The US Navy will name the tenth Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), currently being constructed, the USS Gabrielle Giffords.
Designated as LCS-10, USS Gabrielle Giffords will be designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in the coastal waters, as well as execute the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Strategy.
The 419ft-long, high-speed, highly manoeuvrable combat ship has a full-load displacement of 3000t, a waterline beam of 103ft and can cruise at a speed of 40 knots.
The US Navy’s LCS programme aims to fill the critical, urgent operational war-fighting requirements gaps that currently exist in the navy to defeat littoral threats and provide access and dominance in coastal waters.
The ships are designed to support launch and recovery operations of manned and unmanned vehicles and can execute specific missions such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare.
The vessels are also capable of countering piracy and drug-trafficking, minesweeping in shallow coastal waters and providing humanitarian relief, as well as filling critical, urgent warfighting requirement gaps.
The US Navy intends to procure a total of 55 LCSs, which are relatively small surface vessels, for multi-mission support to establish and maintain its dominance in the littorals and sea lanes of communication choke points around the world.
A total of 20 ships in two different hull designs, costing $480m each, will be acquired from both Lockheed Martin and Austal from 2010 to 2015.
Austal will build and deliver an additional ten Independence-class aluminum trimaran LCSs under a $3.5bn contract awarded by the US Navy, while the Lockheed team, including Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC), will construct ten Freedom-class semi-planing monohull ships.
Gabrielle Giffords, the congresswoman who recently resigned to recover from wounds sustained in an assassination attempt in 2011, was known for her support for the military and veterans.