Keel Laid for Future USS Cleveland

A welder authenticates the keel of Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 31, the future USS Cleveland, by welding the initials of the ship’s sponsor, Robyn Modly, wife of a Clevelander and former U.S. Navy secretary, who has embraced the city as her own. (LOCKHEED MARTIN)

(Original article appears courtesy of Seapower Magazine)

Lockheed Martin celebrated the keel-laying of the future littoral combat ship (LCS) USS Cleveland in June 17 ceremonies at the Fincantieri Marinete Marine shipyard in Wisconsin. 

A welder authenticated the keel of LCS 31, the future USS Cleveland, by welding the initials of the ship’s sponsor, Robyn Modly, wife of Thomas B. Modly, a Clevelander and former U.S. Navy secretary. 

“I am humbled and honored to be the sponsor of a ship that bears the name of the great city of Cleveland, with its rich and storied history of support to our armed services,” Modly said. “I look forward to a lifelong relationship with the ship and her crew as they proudly serve the Navy and our nation.” 

The laying of the keel celebrates an important milestone in the life of the future USS Cleveland (LCS 31) and marks a significant event for the construction of the nation’s 31st LCS. The USS Cleveland will be the fourth commissioned ship in naval service, since World War I, named after Cleveland, the second-largest city in Ohio and home to countless Navy and Marine Corps veterans. With the city’s deep ties to maritime service since the turn of the 20th century, LCS 31 will honor Cleveland’s longstanding naval history. 

“We are proud to build another proven warship that allows our Navy to carry out missions around the world,” said Steve AllenLockheed Martin Vice President of Small Combatants and Ship Systems. “All of us at Lockheed Martin, including our hardworking team in Marinette, Wisconsin, look forward to working with the U.S. Navy to continue delivering highly capable and adaptable Freedom-variant littoral combat ships to the fleet.”  

“Our team at Fincantieri Marinette Marine is proud to celebrate the keel laying of the LCS 31 with the gracious citizens of Cleveland,” said Jan Allman, CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine. “This milestone is a testament to the power of cooperation and forward thinking by the entire Freedom team and our customer, the United States Navy. It also bears witness to all the dedicated craftsmen and women working in our FMG system of shipyards.” 

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Navy Christens USS Canberra (LCS 30)

The christening of the USS Canberra, LCS 30, at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, Saturday, June 5. (AUSTAL USA)

(Original article appears courtesy of Seapower Magazine)

Austal USA hosted the christening ceremony for the future USS Canberra (LCS 30) Independence-variant littoral combat ship on June 5, the company said in a release. Canberra is the 15th LCS designed and constructed by Austal USA and the second U.S. Navy ship to be named after the Australian capital. 

“Today, just 16 years after Austal USA joined the U.S. defense industrial base, the company is hosting its 15th littoral combat ship christening – LCS 30, a ship proudly named after the capital of Australia and yet another symbol of the great ties between our two countries,” stated Austal USA Interim President Rusty Murdaugh in his address to the audience at the ceremony. 

The ship’s sponsor, Australian Senator and Foreign Minister Marise Payne, attended the ship’s keel laying ceremony in Mobile early last year, but was unable to attend today’s christening ceremony. 

Alison Petchell, the Australian Government’s Minister Counsellor Defense Materiel, christened the future USS Canberra (LCS 30). 

Canberra (LCS 30) is the 15th of 19 small surface combatants Austal USA is building for the U.S. Navy. Five are under various stages of construction and a sixth is on contract waiting to start construction. Austal USA is also constructing two Expeditionary Fast Transport ships (EPF) for the U.S. Navy with one more on contract awaiting start of construction. 

The company recently broke ground on its new steel manufacturing line to expand its shipbuilding capability to service the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard’s rising demand for steel ships. 

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Navy Commissions Littoral Combat Ship USS Mobile

MOBILE, Ala. (May 22, 2021) – The crew of USS Mobile (LCS 26), man the ship during the commissioning ceremony of Mobile. Mobile is the Navy’s 13th Independence-variant littoral combat ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Millar/Released)

(Original article appears courtesy of

The Navy commissioned its newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Mobile (LCS 26) during a ceremony in Mobile, Alabama, May 22.

