MOBILE, Ala. --- The U.S. Navy held a keel laying and authentication ceremony for the future USS Mobile (LCS 26) at Austal USA's shipyard on Dec. 14.
The ship's sponsor, Rebecca Byrne, wife of Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., authenticated the keel for the 13th Independence variant of the littoral combat ship (LCS) during the ceremony. While keel laying traditionally represents the formal start of a ship's construction, fabrication of the ship begins months in advance. Today, keel laying continues to symbolically recognize the joining of the ship's components and the ceremonial beginning of the ship.
The LCS seaframe program manager's representative, Cmdr. Chris Addington, commended the Austal USA shipbuilders at the event.
“With the learning and improvements that the Austal team has forged into this hull, this 13th ship of the Independence variant will certainly be the best yet,” he said. “Thanks to all of you for the effort that will be put into completing this great ship that will exemplify its namesake city.”
LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, while capable of open-ocean tasking and winning against 21st-century coastal threats such as submarines, mines and swarming small craft. They are capable of supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence.
There are currently four other Independence variant LCSs undergoing construction at Austal USA, with three additional ships in pre-production planning.