Austal has announced that the eighth Independence Class Littoral Combat Ship has completed acceptance trials for the US Navy.
The future Tulsa (LCS 16) has successfully completed acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico and is now set to become the second Independence-variant LCS to enter US Navy service this year.
Austal CEO David Singleton said the trial demonstrated the successful operation of the ship’s systems and equipment.
“Austal USA is now operating an assembly line that is rolling out the LCS with unmatched efficiency. This is the fifth Austal designed and built vessel and the third LCS to reach this milestone in the last 12 months,” Mr Singleton noted.
“The investment we have made in our cutting-edge production process in not only a competitive advantage, but increasingly is demonstrating our capacity to reliably deliver some of the world’s most technologically advanced naval vessels.”
He said Austal’s production team in Alabama had managed to deliver LCS 16 with nearly 14% less labour hours that LCS 12, which was delivered in September 2017.
“The LCS has a significant economic footprint, supporting tens of thousands of jobs through the contributions of more than 900 local suppliers in 41 states involved in the program,” Mr Singleton concluded.
Austal is currently building six ships as part of the LCS program, with construction of further two vessels to commence in 2019.
According to the company, Charleston (LCS 18) is preparing for trials, while final assembly on Cincinnati (LCS 20) and Kansas City (LCS 22) is well underway.
“Modules for Oakland (LCS 24) and Mobile (LCS 26) are under construction in the modular manufacturing facility,” reads the company’s statement.