The US Navy’s Independence-variant littoral combat ship, the future USS Manchester (LCS 14), has successfully completed acceptance trials before being delivered to the fleet.
The trials concluded following a series of graded in-port and underway demonstrations for the US Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV).
US Navy personnel carried out comprehensive tests on the vessel during the trial programme in order to demonstrate the capability of its propulsion plant, ship-handling abilities and auxiliary systems.
The 419ft-long aluminium trimaran combat ship also successfully conducted launch and recovery operations with the 11m-long rigid-hull inflatable boat.
In addition, it completed surface and air self-defence detect-to-engage exercises and demonstrated the vessel’s manoeuvrability through high-speed steering and a four-hour full-power run.
The LCS 14 will be homeported in San Diego, California, along with sister vessels USS Independence (LCS 2), USS Coronado (LCS 4), USS Jackson (LCS 6), USS Montgomery (LCS 8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) and the future USS Omaha (LCS 12).
LCS programme manager captain Mike Taylor said: “The navy / industry trials team in Mobile has found their stride and, with stability in the serial production line, are taking ships to trials with consistently improved performance at decreased cost.
“Manchester will be an exceptional addition to the rapidly growing, in-service LCS fleet.”
The future USS Manchester was constructed by Austal and has a shallow draft of 14ft.
Its design combines superior seakeeping, endurance and speed with the volume and payload capacity required to support emerging missions.
Manchester represents the fifth LCS to be developed under the company’s 11-ship contract, which is valued at more than $3.5bn.
The LCS is a modular, reconfigurable vessel that is designed to address validated fleet requirements for surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures missions in the littoral region.