The US Navy is set to christen its latest Independence-variant littoral combat ship, USS Tulsa (LCS 16) on 11 February in Mobile, Alabama.

The vessel is being named in honour of the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and former mayor of Tulsa Kathy Taylor will serve as its sponsor.

The ship is being built under the 10-ship, $3.5bn block buy contract awarded to Austal in 2010.

US Navy acting secretary Sean Stackley said: “The christening of the future USS Tulsa serves as a tribute to the extraordinary work done by our nation's shipbuilders and brings this great ship one step closer to joining our fleet.

“Our nation can be proud of this crew as they ready the ship to represent the city of Tulsa, and the US, around the world for years to come.”

"The christening of USS Tulsa serves as a tribute to the extraordinary work done by our nation's shipbuilders, and brings the ship one step closer to joining our fleet."

The future USS Tulsa is a fast, agile and mission-focussed vessel developed to operate in near-shore environments, while also being capable of performing open-ocean operations.

The 419ft-long ship has been designed to face and defeat asymmetric ‘anti-access’ threats, including mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. It will be capable of operating at a maximum speed of 40kn.

LCS-class vessel come in two types, with the Independence variant being constructed by Austal USA and the Freedom variant designed and built by Lockheed Martin.

The seaframes of the aluminium trimaran vessels are equipped with a single mission modules package, consisting of warfighting systems and support equipment.

Mission packages can be combined with aviation assets to deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare or surface warfare missions.