US Navy’s eighth littoral combat ship completes acceptance trials

US Navy's eighth Independence-variant LCS completes acceptance trials , USS Montgomery
USS Montgomery at sea. Photo: Austal

Australian-based shipbuilder Austal has announced that littoral combat ship 8 (LCS 8), the future USS Montgomery, successfully completed U.S. Navy acceptance trials.

The trials, the last significant milestone before delivery involved comprehensive testing of the vessel’s major systems and equipment by the U.S. Navy.

According to Austal, delivery of the ship to the Navy is planned for later this spring.

During the four-day trial, the Navy conducted comprehensive tests intended to demonstrate the performance of the propulsion plant, ship handling, and auxiliary systems.

While underway, the ship performed launch and recovery operations of the 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB), a four-hour full power run, surface and air self-defense detect-to-engage exercises, and demonstrated the ship’s maneuverability performing tight turns and accomplishing speeds in excess of 40 knots.

“Ship after ship, we continue to see improved performance at lower cost,” said LCS program manager for the US Navy, Capt. Tom Anderson. “Montgomery’s strong performance during acceptance trials is a testament to the Navy/Industry team that has labored to incorporate lessons learned and deliver this exceptional and affordable ship.”

After LCS 8, Austal will deliver a further nine Independence-variant littoral combat ships from its shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, under a U.S. Navy contract for 11 ships worth over US$3.5 billion. Of those, Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) and Omaha (LCS 12) are preparing for trials, Manchester (LCS 14) was recently christened, final assembly is well underway on Tulsa (LCS 16), and modules for Charleston (LCS 18) and Cincinnati (LCS 20) are under construction in Austal’s module manufacturing facility.

Lockheed Martin, the other shipbuilder in the littoral combat ship program, is responsible for the construction of Freedom-variant LCS.