Navy to Christen Littoral Combat Ship Charleston

The Navy will christen its newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship, the future USS Charleston (LCS 18), during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony Saturday, August 26, in Mobile, Alabama.

The future USS Charleston, designated LCS 18, honors Charleston, the second-largest city in South Carolina. She will be the sixth ship to be named for Charleston.

The Honorable Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the Navy, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Charlotte Riley, the wife of ten-term, former Mayor of Charleston Joe Riley, serves as the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by Mrs. Riley breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship, a time-honored Navy tradition.

“I am honored to be here as we christen the newest LCS, the future USS Charleston,” said the Honorable Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the Navy. “Charleston, like the other ships in the LCS program, is going to be highly maneuverable, able to operate where other ships cannot, and will project power through forward presence. The ship and her crew will serve our nation for decades to come, but let us not forget our industrial force whose service makes this great ship possible. I am grateful for the men and women of Austal for their dedication, and to the citizens of Mobile for their support, as we continue to make our Navy stronger.”

The name Charleston has a long and storied history in the U.S. Navy. The first Navy ship to bear the name Charleston was a row galley that defended the coast of South Carolina during the Quasi-War with France. The second Charleston (C-2) was a protected cruiser that received the surrender of Guam during the Spanish-American War. The third Charleston (C-22) was a St. Louis-class protected cruiser that performed escort and troop transport duties in World War I. The ship named Charleston (PG-51) was an Erie-class patrol gunboat that earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one battle star for her service in the northern Pacific during World War II. The fifth Charleston (AKA-113/LKA-113) was an amphibious cargo ship that served during the Vietnam War.

The future USS Charleston is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.

The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g. LCS 1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).

Each LCS seaframe will be outfitted with a single mission package made up of mission modules containing warfighting systems and support equipment. A dedicated ship crew will combine with aviation assets to deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare or surface warfare missions.

The ceremony can be viewed on the Navy Live blog at http://navylive.dodlive.mil.