Austal USA launches future USS Omaha

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Navy:

(MOBILE, Ala.) — The future USS Omaha (LCS 12) launched Nov. 20, marking another important production milestone for the littoral combat ship (LCS) program.

"That this precisely choreographed launch event has become commonplace in Mobile is a sign of the maturity and stability of the LCS serial production line," said Capt. Tom Anderson, LCS program manager. "I look forward to the future USS Omaha completing the test and trial process en route to delivery to the fleet."

Omaha was rolled out of its assembly bay at the Austal USA shipyard onto a barge for transfer down the Mobile River to a floating dry dock at BAE Shipyard on Nov. 19. The ship entered the water on Nov. 20 when the dry dock was flooded and the ship floated off the blocks. The ship will return to Austal's final assembly pier to continue outfitting, system activation and testing. It is scheduled to be christened on Dec. 19.

Omaha is the fourth ship in a block-buy contract with Austal to build Independence-variant ships. Montgomery (LCS 8) is preparing for builder's trials and Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) was christened in June and is currently completing system testing in preparation for trials. Manchester (LCS 14) is under construction preparing for an early 2016 launch. Tulsa (LCS 16) will have its keel laid later this year.

The LCS class consists of the Freedom variant and Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom-variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g. LCS 1). The Independence-variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and follow-on even-numbered hulls) and was led by General Dynamics, Bath Iron Works for LCS 2 and LCS 4. Purchased under the innovative block-buy acquisition strategy, there are 12 ships currently under construction.

LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, with three types of mission packages including surface warfare, mine countermeasures, and anti-submarine warfare. The Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships (PEO LCS) is responsible for delivering and sustaining littoral mission capabilities to the fleet. Delivering high-quality warfighting assets while balancing affordability and capability is key to supporting the nation's maritime strategy.

By Professional Mariner Staff