Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced April 12 the names of seven ships: three joint high speed vessels, the USNS Trenton, the USNS Brunswick and the USNS Carson City; an amphibious transport dock ship (LPD), the USS Portland; two littoral combat ships (LCS), the USS Wichita and the USS Manchester; and an ocean-class auxiliary general oceanographic research (AGOR) ship, the R/V Sally Ride.
“As secretary of the Navy, I have the great privilege of naming ships that will represent America with distinction as part of the fleet for many decades to come,” Mabus said. “These ships were all named to recognize the hard working people from cities all around our country who have contributed in so many ways to our Navy and Marine Corps team.”
Joint high speed vessels are named for small American cities and counties that embody American values. The future USNS Trenton (JHSV 5), named in honor of New Jersey’s capital city, will be the fourth ship to bear this name. Similarly, the USNS Carson City (JHSV 7) is the second naval vessel to be named in honor of Nevada’s capital city. The USNS Brunswick (JHSV 6) is the fourth naval vessel named for the seaport city in Georgia and recognizes its longstanding relationship with the Navy.
Military commanders will have the flexibility to use the JHSV in a variety of roles to include supporting overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supporting special operations forces and supporting emerging joint sea-basing concepts.
The 338 foot-long aluminum catamarans are being constructed at Austal USA in Mobile, Ala., and are designed to transport 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. These vessels can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, providing U.S. forces added mobility and flexibility. JHSVs are equipped with an aviation flight deck to support day and night air vehicle launch and recovery operations. JHSVs have berthing space for up to 104 personnel and airline-style seating for up to 312.
Amphibious transport dock ships are named for major American cities. Mabus named the future USS Portland (LPD 27) in honor of Oregon’s most highly populated city. LPD 27 will be the third ship to bear this name.
The principal mission of Portland will be to deploy combat and support elements of Marine expeditionary units and brigades. With the capability of transporting and debarking air cushion (LCAC) or conventional landing craft and augmented by helicopters or vertical take-off and landing aircraft (MV-22), these ships support amphibious assault, special operations, and expeditionary warfare missions. The USS Portland will provide improved warfighting capabilities including an advanced command-and-control suite, increased lift capability in vehicle and cargo-carrying capacity and advanced ship survivability features.
Portland will be a San Antonio-class (LPD 17) amphibious transport dock ship, built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss. The ship will be 684 feet in length, have an overall beam of 105 feet, a navigational draft of 23 feet, displace about 24,900 tons and capable of embarking a landing force of about 800 Marines. LPD 27 will be capable of reaching sustained speeds in excess of 22 knots.
Littoral combat ships are named after great American communities.
The littoral combat ships named for Wichita and Manchester recognize regionally beneficial cities that are also within the top five highly populated communities in their states. The USS Wichita (LCS 13) is named in honor of Kansas’ largest city and will be the third ship to bear the name. The USS Manchester (LCS 14) will be the second ship named for one of New Hampshire’s industrial centers.
Wichita and Manchester will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission packages, which can be changed out quickly as combat needs demand. These mission packages are supported by special detachments that will deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine, undersea and surface warfare missions.
These ships are designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in the coastal waters. A fast, agile surface combatant, the LCS provides the required war fighting capabilities and operational flexibility to execute focused missions close to the shore such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare.
Lockheed Martin with Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wis., will build the Freedom-variant, USS Wichita (LCS 13), which will be 388 feet in length, have a waterline beam of 58 feet, displace approximately 3,400 tons, and make speed in excess of 40 knots. Austal USA in Mobile, Ala., will build the Independence-variant, USS Manchester (LCS 14), which will be 419 feet in length, have a waterline beam of 103 feet, displace approximately 3,100 tons, and make speed in excess of 40 knots.
Mabus named the future R/V Sally Ride (AGOR 28), which will be a Neil Armstrong-class AGOR ship, to honor the memory of Sally Ride, a professor, scientist and an innovator at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego. Ride was the first woman and also the youngest person in space. She later served as director of NASA’s Office of Exploration.
Traditionally, AGORs are named for nationally recognized leaders in exploration and science. The R/V Sally Ride is the first academic research ship to be named in honor of a woman.
“Sally Ride’s career was one of firsts and will inspire generations to come,” said Mabus. “I named R/V Sally Ride to honor a great researcher, but also to encourage generations of students to continue exploring, discovering and reaching for the stars.”
The ship will be a well-equipped modern oceanographic research platform that includes acoustic equipment capable of mapping the deepest parts of the oceans, and modular onboard laboratories providing the flexibility to meet a wide variety of oceanographic research challenges. These make them capable of supporting a wide range of oceanographic research activities conducted by academic institutions and national laboratories. The research vessel will be outfitted with multi-drive low-voltage diesel electric propulsion systems. This upgraded system will help maintain efficiency while lowering maintenance and fuel costs.
The Neil Armstrong-class AGOR ship will be 238 feet in length, have a beam length of 50 feet, and can operate at more than 12 knots. AGOR 28 will be built by Dakota Creek Industries, Inc. in Anacortes, Wash.