The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Navy:
(MOBILE, Ala.) — A ceremony was hosted Tuesday to celebrate the keel authentication of future USS Charleston (LCS 18), the ninth Independence-variant littoral combat ship.
Charlotte Riley, wife of former Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley, serves as the ship's sponsor and honorary member and advocate for the crew. U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., served as the honorary keel authenticator during the ceremony and was present to weld his initials into the keel plate.
"The future USS Charleston stands as a testament to the strong and resilient spirit of her namesake city," said Capt. Tom Anderson, LCS program manager. "Once complete, this highly versatile warship will sail the world's seas, carrying with her the backing of a city steeped in naval history."
Built by an industry team led by Austal USA, Charleston will be approximately 421 feet in length and have a width of nearly 104 feet.
LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, with three types of mission packages including surface warfare, mine countermeasures, and anti-submarine warfare. 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 LCS 1 and follow-on odd-numbered hulls. The Independence-variant team is led by Austal USA — for LCS 6 and follow-on even-numbered hulls.
The Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships is responsible for delivering and sustaining littoral mission capabilities to the fleet.