Due to COVID-19 limitations, 400 guests attended the socially distanced ceremony for the littoral combat ship named in honor of the city in which it was built.

The Honorable Tommy Tuberville, U.S. Senator of Alabama, delivered the ceremony’s principal address.

“The United States has been the greatest source of good in the history of the world and we will continue to be a force for good because of the brave men and women that we have here today,” said Tuberville.

Guest speakers for the event also included the Honorable Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama, the Honorable Sandy Stimpson, Mayor of Mobile and the Honorable James Geurts performing the duties of the Undersecretary of the Navy.

“The ships that this city has built are literally sailing on every ocean right now,” said Geurts, referencing ship manufacturer Austal USA, based in Mobile, Alabama.

Mrs. Rebecca Byrne, president and chief executive officer of The Community Foundation of South Alabama and wife of former U.S. Representative of Alabama Bradley Byrne, provided remarks as the ship’s sponsor.

“We have the distinction of the USS Mobile being built and commissioned in its namesake city here in the historic port of Mobile,” said Byrne. “We welcome the ship to the United States fleet that bears our great name and comes on great Navy tradition.”

During the ceremony, Mobile’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Christopher W. Wolff, reported the ship ready and Byrne gave the traditional order to “Man our ship and bring her to life!”

“The commissioning of the fleet’s newest warship is an awesome occasion and with it comes the equally awesome responsibility to prepare ourselves to go forward and conduct our nation’s business,” said Wolff.

The ceremony completed a weeklong series of events celebrating the ship and its namesake city. USS Mobile is the fifth ship named in honor of the port city on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Mobile will homeport in San Diego with sister ships USS Independence (LCS 2), USS Coronado (LCS 4), USS Jackson (LCS 6), USS Montgomery (LCS 8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), USS Omaha (LCS 12), USS Manchester (LCS 14), USS Tulsa (LCS 16), USS Charleston (LCS 18), USS Cincinnati (LCS 20), USS Kansas City (LCS 22), and USS Oakland (LCS 24).

The LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments while capable of open-ocean tasking. The LCS can support forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence.

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Navy Commissions USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5)

SAN DIEGO (May 8, 2021) The crew of the Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary mobile base USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5) salute guests during the ship’s commissioning ceremony. Miguel Keith is the Navy’s third purpose-built expeditionary sea base (ESB). While originally created to operate as a support ship under Military Sealift Command, Miguel Keith has been commissioned to provide greater mission flexibility in accordance with the laws of armed conflict. It is the first U.S. warship named for Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin C. Leitner)

(Original article appears courtesy of

The Navy commissioned its newest Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5) Saturday, May 8, at Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado, California.

Due to COVID-19 limitations, 50 guests were able to attend the ceremony for the ship named in honor of Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith, who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam exactly 51 years to the day his namesake ship joined the fleet.

“This ship is named after an inspiring leader – a Marine,” said Adm. Craig S. Faller, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, who delivered the ceremony’s principal remarks. “Lt. Gen. Heckl ran through Miguel’s career and more detailed action of that day. But can any of us truly imagine? Close your eyes for a minute and try to think. The sound of gunfire like the worst violent storm any of us have ever been through. The searing heat, suffocating humidity, the chaos, and confusion of battle. The smell of death and destruction. When many would have stepped back, Miguel stepped up. He led the charge courageously focused on his team above all else, and he made a difference. A difference that is continued today.”

Guest speakers for the event also included The Honorable James Geurts, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of the Navy, and Lt. Gen. Karsten S. Heckl, Commanding General, First Marine Expeditionary Force.

“What a great day for our Navy, our Marine Corps, and our nation,” said Geurts. “It’s an exciting time for our Navy and Marine Corps right now as we are retooling as a Naval force. This ship joins that force, as we look to the future. We are going to ask a lot of this ship. We are going to ask a lot of this crew. I am confident that they are up for the charge.”

