contract, seven have been delivered.