Austal USA has started construction on the future USS Canberra Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS 30) at its shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

The metal cutting event was attended by Austal LCS programme director Dave Growden who started the router to cut the first piece of aluminium.

USS Canberra is the company’s 15th Independence-class and is the second US Navy vessel to bear the name of Australia’s capital city.

The 127m frigate-sized vessel is expected to bolster the relationship between the US and Australia.

At the time of the announcing the LCS 30’s name, the then Australia Prime Minister Turnbull said: “The ship (USS Canberra) will be built by Austal in Mobile, Alabama, so you will have an Australian company with American workers, working and operating in the United States building ships for the US Navy.”

To date, Austal USA has delivered nine LCS vessels to the US Navy. The 10th ship recently completed acceptance trials and is set to soon join the existing fleet.

"The company is currently building five vessels, including LCS 30. It has also received an order for four more vessels."

The company is currently building five vessels, including LCS 30. It has also received an order for four more vessels.

Austal USA CEO David Singleton said: “The LCS is now the second-largest surface ship class in production. In 2018, five LCS were delivered to the US fleet and three will be delivered in 2019, a pace of construction and delivery not seen in the US since the 1990s.

“The team at Austal USA has cemented the company’s reputation in the US for production efficiency and world-leading technology in naval shipbuilding. It is a real honour for our company and the littoral combat ship to represent the special relationship between Australia and the US.”

Sponsored by Australia foreign affairs minister Marise Payne, the USS Canberra can be used to support focused mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare missions.

The Independence-class LCS is designed to support current and future capability of the US Navy, from deep water to littoral operations.

Austal is the prime contractor for the US Navy’s Independence-class LCSs.