The ship’s sponsor, Dianne Isakson, wife of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, authenticated the keel for the 14th Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS) during the ceremony.
“We are honored to lay the keel of what will one day be a magnificent combat ship that will defend our great country as our Sailors operate her around the globe,”
Capt. Mike Taylor, LCS program manager
While the keel laying traditionally represents the formal start of a ship’s construction, fabrication of the ship begins months in advance. Today, keel laying continues to symbolically recognize the joining of the ship’s components and the ceremonial beginning of the ship.
LCS is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, while capable of open-ocean tasking and winning against 21st-century coastal threats such as submarines, mines and swarming small craft. They are capable of supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence.
There are currently four other Independence variant LCSs undergoing construction at Austal USA, with five additional ships in pre-production planning.