MOBILE, Alabama – The future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10),
launched from the Austal USA shipyard Feb. 25, marking an important production
milestone for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program.
“This third Independence variant ship of the block buy is the first
ship constructed fully utilizing Austal’s LCS Modular Manufacturing Facility and
is launching at the highest level of production completion to-date,” said Capt.
Tom Anderson, Littoral Combat Ship program manager, “a sign that facility
investments are now paying off in schedule and cost performance.”
The ship is named after former United States Rep. Gabrielle
Giffords. LCS 10 will be the 16th U.S. naval ship to be named for a woman, and
only the 13th ship to be named for a living person since 1850.
Gabrielle Giffords was rolled out of her assembly bay onto a barge
for transfer down the Mobile River to a floating drydock Feb. 24. The ship
entered the water for the first time the following day when the drydock was
flooded for the ship launch. The ship will return to the shipyard to continue
final outfitting and activation until her christening later this year. She is
expected to deliver to the fleet in 2017.
Gabrielle Giffords is the third ship in a block buy contract with
Austal to build 10 Independence- variant LCS ships. Sister ship Jackson (LCS 6)
is preparing for builders trials, and Montgomery (LCS 8) was christened in
November 2014. The LCS program is ramping up in 2015 to deliver two ships per
year from the Austal shipyard, as well as two Freedom-variant ships from the
Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin.
The Navy is leveraging competition, fixed-price contracting and
ongoing production efficiencies to reduce construction time and costs on
littoral combat ships. Lessons learned from the lead ships have been
incorporated into both Freedom variant (odd-numbered) and Independence variant
PEO LCS is responsible for delivering and sustaining littoral
mission capabilities to the fleet and is working with industry to increase
production efficiencies and leverage cost savings to achieve steady serial
production. Delivering high-quality warfighting assets while balancing
affordability and capability is key to supporting the Navy's Maritime