Austal Limited, USA, delivered the future littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS 6) to the U.S. Navy Saturday Aug. 11 in Mobile, Alabama, according to press releases issued by NAVSEA and Austal Limited.
Jackson is the third of the trimaran variant Independence-class littoral combat ship to be delivered to the Navy, and the fifth LCS to be delivered in total.
“We are pleased to receive the future USS Jackson into the LCS class,” said Capt. Warren R. Buller II, commander Littoral Combat Ship Squadron 1. ” Jackson will operate out of Mayport, Florida, while conducting full ship shock trials, prior to joining her sister littoral combat ships in their homeport of San Diego in late 2016.”
The delivery marks the acceptance of the ship by the U.S. Navy and the official transfer of the vessel from the builder to the fleet. It is the final milestone to come before the commissioning ceremony, set for December 2015.
“Today marks a significant milestone in the life of the future USS Jackson, an exceptional ship which will conduct anti-submarine, surface and mine countermeasure operations around the globe with ever increasing mission package capability,” said LCS Program Manager Capt. Tom Anderson. “It also marks a significant milestone for the LCS program, as the first of 20 LCS block buy ships delivers to the Navy. It is exciting to see these capable, yet affordable, ships transitioning from serial production to serial delivery.”
The delivery is a milestone for Austal as well, since Jackson is the first ship in its class built by Austal as the prime contractor at its shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, under a 10 vessel, $3.5 billion contract the U.S. Navy awarded in 2010.
“Delivering the third ship of its class and the first as prime contractor is a significant milestone in the growth of the LCS program and for Austal,” said Austal Chief Executive Officer Andrew Bellamy in a company release.
“Our workforce continues to demonstrate superior design, construction and execution building the littoral combat ship. The program is well positioned for a smooth transition from LCS to frigate.”
Plans are for more heavily-armed variants of the two classes of LCS, with greater protection and more capable sensors and combat systems, to be produced in later blocks, and designated frigates. Earlier ships are planned to be backfitted with the enhanced capabilities during refits.
Six more Independence-class ships are under construction at Austal’s shipyard, according to the company. Montgomery (LCS 8) is preparing for sea trials later this year, and Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) was recently christened. Omaha (LCS 12) is due to launch this year, with final assembly underway on Manchester (LCS 14) and modules under construction for Tulsa (LCS 16) and Charleston (LCS 18). The first metal is to be cut for Cincinnati (LCS 20) later this year.