Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship Coronado (LCS 4) successfully completed Acceptance Trials Aug. 23, in the Gulf of Mexico.
This milestone achievement involved the execution of intense comprehensive tests by the Navy while underway, which demonstrated the successful operation of the ship’s major systems and equipment. This is the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship, which is expected in September.
Upon returning from trials, Craig Perciavalle, President of Austal USA, remarked: “The successful completion of acceptance trials for this vessel validates the quality and reliability of Austal’s shipbuilding know-how. I am pleased with the performance of this ship which is a direct result of the hard work and incredible craftsmanship of the entire Austal USA team of shipbuilding professionals.”
The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. This vessel is the second of twelve, 127-meter Independence-variant LCS class ships Austal has been contracted to build for the U.S. Navy (including USS Independence (LCS 2), delivered to the Navy in 2009). The final 10 of the 12 were awarded to Austal as prime contractor subsequent to a $3.5 billion block buy in 2010.
Austal’s teaming partner, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (a business unit of General Dynamics) is the ship systems integrator, responsible for the design, integration and testing of the navigation systems, C4I, and aviation systems. The ships’ highly flexible open architecture computing infrastructure (OPEN CI), designed, developed, and integrated by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, allows “plug and play” integration of both the core systems and the LCS mission modules. It is designed to the Navy’s open architecture requirements, strictly adheres to published industry standards and facilitates the integration of commercially available products.
“Our open architecture computing infrastructure seamlessly integrates the ship’s combat management and seaframe control system with other critical systems giving the crew the flexibility to access any system anywhere on the ship,” said Mike Tweed-Kent, vice president and general manager of the Mission Integration Systems division at General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. “This design allows the Navy to quickly and easily add new or upgrade existing capabilities to enhance the fleet’s overall operational effectiveness.”
The LCS program is in full swing at Austal USA with five ships under construction at this time. Coronado (LCS 4) will soon be followed by Jackson (LCS 6) which will launch at the end of the year and Montgomery (LCS 8), which is being assembled after celebrating its keel laying ceremony on June 25. Construction is well underway on Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) along with Omaha (LCS 12) which just started construction last month.
Perciavalle added, “The LCS program is maturing well as we leverage lessons-learned and improve productivity, while providing an incredible platform to fulfill the Navy’s needs.”
Austal has also been contracted by the U.S. Navy to build ten, 103-meter JHSVs under a 10-ship, $1.6 billion contract. Two of the ten have already been delivered. Austal continues to make steady forward progress on the JHSV program as USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) prepares for Builder’s Sea Trials in the fall and will be delivered to the Navy later this year. Construction on Fall River (JHSV 4) and Trenton (JHSV 5) is also well underway in Austal’s Mobile, Ala. shipyard.