Austal USA Christens Latest Aluminium-Hulled Combat Ship

Austal USA, the American branch of Australian shipbuilding company and defense contractor Austal, announced last weekend that it christened the new USS Tulsa (LCS 16), the sixteenth aluminium Independence-class trimaran littoral combat ship (LCS).

The US$3.5 billion vessel is a 419-foot combat ship constructed with an aluminium trimaran hull. The aluminium construction makes the ship significantly lighter and more agile than a vessel constructed from steel. According to the firm, the design features advanced seakeeping, endurance, and speed combined with a larger volume and payload capacity required by 21st century missions.

The ship boasts a maximum speed of 40 knots, a 28,000 ft2 mission bay, and sufficient space on its flight deck to hold two Sikorsky MH-60R/S Seahawk helicopters.

“We are proud to provide an awesome combat ship to our nation’s incredible sailors. One that will honor the great city of Tulsa as she defends our nation around the globe,” said Craig Perciavalle, Austal USA President. “We’re equally excited to share this celebration with an amazing patriot in [former mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma] Kathy Taylor who has served veterans and active duty military in so many ways, and now infuses her spirit as the sponsor into this incredible ship and her crew.”

The firm says that the Tulsa will launch in the middle of next month, and will be delivered to the U.S. Navy at some point next year.

The Independence class of littoral combat ships is currently planned to consist of thirteen ships. Five other ships of that class are under construction at present – the USS Omaha, the USS Manchester, the USS Charleston, the USS Cincinnati, and the USS Kansas City. The ships are built with a length of 418’, a beam of 104’, and a draft of 14’. It is operated by a compliment of forty crewmen, plus the capacity to house another thirty-five crewmen for specific missions.

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