Independence-variant littoral combat ship Pre-Commissioning Unit Santa Barbara (LCS 32) arrived at its new homeport in San Diego for the first time, Jan. 18.

The newest LCS in the Navy’s inventory, Santa Barbara traveled through the Panama Canal just after New Year’s Day. After brief stops in Panama City, Panama, and Manzanillo, Mexico, the ship and crew arrived in her new homeport of San Diego. This is the 16th LCS homeported in San Diego under the leadership of Littoral Combat Ship Squadron (LCSRON) One.

“Thanks to the wonderful teams from Austal USA, General Dynamics, and PMS 501 for working with the crew to deliver a high-quality vessel to the fleet on schedule,” said Cmdr. Brian Sparks, Santa Barbara’s commanding officer. “The crew is excited to serve aboard the third ship to bear the name Santa Barbara and looks forward to showcasing the Navy’s latest technology and weaponry while representing our namesake city around the world.”

Santa Barbara, like its sister ships, is optimally manned to benefit from both innovative technology and highly-trained Sailors, their experience and decision-making skills.

The ship joins a squadron of operationally-relevant LCS. In 2022 alone, USS Tulsa (LCS 16) returned from an 18-month deployment after sailing in the South China Sea, integrating with Marines and Navy special operations teams, and multi-domain mine warfare training with an embarked helicopter detachment. USS Jackson (LCS 6) returned from its first deployment after 15 months conducting joint and combined missions like the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative and capitalizing on its shallow depth by visiting smaller ports and maintaining relationships with allies and friends in Fiji and Tahiti.

Currently, San Diego-based USS Charleston (LCS 18) and USS Oakland (LCS 24) are deployed in the Indo-Pacific.

Littoral Combat Ships are fast, optimally-manned, mission-tailored surface combatants that operate in near-shore and open-ocean environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats. LCS integrate with joint, combined, manned and unmanned teams to support forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence missions around the globe.