Austal USA has delivered its ninth Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS) to the US Navy.
The future USS Charleston (LCS 18) is the third Austal designed and built LCS delivered to the navy this year and will be the fourteenth to enter the fleet.
The newbuilding completed its acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico a month ago.
“The Austal team is excited to deliver another of these incredible ships to the US Navy. We are incredibly proud to be delivering this program with efficiency and reliability,” David Singleton, Austal CEO, said.
“The advanced production process developed at Mobile is allowing us to roll out ships from the assembly bays one after the other in such quick succession, offering a huge competitive advantage for Austal to be able to support the US Navy’s fleet expansion to 355 ships,” Singleton further said.
Five LCS remain under construction at Austal’s Alabama shipyard. Cincinnati (LCS 20) is preparing for sea trials. In addition, assembly is underway on Kansas City (LCS 22) and Oakland (LCS 24) with modules under construction for Mobile (LCS 26) and Savannah (LCS 28).
The future USS Canberra (LCS 30) is in pre-production and will begin construction early 2019. Seven Independence-variant LCS are currently homeported in San Diego.
Austal is also under contract to build twelve expeditionary fast transport vessels (EPF) for the US Navy. The company has delivered nine EPFs while an additional three are in various stages of construction.