LCS Manchester Completes Acceptance Trials
MOBILE, Ala. — Manchester (LCS 14), the seventh Independence-variant littoral combat ship built by Austal, successfully completed acceptance trials Dec. 15 in the Gulf of Mexico, the company announced in a Jan. 2 release.
This milestone involved the execution of intense comprehensive tests by the Austal-led industry team while underway, which demonstrated to the Navy the successful operation of the ship’s major systems and equipment. Acceptance trials are the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship early this year. LCS 14 will be the second Independence-variant LCS delivered to the Navy by Austal in less than six months.
“This is the fourth Austal-built Navy ship to reach this milestone this year, an amazing feat but not surprising considering the incredibly talented shipbuilders we employ here,” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle. “With LCS 14 now making final preparations for delivery and LCS 16 right behind her, we’re excited to see these ships join the fleet at such a steady pace, momentum that positions us well for the future.”
Austal has delivered six Independence-variant LCS, one of which, USS Coronado (LCS 4), recently returned to San Diego Navy Base after completing a successful 14-month deployment with the Pacific Fleet. While deployed for the first time, Coronado accomplished several LCS “firsts” — first launch/firing of Harpoon anti-ship missiles, first deployment of hybrid aviation detachment of MH-60 helicopter and Fire Scout unmanned aerial system (UAS), first use of MQ-8B FireScout UAS to provide target information for LCS-launched Harpoon missile, and first experimentation with Naval Research Lab-developed NOMAD electronic warfare system.
“It is very rewarding to see what USS Coronado has done on her maiden deployment, demonstrating the capabilities and flexibility of these great ships, and we are eager for Manchester to take her place in the fleet,” Perciavalle said.
The LCS program is at full-rate production and is continuing its momentum at Austal USA with seven ships currently under construction. Tulsa (LCS 16), Charleston (LCS 18) and Cincinnati (LCS 20) are preparing for trials. Final assembly is well under way on Kansas City (LCS 22) and Oakland (LCS 24) and the first aluminum was cut on the future USS Mobile (LCS 26) on Dec. 12. Austal also recently received new construction contracts for LCS 28 and LCS 30 — two of the three LCS awarded in fiscal 2017.