USS Gabrielle Giffords

The US Navy is set to christen its tenth littoral combat ship (LCS), future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), on 13 June at Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

The ship has been named in honour of Gabrielle Giffords, a former Congresswoman from Tucson, Arizona.

Gabrielle Giffords resigned from Congress to recover from wounds sustained in an assassination attempt in 2011, and was known for her support for the military and veterans.

US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said: "The christening of the future USS Gabrielle Giffords marks the beginning of what is certain to be a long life for this great ship.

"It is also a celebration of the skill and dedication of the men and women who have built LCS 10 and the courage of her namesake. This ship truly embodies the navy motto of Semper Fortis – always courageous."

Constructed as part of the LCS programme, the Independence-class vessel is the 16th ship to be named after a woman and the 13th to take the name of a living person since 1850.

"It is also a celebration of the skill and dedication of the men and women who have built LCS 1."

The future USS Gabrielle Giffords is expected to be delivered to the fleet in 2017.

The US Navy’s LCS programme aims to fill gaps in the critical, urgent operational war-fighting requirements that currently exist in the navy to defeat littoral threats, and provide access and dominance in coastal waters.

The LCS-class consists of the Freedom and Independence variants, which are developed by two industry teams led by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, respectively. Austal USA, along with Bath Iron Works, is part of the team led by GD.

In April, Austal USA received $691m in funding for the construction of LCS 22 and LCS 24.

Image: The USS Gabrielle Giffords littoral combat ship (LCS-10). Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo / Released.