SEPTEMBER 29, 203 — Austal USA's Mobile, AL, shipyard marked another milestone September 27, officially handing over the Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship Coronado (LCS 4). The successfully completed Acceptance Trials (AT) at the end of August (see earlier story).
Front Row (L to R): CDR John Kochendorfer (USN), Lowell Redd (SUPSHIP Gulf Coast), CDR Shawn Johnston (USN)
Back Row: CAPT Steven Mitchell (USN), CAPT Randy Garner (USN), Craig Perciavalle (Austal), Allie Milligan (General Dynamics Bath Iron Works), CDR Scot Searles (USN)
The delivery ceremony took place on Coronado's flight deck and was attended by personnel from the LCS Squadron in San Diego, SUPSHIP Gulf Coast, Coronado Crew (both Blue and Gold), the Navy program office, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (the prime contractor), General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, and Austal.
Coronado is the second Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship to be delivered to the Navy.
Craig Perciavalle, President of Austal USA, remarked: "We are proud to deliver this incredible warship to our great Navy, especially in knowing just how important this program is to the Fleet. This milestone could not have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of the incredible shipbuilders here at Austal, as well as our partners from General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, and the Navy, all of whom should be so very proud of this significant accomplishment."
The LCS program is in full swing at Austal USA with four other ships currently under construction at this time. Coronado (LCS 4) will soon be followed by Jackson (LCS 6) which will launch at the end of the year. Construction is well underway on Montgomery (LCS 8) and Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10). Omaha (LCS 12) started construction just in the last month.
Mr. Perciavalle continued, "We are pleased with how the LCS program is maturing as we remain focused on continuously improving our processes to provide the most cost-effective, yet extremely capable and flexible warship that can adjust to the ever-changing requirements of the battlespace."
The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. Coronado is the second of twelve 127-meter Independence-variant LCS class ships Austal has been contracted to build for the U.S. Navy (including USS Independence (LCS 2), delivered to the Navy in 2009). The final 10 of the 12 were awarded to Austal as prime contractor subsequent to a $3.5 billion block buy in 2010.
Austal has also been contracted by the U.S. Navy to build ten, 103-meter JHSVs under a 10-ship, $1.6 billion contract. Two of the ten have already been delivered. Austal continues to make steady forward progress on the JHSV program as USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) prepares for Builder's Sea Trials in the fall and will be delivered to the Navy later this year. Construction on Fall River (JHSV 4) and Trenton (JHSV 5) is also well underway.