“It is only fitting that the motto of this beautiful ship is “Semper In Pugna,” which translates to “Always in the Fight”,” said Heckl. “Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith died a true American Hero. His warrior spirit will carry current and future generations of service members aboard this ship as they deploy around the world in service to our great nation.

During the ceremony, USS Miguel Keith’s commanding officer, Capt. Troy A. Fendrick, reported the ship ready, and Mrs. Eliadora Delores Keith, the ship’s sponsor and Miguel Keith’s mother, gave the traditional order to “Man our ship and bring her to life!” via a tearful pre-recorded message.

“This is by far the greatest honor for myself and my entire family,” said Jesse Mendez, Lance Cpl. Keith’s brother. “I want to thank everyone so much on behalf of my family for dedicating this ship in my brother’s name, recognizing him as a war hero and who saved lives for the United States of America.

The Secretary of the Navy approved the commissioning of all ESBs following a determination that the ships could not do their full mission set as USNS-designated ships. Therefore, the commissioning of these ships allows for greater mission flexibility and is consistent with international law.

“Preparing a warship to enter the surface fleet is a privilege and the Miguel Keith crew has done an exceptional job during this challenging time,” said Fendrick. “I am proud of our Sailors’ and Civil Service Mariners steadfast dedication to ship and each other. I am honored to serve as their commanding officer as we bring the ship to life.”

The ceremony concluded, with a musical tribute to Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith’s military service, as the Marine Corps Hymn played and the crew’s battle cry of “For Miguel,” echoed across the pier.

USS Miguel Keith is the third Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) variant of the Expeditionary Transfer Dock platform (ESD). Expeditionary Mobile Base was previously known as Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) in the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) program. ESBs are highly flexible platforms that provide logistics movement from sea to shore supporting a broad range of military operations. The ESB variant is designed around four core capabilities: aviation, berthing, equipment staging area, and command and control.

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Navy Christens USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123)

Former Ingalls Shipbuiding President Brian Cuccias and DDG 123 Prospective Commanding Officer Douglas Brayton watch as ship sponsors Virginia Munford, Pickett Wilson and Louisa Dixon officially christen guided missile destroyer Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123). (Photo by Derek Fountain/HII)

(Original article courtesy of Huntington Ingalls)

Huntington Ingalls Industries announced today that its Ingalls Shipbuilding division christened guided missile destroyer Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123) Saturday evening. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a small, socially distanced event was held with limited in-person attendance.

“The christening of Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee is a significant milestone that brings our 34th destroyer one step closer to being introduced into the fleet,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson said. “In these ever-changing times, the significance of what we do has never been more important. We are exceedingly proud of our shipbuilders for their tenacity and perseverance, and look forward to continuing Ingalls’ legacy of building quality ships with respect and pride.”

Recently retired Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias returned to host the christening, which was originally scheduled to occur in 2020 but was postponed due to restrictions surrounding the pandemic.

“I am honored to host this christening and give a final salute to the hardworking men and women who build freedom in this shipyard every day,” Cuccias said. “Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee’s distinguished legacy will remain steadfast with the christening of this great ship, as will the unparalleled craftsmanship of the men and women of Ingalls Shipbuilding.”

DDG 123 is named to honor Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee, the first woman to receive the Navy Cross. Higbee joined the Navy in October 1908 as part of the newly established Navy Nurse Corps, a group of women who would become known as “The Sacred Twenty,” and became the second superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps in January 1911.

Ray Mabus, the 75th Secretary of the Navy, was the keynote speaker.

“This christening is a signal event in the life of a warship deeply engrained in naval tradition when a ship officially bears the name it will carry during its time in the fleet,” Mabus said. “The story and the legacy of Lenah Higbee, and what she represents, will live on for decades around the world through this ship’s voyages and through the lives of the crew who sail aboard her.”

DDG 123 sponsors are Louisa Dixon, Virginia Munford and Pickett Wilson, three women who played an important role during Mabus’ term as governor of Mississippi. Munford spoke on behalf of the three sponsors.

“As we help dedicate this ship for service, let us all join together in the fervent hope and prayer that Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee’s primary mission will be to preserve the peace for future generations,” Munford said.

