The US Navy has commissioned its Freedom-class USS St Louis littoral combat ship (LCS 19) into the fleet.

The commemoration of the vessel’s commissioning was carried out in a private unit due to the public health and safety restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

US Navy secretary Kenneth Braithwaite said: “Nearly 200 years after the first ship to bear the name was launched, today we commission the seventh USS St Louis.

“Much like that sloop of war did in 1828, LCS-19 and her crew will protect the US and our interests near and abroad.

“Whether conducting counter-narcotic operations in the Caribbean or working to enhance interoperability with partners and allies at sea, USS St Louis will provide manoeuvrability, stability and lethality in today’s era of Great Power Competition.”

This vessel is the 22nd LCS to be delivered to the navy and the tenth Freedom-variant to join the fleet.

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St Louis is a fast, agile and networked surface combatant. It can be deployed for a range of missions, such as countering diesel submarine threats, littoral mine threats, and surface threats.

The LCS design allows the quick installation of interchangeable mission packages (MPs) onto the seaframe to meet the requirements of a specific mission.

The MPs can be removed for maintenance and modernised at the Mission Package Support Facility (MPSF) for future use.

The LCS completed acceptance trials in December last year. A Lockheed Martin-led shipbuilding team is under contract to deliver Freedom-class vessels to the navy.

In June, US Navy commissioned the 11th of the Independence-variant LCS USS Kansas City (LCS 22).