2nd Independence-Variant Littoral Combat Ship Christened

“Coro­n­a­do”, the sec­ond Inde­pen­dence-vari­ant Lit­toral Com­bat Ship class ves­sel was chris­tened on Jan­u­ary 14, 2012 dur­ing a cer­e­mo­ny at Austal’s ship­yard in Mobile, Alaba­ma, USA. The ship’s proven tri­maran-hull design offers supe­ri­or manoeu­vra­bil­i­ty and sta­bil­i­ty, endurance to trav­el 4,300 nau­ti­cal miles at 18 knots, three weapon zones, capac­i­ty for any two mis­sion pack­ages simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, and a flight deck larg­er than any oth­er sur­face com­bat­ant oth­er than air­craft car­ri­ers.

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Susan Ring Kei­th is the ship’s spon­sor. Upon her birth in Coro­n­a­do, Susan Ring Kei­th joined a long fam­i­ly his­to­ry asso­ci­at­ed with the Navy and “Coro­n­a­do”. In addi­tion to her father, both of her grand­fa­thers and both of her uncles were career Naval Offi­cers. Her two broth­ers fol­lowed their father into the naval ser­vice, with one broth­er retir­ing as a Rear Admi­ral. Her god­fa­ther (and lat­er step-father) was Rear Admi­ral Put Storrs, one of The Three Sea­hawks, which were the pre­de­ces­sors to the Blue Angels. Susan was the quin­tes­sen­tial Navy Junior, and her­self entered the Navy as a Navy wife and Navy mother. 

In 1966, Susan’s moth­er, Eleanor Ring, chris­tened the pre­vi­ous USS “Coro­n­a­do” (LPD/AGF-11) and Susan served as Maid of Hon­our. In 2009, Susan was invit­ed by the Sec­re­tary of the Navy to serve as Spon­sor of “Coro­n­a­do” (LCS 4). Susan’s daugh­ter, Belle Kei­th Drouin, will fol­low in Susan’s foot­steps by serv­ing as the ship’s Matron of Honour. 

The 127 metre all-alu­mini­um ves­sel is capa­ble of being out­fit­ted with recon­fig­urable pay­loads (Mis­sion Pack­ages) which can be changed quick­ly to sup­port mine coun­ter­mea­sure, anti-sub­ma­rine and sur­face war­fare mis­sions. The ves­sel has a max­i­mum speed of more than 45 knots. 

This past sum­mer, Austal cel­e­brat­ed the cut­ting of met­al on “Jack­son” (LCS 6), the first ship of Austal’s lat­est 10-ship LCS order worth over US$3.5 bil­lion. “Mont­gomery” (LCS 8) is also under con­tract as well as sev­en of 10 ves­sels in the US$1.6 bil­lion Joint High Speed Ves­sel (JHSV) pro­gram, three of which are cur­rent­ly under con­struc­tion – “USNS Spear­head” (JHSV 1), “Choctaw Coun­ty” (JHSV 2) and JHSV 3. 

For the LCS and JHSV pro­grams, Austal is teamed with Gen­er­al Dynam­ics Advanced Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems, a busi­ness unit of Gen­er­al Dynam­ics (NYSE: GD). As the ship sys­tems inte­gra­tor, Gen­er­al Dynam­ics is respon­si­ble for the design, inte­gra­tion and test­ing of the ship’s elec­tron­ic sys­tems includ­ing the com­bat sys­tem, net­works, and seaframe con­trol. Gen­er­al Dynam­ics’ proven open archi­tec­ture approach pro­vides afford­able capa­bil­i­ties to the fleet quick­ly and efficiently. 

Cel­e­brat­ing its 13-year anniver­sary of US oper­a­tions this month, Austal has grown into one of south­ern Alabama’s largest employ­ers with over 2,400 employ­ees on staff hail­ing from the Mobile Area, Mis­sis­sip­pi, Flori­da, and beyond. Under the cur­rent work­load, Austal expects to employ over 4,000 Amer­i­cans by the end of 2013, and will be ready to help the US Navy meet any nation­al secu­ri­ty con­tin­gency ahead. 

Please refer to the fol­low­ing news release from the US Depart­ment of Defence regard­ing the Chris­ten­ing of LCS “Coro­n­a­do”.

