The US Navy’s future littoral combat ship (LCS) USS Kansas City (LCS 22) has successfully completed acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of its planned delivery to the service in December.

USS Kansas City is the US Navy’s 11th Independence-variant LCS. The ship underwent a series of in-port and underway demonstrations during the trials.

Designed and built by Austal, Kansas City will be homeported in San Diego, California, after delivery and commissioning.

The ship will join its ten sister LCS vessels at the naval base.

LCS programme manager Captain Mike Taylor said: “This level of performance is among the best I’ve seen for this class. We continue to see improvements in cost, initial quality and schedule, ship after ship.”

Acceptance trials represent the final key milestone for a vessel prior to its delivery.

The trials allowed the navy to evaluate the performance of LCS 22’s systems, including main propulsion, auxiliaries and electrical systems.

The demonstrations also included steering and quick reversal, an anchor drop test, a full-power demonstration, and a combat system detect-to-engage sequence.

The Austal-led industry team is currently producing five additional Independence-variant LCS ships.

Also included in the programme is the construction of USS Augusta (LCS 34), USS Kingsville (LCS 36) and USS Pierre (LCS 38).

The Independence-variant LCS vessels are designed to operate independently or in a group.

The high-speed, small-surface combatant ships can combat littoral threats and provide the navy with dominance in coastal waters.

They can be used to support anti-submarine and surface warfare missions, as well as mine countermeasures.

Meanwhile, the navy’s Freedom-class LCS USS Detroit (LCS 7) has been deployed for the first time to the US Southern Command area of responsibility in support of the Joint Interagency Task Force South’s Campaign MARTILLO.