An audience of over a thousand dignitaries, community leaders, and Austal USA employees celebrated the christening of the future USS Mobile (LCS 26) today at Austal’s advanced ship manufacturing facility. This is the third U.S. Navy ship christened here in 2019 and the fifth ship named after Mobile, Alabama. Mobile is the 13th of 19 small surface combatants Austal USA has under contract with the U.S. Navy.
“It is such an honor for a future Littoral Combat Ship to be named after the City of Mobile,” today’s principal speaker, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, (AL-1) said. “Our area takes such pride in building these fine ships, just the latest vessel in Mobile’s long history of shipbuilding. I know the spirit and patriotism of Mobile will be encapsulated in this ship.”
“This is the 20th ship we have christened over the last five years,” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle. “We are blessed to have christened so many ships through the years but this one is special. It is a distinct privilege to build a ship named after your namesake city and this has truly been a community effort. The support we have received from Senator Shelby, Senator Jones, Congressman Byrne, the county, and city has been incredible and has played a major role in our success to date.”
“Manufacturing complex small surface combatants efficiently at this pace takes an incredible team, and we have one of the best teams in the business here at Austal USA,” explained Perciavalle. “With Incredible speed, volume, flexibility and firepower, Mobile will be the coolest, most formidable small surface combatant on the planet, one that meets the needs of the Navy of today, while having the adaptability to meet the needs of the Navy of tomorrow, a ship that will represent the best that America has to offer across the globe for decades.”
The ship’s sponsor, Rebecca Byrne, has devoted her career to serving others. She is president and chief executive officer of The Community Foundation of South Alabama and was previously executive director of United Way of Baldwin County. Byrne has served in leadership roles for numerous civic, cultural and church organizations, including Chair of the Mobile Public Library, Beckwith Camp and Conference Center, and Baldwin County Trailblazers. An Auburn University alum and graduate of Leadership Alabama and Leadership Mobile, she is a member of the Mobile Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow.
“We are honored to host Mrs. Byrne as the ship’s sponsor,” continued Perciavalle. “Her dedication to improving the quality of life for so many deserving members of our community make her a clear choice as the sponsor of the future USS Mobile.”
The Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS) is the most recent step in the small surface combatant evolution. A high-speed, agile, shallow draft, focused-mission surface combatant, the LCS is designed to conduct surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and mine countermeasures missions in the littoral near-shore region, while also possessing the capability for deep-water operations. With its open-architecture design, the LCS can support modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to capture and sustain littoral maritime supremacy.
In addition to being in full-rate production for the LCS program, Austal USA is also the Navy’s prime contractor for the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) program. Austal has delivered 10 EPF, with a total of 14 under contract. Austal USA is also leading the evolution of connector and auxiliary ships as Austal EPF designs for dedicated medical, maintenance, logistics, and command and control ships continue to impress fleet commanders.