By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
Mobile shipbuilder Austal USA announced Monday that its third Littoral Combat Ship this year has completed its acceptance trials for the U.S. Navy.
LCS 26, the future USS Mobile, completed the series of comprehensive tests to demonstrate mission capability to the Navy late last month in the Gulf of Mexico. This is the last major step before delivering the ship to the Navy, the company said in a press release.
“I am proud of how the Austal team has come together again, in the middle of this pandemic, only a week after a Cat 2 hurricane made landfall in our backyard, completing another major milestone for one of our Navy ships — especially one so near and dear to us, named after our great city of Mobile, Alabama.” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said.
The LCS is a high-speed, shallow draft vessel designed to combat littoral, or near-shore threats, including piracy that can compromise cargo shipping operations around the world. The ships are also designed to be capable of operation in the open ocean.
According to the company, the LCS program is at full-rate production Austal’s Mobile shipyard, with five ships currently in development. The future USS Savannah (LCS 28) has launched and is preparing for trials, while final assembly is underway on the future USS Canberra (LCS 30) and USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32). Modules for the future USS Augusta (LCS 34) are under construction in the module manufacturing facility.
In addition to the LCS program, Austal’s Mobile facility also builds Expeditionary Fast Transport ships, a 338-foot high-speed catamaran that can carry personnel or equipment to forward areas quickly. Austal delivered its 22nd EFT, the USS Newport, to the Navy last month.
Earlier this year, Austal missed out on a major contract to build the next generation of frigates, which the Navy awarded to Wisconsin-based Fincantiery Marinette Marine after a high stakes competition between five companies. Congressman Bradley Byrne said at the time that he disagreed with the Navy’s decision and would be “thoroughly examining” the contract.