The US Navy’s newest Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Manchester (LCS 14), has set sail from the Austal USA Mobile shipyard in Alabama to its commissioning site in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

LCS 14 represents the 12th LCS to be delivered to the US Navy and is the seventh of the Independence-variant naval ships, which feature a unique hull design and large-sized flight deck.

The future USS Manchester is slated to be commissioned with the US Navy on 26 May before commencing its transit to its homeport in San Diego, California.

"LCSs play an important role in ensuring we can deter and defeat current and future threats in an increasingly complex security environment."

The US Navy previously accepted the delivery of Manchester in Mobile in February.

LCS 14 commanding officer commander Emily Bassett said: “We are proud to take full ownership of our new ship, but we also thoroughly enjoyed our time here in Mobile, Alabama, and were welcomed with open arms by the local community, especially the Mobile Navy League.”

The US Navy’s LCS vessels are high-speed, agile, shallow draft, mission-focused surface combatants that have been specifically designed to meet validated fleet requirements for surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures missions in the littoral region.

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The ships feature an open-architecture design and are equipped with modular weapons, sensor systems and a wide range of manned and unmanned vehicles.

LCS Squadron ONE commander captain Matthew McGonigle said: “Manchester will be the ninth LCS homeported in San Diego, continuing to advance our nation’s desire to grow our fleet in capability and size to a 355-ship navy.

“LCSs play an important role in ensuring we can deter and defeat current and future threats in an increasingly complex security environment.”