Austal USA has delivered the US Navy’s 12th Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Oakland (LCS 24).

The vessel was accepted by the service during a ceremony in Mobile, Alabama. It is the 22nd LCS to join the fleet and the third LCS delivered to the US Navy this year.

LCS programme manager captain Mike Taylor said: “This is a great day for the navy and our country with the delivery of the future USS Oakland. This ship will play an essential role in in carrying out our nation’s future maritime strategy.”

The agile, mission-focused Oakland LCS has increased the service’s inventory to 300. Its commissioning is scheduled for next year.

Designed to operate in near-shore environments, the vessel will be deployed to conduct maritime security, sea control and deterrence, and protect coastal threats, including submarines, mines and swarming small craft.

The St Louis (LCS 19) and Kansas City (LCS 22) vessels were delivered earlier this year.

Austal USA is planning to hand over Minneapolis-St Paul (LCS 21) and Mobile (LCS 26) this year.

The Mobile (LCS 26), Savannah (LCS 28), Canberra (LCS 30) and Santa Barbara (LCS 32) Independence-variant ships are currently under various stages of construction.

Construction of three more vessels is yet to commence.

In July last year, Austal USA launched the US Navy’s newest LST LCS 24, into the waters at the manufacturing facility in Alabama.