Austal holds keel laying ceremony of USS Santa Barbara LCS 32 Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship for US Navy

According to information published on the Twitter account of Austal USA, the keel laying ceremony of the future U.S. Navy USS Santa Barbara LCS 32 Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship was held on October 27, 2020, at the Austal USA shipyard.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The LCS 32 USS Santa Barbara is an Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship for the U.S. Navy. (Picture source U.S. Navy)

Initiated in February 2002, the LCS program represents a reduction in time to acquire, design and build ships in comparison to any previous ship class. A total of 35 LCS have been awarded to date: 19 ships have been delivered (LCS 1-18 and 20); 11 additional LCSs are under various stages of construction and five are in the pre-construction phase. FY 2019 was the final year programmed for LCS seaframes.

The USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32) will be an Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the United States Navy. The littoral combat ship (LCS) class consists of the Freedom-variant and Independence-variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Independence team is led by Austal USA, which produces the even-numbered hulls. LCS 32 is the 16th Independence-variant ship. There are 11 LCSs of both variants currently under construction.

The LCS is a highly maneuverable, lethal and adaptable ship designed to support focused mine countermeasures, anti-submarine and surface warfare missions. The Independence-variant LCS integrates new technology and capability to support current and future mission capability, from deep water to the littorals.

The LCS is armed with one BAE Systems Mk 110 57 mm naval gun, four .50 cal (12.7 mm) guns (2 aft, 2 forward and one Evolved SeaRAM 11 cell missile launcher.

The LCS is powered by two Rolls-Royce MT30 36MW gas turbines and two Fairbanks Morse Colt-Pielstick 16PA6B STC diesel engines. She can reach a maximum speed of 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph), the overall length is 115.5 m, the maximum beam width is 13.1 m and the draft is 3.7 m.

The LCS has a helicopter deck and hangar. The deck can launch and recover the MH-60R/S helicopter and a tactical unmanned air vehicle.