US Navy launches future USS Gabrielle Giffords
The US Navy has launched USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, US.
Constructed as part of the littoral combat ship (LCS) programme, the Independence-class vessel is the 16th ship to be named after a woman and the 13th to take the name of a living person since 1850.
The ship has been named in honour of Gabrielle Giffords, a former Congresswoman from Tucson, Arizona.
LCS programme manager captain Tom Anderson said: "This third Independence variant ship of the block buy is the first ship constructed fully utilising Austal's LCS modular manufacturing facility and is launching at the highest level of production completion to date."
Scheduled for christening later this year, the ship will continue to undergo final outfitting and activation. It is expected to be delivered to the fleet in 2017.
The LCS-class consists of the Freedom and Independence variants, which are developed by two industry teams led by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, respectively.
The navy's LCS vessels have been designed to support a range of missions such as asymmetric anti-access threats, including mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft in near-shore environments.
Image: USS Independence. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy, photo by naval air crewman second class Nicholas Kontodiakos.