The US Navy has received the Independence-class Future USS Charleston (LCS 18) from Austal USA.

Built at Austal’s facility in Mobile, Alabama, the Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS) is the ninth of its kind to be delivered by the company to the US Navy and the third delivered this year.

Once commissioned, the vessel will be the sixteenth LCS to enter the US Navy fleet.

Austal USA’s president Craig Perciavalle said: “The Austal team is excited to provide our great sailors with another incredible warship.

“The patriotic spirit and dedication of Austal’s talented employees, the excellent teamwork with our Navy customer and industry suppliers and the full support of our local, state and federal legislators have all combined to bring about a mature and successful LCS programme.”

“The Austal team is excited to provide our great sailors with another incredible warship.”

The vessel will now undergo a post-delivery availability, which includes crew training, certifications and familiarisation exercises.

Once put into service commissioning, Future USS Charleston will be homeported in San Diego, US, alongside vessels that include the USS Freedom (LCS 1), USS Independence (LCS 2), USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), USS Coronado (LCS 4), and USS Jackson (LCS 6), as well as the USS Montgomery (LCS 8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), USS Omaha (LCS 12), USS Manchester (LCS 14) and the Future USS Tulsa (LCS 16).

Other Independence-class LCSs that are currently under various stages of construction at the Austal shipyard are Cincinnati (LCS 20), Kansas City (LCS 22), Oakland (LCS 24) and Mobile (LCS 26).

Currently, more than 700 suppliers across 40 US states contribute to the Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship programme.

On 19 July, LCS 18 successfully completed its acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico.