The US Navy has christened its 15th Independence littoral combat ship (LCS) variant, the future USS Canberra (LCS 30), during a ceremony in Mobile, Alabama.

The christening ceremony was addressed by US Australian Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos and has been attended by other naval officials.

The US Navy’s LCS programme involves the construction of Freedom-class and Independence-class vessel variants.

Austal USA is serving as the prime contractor for the Independence-class, while Lockheed Martin is developing the Freedom-variant.

In February 2019, Austal began construction on the LCS 30 at its shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

US Navy Acting Secretary Thomas Harker said: “Tomorrow we christen the second USS Canberra named for the great capital city of Australia, our stalwart ally and superb naval partner.

“In so doing we move one step closer to welcoming a new ship to naval service and transitioning the platform from a mere hull number to a ship with a name and spirit.

“There is no doubt future sailors aboard this ship will carry on the same values of honour, courage and commitment upheld by crews from an earlier vessel that bore this name.”

The LCS is a fast, highly manoeuvrable, networked surface combat ship capable of conducting surface, anti-submarine and mine countermeasure missions, as well as manned and unmanned aerial, surface, or sub-surface operations.

Austal USA is constructing 19 small surface combatants for the US Navy, with five under various construction stages.

The company will begin construction of a sixth vessel upon receipt of the contract. It is also building two Expeditionary Fast Transport ships (EPF) for the service.

The company recently started developing a new steel manufacturing line to meet the growing demand for steel ships from the US Navy and Coast Guard.