Rear Adm. Cynthia Kuehner, commander of the Naval Medical Forces Support Command, spoke on behalf of the chief of naval operations.

“I know that USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee will protect and defend our nation with the same zeal, courage and valiant resolve of the Navy nurse for whom she is named,” Kuehner said. “Superintendent Higbee’s legacy is a heroic account of a fearless pioneer, a leader among men and women, an advocate and an agent for necessary change, a visionary, a teacher, a scholar, a scientist, an author, an innovator, a strategist. A Navy nurse.”

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USS Oakland Commissioning

Oakland, Calif. (April 17, 2021) Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff provides opening remarks at the USS Oakland (LCS 24) commissioning ceremony. The LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, while capable of open ocean tasking. The LCS can support forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence. Oakland will be homeported San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist John Pearl)

(Original article courtesy of

Navy leaders, Oakland city officials and a socially distanced audience attended the ceremony for the third ship in naval service to be named in honor of the city of Oakland. The first USS Oakland was a transport cargo ship commissioned in 1918. The second Oakland was a light cruiser that served in World War II, earning nine battle stars.

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker delivered the ceremony’s principal address.

“We now have a finished warship behind us that is ready to be placed into commission,” said Harker. “This ship is a marvel of engineering, which will extend our capabilities for any mission across the blue water, from shoreline to shoreline.”

Guest speakers for the event also included U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck, Program Executive Office Rear Adm. Casey Moton, Austal USA Vice President Larry Ryder and Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf.

Kate Brandt, Google’s sustainability officer and the ship’s sponsor, delivered the time-honored Navy order to Oakland’s crew to “Man our ship and bring her to life!”

Oakland’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Francisco X. Garza, reported the ship ready.

“I am incredibly proud of this crew for their dedication to shipmate and ship as we worked toward the commissioning of USS Oakland, said Garza. “We are honored to carry the name ‘Oakland’ into the fleet.”

Oakland will be homeported in San Diego with littoral combat ships USS Independence (LCS 2), USS Coronado (LCS 4), USS Jackson (LCS 6), USS Montgomery (LCS 8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), USS Omaha (LCS 12), USS Manchester (LCS 14), USS Tulsa (LCS 16), USS Charleston (LCS 18), USS Cincinnati (LCS 20), and USS Kansas City (LCS 22).

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Keel Laid for Future USS Harvey C. Barnum, Jr.

the future the future USS Harvey C. Barnum, Jr. (DDG 124) namesake, Col. Harvey “Barney” Barnum, Jr. (USMC, Ret.) (center) and his wife and ship sponsor, Martha Hill (left) monitor as Bath Iron Works welder Marty Fish (right) inscribes Col. Barnum’s signature onto the keel plate at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard, April 6.

(Original article appears courtesy of

The ship’s namesake, Col. Harvey “Barney” Barnum, Jr. (USMC, Ret.) and his wife and ship sponsor, Martha Hill, attended the event. Acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas W. Harker, Maine Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, Jr. and Member of the House of Representatives from Maine, Chellie Pingree were also in attendance.  

With the assistance of BIW welder Marty Fish, Col. Barnum inscribed his signature onto the keel plate.  As the sponsor, Martha Hill authenticated the keel by etching her initials into the keel plate, a tradition that symbolically recognizes the joining of modular components and the ceremonial beginning of the ship. “Col. Barnum has spent his life in service to our country and it is an honor to lay the keel of his ship,” said Capt. Seth Miller, DDG 51 class program manager. “This ship and all who serve aboard it will be a reminder of the honor, courage, and commitment that Col. Barnum embodies.”

Col. Barnum twice served in Vietnam and is a Medal of Honor recipient for heroic actions taken against communist forces at Ky Phu in Quang Tin Province in December 1965 after his company came under enemy fire and was separated from the rest of their battalion.

DDG 124 is a Flight IIA destroyer equipped with Aegis Baseline 9, which provides improved Integrated Air and Missile Defense capabilities, increased computing power, and radar upgrades that improve detection range and reaction time against modern air warfare and Ballistic Missile Defense threats.

