The US Navy's Independence-class littoral combat ship, future USS Jackson (LCS 6) has been successfully launched at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, marking an important production milestone for the LCS programme.
Next week, the US Navy is scheduled to launch next Freedom-class littoral combat ship, future USS Milwaukee (LCS 5), from the Marinette Marine yard in Wisconsin.
LCS programme manager, captain Tom Anderson said: "Serial production is in full swing at both building yards and we are seeing ship construction milestones, like launch, hitting their marks."
Scheduled to be christened in spring, USS Jackson is due to undergo outfitting, and test and evaluation of its major systems at the Austal shipyard.
The LCS class comprises two variants the Freedom variant and Independence variant, which are developed by two industry teams, led by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics respectively.
The US Navy's LCS vessels have been designed to support a range of missions such as defeat asymmetric anti-access threats including mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft in near-shore environments.
Featuring reconfigurable payloads, known as mission modules, the LCS will be deployed with manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare or surface warfare missions.
Currently USS Montgomery (LCS 8), Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), Omaha (LCS 12), Manchester (LCS 14) and Tulsa (LCS 16), which are under various stages of construction, are scheduled to be delivered to the US Navy over the next few years.
Image: an artist impression of the littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS 6). Photo: courtesy of US Navy.