Austal USA on Wednesday delivered the future USS Mobile (LCS 26) to the United States Navy.
The ship, which was built at Austal’s world-class manufacturing operation in its namesake city, recently completed Navy acceptance trials.
Now, LCS 26 has become the 16th ship Austal has delivered to the Navy over the last five years.
“We’re especially excited for Mobile to join the fleet to pay tribute to a great community which has contributed to our success in so many ways over the years,” Austal USA president Craig Perciavalle said in a statement.
“Our team continues to impress, working through difficult conditions to maintain cost and schedule – neither the pandemic nor hurricanes impacted our ability to deliver the future USS Mobile on cost and schedule – a testament to the incredible fortitude and work ethic of these amazing people from her namesake city,” he continued.
The future Mobile was christened in December 2019 by its sponsor, Rebecca Byrne, the wife of Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01).
At 419 feet in length, LCS 26 — an Independence-variant littoral combat ship — has a draft of only 14.4 feet and can reach a sprint speed of over 40 knots.
LCS 26 is capable of operating independently or in a group. This type of Alabama-built ship is designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance along coastal waters, yet also is capable of open-ocean operation. A fast, maneuverable and networked surface-combatant, Independence-variant littoral combat ships provide the required warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility to execute focused missions such as surface warfare, mine warfare and anti-submarine warfare.
Austal’s LCS program is at full-rate production in Mobile and continuing its momentum, with five ships currently under construction. The future USS Savannah (LCS 28) is preparing for trials. Final assembly is underway on the future USS Canberra (LCS 30) and USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32). Modules for the future USS Augusta (LCS 34) are under construction in Austal’s module manufacturing facility. The future USS Kingsville (LCS 36) and USS Pierre (LCS 38) are also under contract.
“USS Gabrielle Giffords and USS Montgomery conducted successful deployments in the Pacific recently and we are looking forward to having the future USS Mobile join them soon,” Perciavalle added. “The U.S. Navy fleet will keep benefitting from the value the Independence-variant littoral combat ships provide as more of them deploy from San Diego.”
LSC 26 will become the fifth USS Mobile of all-time but the first of its name to actually be built in Mobile.
The first USS Mobile was a side-wheel steamer that operated as a Confederate government operated blockade runner. It was captured by U.S. forces at New Orleans in April 1862, commissioned as Tennessee and later renamed Mobile.
The second Mobile was reportedly a passenger liner operated by Hamburg Amerika Lines between Germany and the United States until the outbreak of World War I. It was taken over by the Allied Maritime Council and assigned to the United States after the Armistice and commissioned in March 1919.
The third Mobile (CL 63) was commissioned March 24, 1943. It participated in numerous campaigns in the Pacific during World War II and received 11 battle stars for her service by the time she was decommissioned in May of 1947.
The fourth Mobile (LKA 115) was an amphibious cargo ship that served from September 1969 until decommissioning in February of 1994.
This comes after Austal USA recently announced it has expanded its physical footprint in Mobile, representing a continued and enhanced investment in its Alabama operations.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn