The US Navy has taken delivery of its Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32), from Austal USA.

The vessel was formally accepted by the service on 21 July at the company’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, US.

Delivery of the future USS Santa Barbara comes after the completion of its at-sea acceptance trials on 3 June.

LCS programme manager captain Andy Gold said: “Today marks a significant milestone in the life of the future USS Santa Barbara, building off of ship over ship improvements that Austal has achieved in the construction of Independence-variant littoral combat ships.

“This ship and her crew will play an essential role in missions supporting our nation’s maritime strategy.”

The new vessel will now sail towards its homeport in San Diego, California.

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Commissioning of LCS 32 is expected to take place in the second quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2023.

Christened in October last year, LCS 32 is the third vessel to be named after the city of Santa Barbara located in southwestern California.

The future USS Santa Barbara is the third LCS delivered to the US Navy in FY 2022.

The first delivery was of a Freedom-class USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS 21) in November 2021, while the second, an Independence-class USS Canberra (LCS 30), was delivered in December last year.

In September 2018, Austal secured a contract modification for the development of the US Navy’s three LCS ships 29, 32 and 34.

Currently, the company is working on the construction of three additional Independence-variant LCS, including USS Kingsville (LCS 36), Augusta (LCS 34) and Pierre (LCS 38).

The US Navy’s LCS vessels are fast, agile, mission-focused platforms, capable of supporting sea control, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence.