Navy Lays Keel of Future USS Santa Barbara

MOBILE, Ala. (Oct. 28, 2020) Lolita Zinke, left, the sponsor of the future littoral combat ship USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32), welds her initials into the ship’s keel plate during a keel-laying ceremony at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, Oct. 27, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Austal USA)

(Original story courtesy of NAVSEA)

The U.S. Navy held a keel-laying ceremony on Oct. 27 for the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32) at the Austal USA shipyard.

Lolita Zinke, the ship’s sponsor, authenticated the keel in a small ceremony, with limited attendance due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Santa Barbara’s sponsor, Zinke serves as an advocate and honorary member of the crew. 

David Growden, vice president of Small Surface Combatant Programs, Austal USA; and Cmdr. Kris Netemeyer, LCS program manager’s representative, Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast Detachment, spoke at the ceremony.

“Through this new warship and the name she bears, we honor a city that represents the very best of the American spirit,” said Capt. Mike Taylor, LCS program manager. “We set forth the Santa Barbara armed with the most adaptive and effective capabilities, designed to defend the United States.”

The littoral combat ship (LCS) class consists of the Freedom-variant and Independence-variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Independence team is led by Austal USA, which produces the even-numbered hulls. LCS 32 is the 16th Independence-variant ship. There are 11 LCSs of both variants currently under construction.

LCS is a highly maneuverable, lethal and adaptable ship designed to support focused mine countermeasures, anti-submarine and surface warfare missions. The Independence-variant LCS integrates new technology and capability to support current and future mission capability, from deep water to the littorals.

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