BIW is also in production on the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Carl M. Levin (DDG 120), John Basilone (DDG 122), Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127), and Flight III ships, Louis H. Wilson, Jr. (DDG 126), and William Charette (DDG 130), as well as the future Zumwalt-class destroyer, Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002).

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, boats and craft.

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Keel Laid for Future USNS Apalachicola (T-EPF 13)

(Photo Credit: Austal)

(Original article appears courtesy of Naval Today)

The future USNS Apalachicola is the second ship named in honor of the city of Apalachicola, Fla: the first, a large harbor tug (YTB-767), served from 1965 to 2002.

The newbuild is part of the US Navy’s T-EPF program encompassing 14 high-speed transport vessels from Austal.

The USNS Apalachicola (T-EPF-13) will be the thirteenth Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship built for the U.S. Navy and will be operated by the MSC (Military Sealift Command). The MSC is an organization that controls the replenishment and military transport ships of the United States Navy. Military Sealift Command has the responsibility for providing sealift and ocean transportation for all US military services as well as for other government agencies.

The Austal-built EPF is a shallow draft, all aluminum, commercial-based catamaran that is designed for high-speed intra-theater surface lift and serves in a variety of roles for the military branches to include support of overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions and supporting special operations forces.

The 103 meter T-EPF is capable of transporting 600 short tons up to 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots.

The ships can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interface with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-load a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2). They have a core crew of 21 people, with airline style seating for more than 312 embarked forces and fixed berthing for 146.

The EPF includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that allows vehicles to quickly drive off the ship.

The US Navy awarded contracts to Austal for the EPF 13 in 2018 and 2019.

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Keel Laying Ceremony for future USS Massachusetts (SSN 798)

The initials of Virginia-class submarine Massachusetts (SSN 798) Sheryl Sandberg were displayed at the ship’s keel authentication ceremony. Sandberg (center left) delivered pre-recorded remarks during the event, which marks the ceremonial start of construction. (Picture source Huntington Ingalls)

(Original article appears courtesy of Navy Recognition)

The Virginia-class attack submarine Massachusetts SSN 798 is the 25th Virginia-class fast attack submarine being built under the teaming agreement with General Dynamics Electric Boat. Construction began in March 2017 and is approximately 50% complete. The boat is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in 2023. Massachusetts was part of a $17.6 billion contract awarded by the U.S. Navy to prime contractor General Dynamics Electric Boat to construct ten Virginia-class submarines.

The Virginia-class is a nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack submarine. Currently, 19 Virginia-class submarines are in service with the U.S. Navy and another batch of 18 submarines are already ordered by the U.S. Navy. 

The U.S. Navy has been procuring Virginia-class SSNs since Fiscal Year 1998 and the first submarine entered service in October 2004. The baseline Virginia-class design is slightly larger than the Los Angeles-class design but incorporates newer technologies, including technologies used in the Seawolf-class design

The U.S. Navy has three classes of SSNs (Submersible Ship Nuclear) in service. Los Angeles-class (SSN 688) submarines are the backbone of the submarine force, with approximately 40 now in commission.  The U.S. Navy also has three Seawolf-class submarines. Commissioned July 19, 1997, USS Seawolf (SSN 21) is exceptionally quiet, fast, well-armed, and equipped with advanced sensors. 

The U.S. Navy continues to build the next-generation attack submarine, the Virginia (SSN 774) class. More than a dozen Virginias have been commissioned to date, and they will replace Los Angeles Class submarines as they retire. The Virginia-class is available in five Blocks from I to V. 

The Virginia-class Block I to IV is armed with 12 VLS Vertical Launching System (Tomahawk BGM-109) tubes, four 533 mm torpedo tubes (Mk-48 torpedo), RGM-84 Harpoon, 25 torpedoes & missiles (torpedo room) + 12 missiles (VLS tubes), while the Block V will be armed with VPM module (28 Tomahawk BGM-109), VLS (Tomahawk BGM-109) tubes, four 533 mm torpedo tubes (Mk-48 torpedo), RGM-84 Harpoon and 65 torpedoes & missiles.

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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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