U.S. Navy Has Christened a New Variant Littoral Combat Ship

Military News Editor

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Military Times

A US defense report estimates China has the world's largest naval fleet and builds new ships faster than the U.S. when compared number for number. However, it's not always about the numbers because advanced systems capabilities can win over numbers, and this is still where the U.S. has the advantage.

According to the United States Department of Defense, on October 16, 2021, the U.S. Navy has christened an Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32), during a ceremony that was held, Saturday, October 16, 2021.

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Military Times

"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," writes Navy Recognition media.

The LCS was designed and built by two companies. The Freedom-variant team is led by Lockheed Martin. The Independence-variant team is led by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama.

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.

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Military Times

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 eight 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.

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