The US Navy's newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS) has been christened USS Manchester (LCS 14) at Austal's mobile shipyard in Alabama, US.
The vessel, which is named after the city of Manchester, New Hampshire, is part of a $3.5bn contract awarded to Austal to build ten more Independence-variant LCSs for the US Navy.
US Navy secretary Ray Mabus said: "The christening of the future USS Manchester represents another step forward as we continue to grow our fleet and serves as a reminder of the importance of our navy's partnership with the highly-skilled and dedicated shipbuilders of our nation's industrial base.
"It is because of the important work done by these men and women that the Manchester will represent our navy and the people of New Hampshire with distinction, around the world, for years to come."
As part of the LCS programme, Austal had earlier collaborated with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems for the design, integration and testing of the vessel's electronic systems for combat, networks and seaframe control.
The 127m-long aluminium trimaran vessels are powered by two LM2500s arranged in a combined diesel or gas turbine configuration with two diesel engines.
Equipped with reconfigurable payloads (mission modules), the LCSs have a maximum cruise speed of approximately 40k, and can operate in water 20ft deep.
The mission modules are made up of mission systems and support equipment, which can be combined with crew detachments and aviation assets to become complete mission packages.
These packages will help deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, or surface warfare missions.
Image: Stern view of an Independence-class LCS. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Nicholas Kontodiakos.