Navy to Name Next Independence Variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Gabrielle Giffords
The next Independence variant littoral combat ship (LCS) will be named the USS Gabrielle Giffords, said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus last week. The selection of Gabrielle Giffords, designated LCS 10, honors the former Congresswoman from Tucson, Ariz., and who is known for supporting the military and veterans.
Mabus also announced the ship’s sponsor will be Roxanna Green. Green is the mother of Christina-Taylor Green, the nine-year-old girl who was killed while attending the meeting of constituents where Giffords was shot. A ship’s sponsor plays an important role in the life of the ship, naval tradition holds that her spirit and presence guide the ship throughout its service life.
“I am pleased to honor Gabrielle Giffords and the people of Arizona with the naming of this ship,” said Mabus. “Giffords and the ship’s sponsor, Roxanna Green, are sources of great inspiration and represent the Navy and Marine Corps qualities of overcoming, adapting and coming out victoriously despite great challenges.”
The ship is part of a dual-block buy of LCS class ships announced by Mabus in December 2010. By procuring both versions of the LCS — Lockheed Martin’s semiplaning monohull and General Dynamic’s aluminum trimaran — the Navy is stabilizing the LCS program and the industrial base with an award of 20 ships each; increasing ship procurement rates to support operational requirements; sustaining competition through the program; and enhancing foreign military sales opportunities. Both designs meet the Navy’s LCS requirement, while the diversity provided by two designs provides operational flexibility.
Littoral combat ships perform a vital role in the Navy’s ability to execute DoD’s defense strategy. The USS Gabrielle Giffords will be designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in the coastal waters. A fast, agile surface combatant, the LCS provides the required warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility to execute focused missions close to the shore, such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and surface warfare. The LCS class of ships will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission packages, which can be changed out quickly as combat needs demand. These mission packages are supported by special detachments that will deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine, undersea and surface warfare missions.
The USS Gabrielle Giffords will be 419 feet in length, have a waterline beam of 103 feet, displace approximately 3,000 tons, and make speed in excess of 40 knots. The construction will be led by Austal Shipbuilding in Mobile, Ala.
This is the 17th ship to be named for a woman, and the 13th ship to be named for a living person since 1850. This is the first ship to bear Giffords’ name.
Naval Today Staff , February 13, 2012; Image: Austal