US Navy christens future USS Santa Barbara LCS 32 Independence-variant littoral combat ship

According to information released by the United States Department of Defense on October 16, 2021, the U.S. Navy has christened its newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32), during an official ceremony that was held, Saturday, October 16, 2021, in Mobile, Alabama.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of future USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32) for the U.S. navy. (Picture source U.S. Navy)

USS Santa Barbara (LCS-32) is an Independence-class littoral combat ship built for the United States Navy. The LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats. The platform is capable of supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence.

The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom and the Independence, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom-variant team is led by Lockheed Martin in Marinette, Wisconsin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence-variant team is led by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).

LCS 32 is the 16th Freedom-variant LCS and 32nd in the LCS class. It is the third Navy ship named in honor of the city of Santa Barbara.

As an Independence-class littoral combat ship, the USS Santa Barbara (LCS-32) has a length of 127.4 m, a beam of 31.6 m, a draft of 4.27 m and a displacement of 3,104 metric tons. It will have a crew of 40 people including 8 officers and 32 enlisted.

The propulsion systems of the LCS-32 include two gas turbines, two diesel engines, four waterjets, a retractable Azimuth thruster, and four diesel generators. She will be able to reach a top speed of 40 knots (87 km/h) with a maximum cruising range of 4,300 nautical miles (8,000 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h).

The LCS-32 is armed with one BAE Systems Mk 110 57 mm gun, four .50 cal (12.7 mm) guns, and Evolved SeaRAM 11 cell missile launcher. The flight deck of 1,030 m2 can support the operation of two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, multiple unmanned aerial vehicles, or one CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter.