MOBILE, Alabama – Austal USA launched the future USS Manchester – an advanced, high-speed aluminum warship – at its Alabama shipyard today, documenting the milestone with a series of images on social media.
The tri-hull Manchester (LCS 14) is the fifth littoral combat ship produced by Austal’s Mobile shipyard in an 11-ship contract, which worth more than $3.5 billion.
This morning, the warship rolled out of Austal’s assembly bay in Mobile and on to a launch barge. Tugs took the Manchester on the barge down the Mobile River to BAE’s dry dock. On Friday, the drydock will be flooded so the hull’s integrity can be checked. Afterwards, the tugs will return the ship to Austal.
The Manchester is scheduled for delivery in 2017. The ship has a maximum speed of more than 40 knots, a 28,000-square-foot mission bay, and a flight deck capable of holding two H-60 helicopters.
— Austal USA (@Austal_USA) May 12, 2016
Austal says its LCS program is in full swing, with three ships delivered and seven others under construction. Montgomery (LCS 8) conducted acceptance trials late last week. Two others — Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) and Omaha (LCS 12) — are preparing for trials.
It says final assembly is well under way on Tulsa (LCS 16), while modules for Charleston (LCS 18) and Cincinnati (LCS 20) are under construction in Austal’s Module Manufacturing Facility.
The Manchester was christened earlier this month in a ceremony featuring ship sponsor U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, the only woman to be elected as governor and U.S. senator.
“On behalf of Austal USA’s shipbuilding team, one of the most talented that I’ve ever worked with, we are proud to provide our sailors with an amazing warship that will honor the great city of Manchester as she defends our nation,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said at the May 7 christening ceremony.
Austal has also been contracted by the U.S. Navy to build 10 Expeditionary Fast Transports (EPF) at its Alabama shipyard. Of the 10 ships included in the $1.6 billion block-buy contract, six have been delivered.