Navy Chris­tens Lit­toral Com­bat Ship “Coro­n­a­do”

The Navy will chris­ten the Lit­toral Com­bat Ship (LCS) “Coro­n­a­do”, Sat­ur­day, Jan. 14, dur­ing a 10 a.m. CST cer­e­mo­ny in Mobile, Ala. 

The Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of the Navy for Research, Devel­op­ment & Acqui­si­tion, Sean Stack­ley, will deliv­er the prin­ci­pal address at the cer­e­mo­ny. Susan Kei­th will serve as the ship’s spon­sor. Addi­tion­al­ly, Kei­th helped launch the Coro­n­a­do His­tor­i­cal Association’s “Home of a Naval Avi­a­tor” sign project and grew up with her father and step­fa­ther serv­ing in the Navy. Vice Adm. Stan­hope C. Ring, her father, was a pilot who com­mand­ed an air­craft car­ri­er air group dur­ing the Bat­tle of Mid­way dur­ing World War II. Her step­fa­ther, Rear Adm. Aaron Put­nam “Put” Storrs III, belonged to the Navy’s first aer­i­al acro­bat­ic team, which was the fore­run­ner of the Blue Angels. The cer­e­mo­ny will be high­light­ed by Kei­th break­ing a bot­tle of cham­pagne across the bow to for­mal­ly chris­ten the ship, which is a time-hon­ored mar­itime tradition. 

The ship’s name rec­og­nizes the city of Coro­n­a­do, Calif., and hon­ors the city’s deep ties to the U.S. Navy. Coro­n­a­do has been home to Naval Air Sta­tion North Island and Naval Amphibi­ous Base, since 1917. Two pre­vi­ous ships have been named after this city: USS “Coro­n­a­do”, a Taco­ma-class patrol frigate, earned four bat­tle stars for sup­port­ing land­ings in New Guinea and Leyte dur­ing World War II and the USS “Coro­n­a­do”, an Austin-class amphibi­ous trans­port dock lat­er re-des­ig­nat­ed as an aux­il­iary com­mand ship, served as flag­ship for the Third Fleet and was decom­mis­sioned in 2006. 

Des­ig­nat­ed LCS 4, “Coro­n­a­do” is an inno­v­a­tive sur­face com­bat­ant designed to oper­ate in lit­toral seas and shal­low water to counter mines, sub­marines and fast sur­face craft threats in coastal regions. The ship is capa­ble of speeds in excess of 40 knots and can oper­ate in water less than 20 feet deep. “Coro­n­a­do” will address a crit­i­cal capa­bil­i­ties gap in the lit­torals and con­duct the Navy’s mis­sion to enhance mar­itime secu­ri­ty by deter­ring hos­til­i­ty, main­tain­ing a for­ward pres­ence, pro­ject­ing pow­er and main­tain­ing sea control. 

A fast, agile, and high-tech­nol­o­gy sur­face com­bat­ant, “Coro­n­a­do” will be a plat­form for the launch and recov­ery of manned and unmanned vehi­cles. To meet increased demand for mis­sion-tai­lored pack­ages, its mod­u­lar design will allow the ship to be recon­fig­ured for anti­sub­ma­rine war­fare, mine coun­ter­mea­sures, or sur­face war­fare mis­sions on an as-need­ed basis. The LCS class ships have the abil­i­ty to swap out mis­sion pack­ages in a mat­ter of days — adapt­ing as the tac­ti­cal sit­u­a­tion demands. The mod­u­lar approach allows the Navy to incor­po­rate new and improved sys­tems into the fleet as advanced tech­nolo­gies mature, pro­vid­ing flex­i­bil­i­ty and evolv­ing capability. 

“Coro­n­a­do” will be manned by two rota­tion­al crews, Blue and Gold, sim­i­lar to the rota­tion­al crews assigned to large sub­marines. These core crews are aug­ment­ed by one of the three types of mis­sion pack­age crews and an avi­a­tion detach­ment. The com­mand­ing offi­cer of the Blue crew will be Cmdr. John Kochen­dor­fer, from Dana Point, Calif. The com­mand­ing offi­cer of the Gold crew will be Cmdr. Michael “Shawn” John­ston, from North Car­oli­na. After com­mis­sion­ing, the ship will be home­port­ed in San Diego, Calif. 


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