Austal launches future USS Augusta
The 17th Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) vessel for the USN took to the water on 23 May, after shipbuilder Austal USA conducted a multi-step launch of the future USS Augusta (LCS 34).
Assisted by tugs, the 2,500t ship was escorted from the Austal USA floating dry dock in Mobile, Alabama, and secured pierside on the waterfront for machinery commissioning and system activation.
Sea trials will follow ‘later this year’, Austal USA noted in a statement. Augusta will then join her sister ships in the Pacific.
A total of 19 Independence-variant LCSs are on order from the USN, with five of these at various stages of construction.
However, Under President Joe Biden’s 2023 US DoD budget request, the USN plans to eliminate the LCS anti-submarine warfare mission due to technical challenges and the upcoming entry into service of the Constellation-class frigate.
The Independence-variant vessels will be devoted to mine countermeasure missions instead.
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