The U.S. Navy last weekend commissioned the USS Mobile (LCS 26), which was built at Austal USA’s world-class manufacturing operation in its namesake city.
The Independence-variant littoral combat ship becomes the 16th ship Austal has delivered to the Navy over the last five years. LCS 26 was delivered to the Navy in late 2020.
U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) delivered the commissioning ceremony’s principal address, per a Navy release.
“The United States has been the greatest source of good in the history of the world and we will continue to be a force for good because of the brave men and women that we have here today,” remarked Tuberville — a staunch supporter of Austal who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Guest speakers for the event also included Governor Kay Ivey, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson and James Geurts — performing the duties of the undersecretary of the Navy.
“The ships that this city has built are literally sailing on every ocean right now,” stated Geurts, referencing Mobile-based Austal USA.
The future Mobile was christened in December 2019 by its sponsor, Rebecca Byrne, the wife of then-Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01).
“We have the distinction of the USS Mobile being built and commissioned in its namesake city here in the historic port of Mobile,” she said. “We welcome the ship to the United States fleet that bears our great name and comes on great Navy tradition.”
The ceremony completed a weeklong series of events celebrating the ship and its namesake city. USS Mobile is the fifth ship named in honor of the port city on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
At 419 feet in length, LCS 26 has a draft of only 14.4 feet and can reach a sprint speed of over 40 knots.
LCS 26 is capable of operating independently or in a group. This type of Alabama-built ship is designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance along coastal waters, yet also is capable of open-ocean operation. A fast, maneuverable and networked surface-combatant, Independence-variant littoral combat ships provide the required warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility to execute focused missions such as surface warfare, mine warfare and anti-submarine warfare.
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LSC 26 is the first of its name to actually be built in Mobile.
The first USS Mobile was a side-wheel steamer that operated as a Confederate government-operated blockade runner. It was captured by U.S. forces at New Orleans in April 1862, commissioned as Tennessee and later renamed Mobile.
The second Mobile was reportedly a passenger liner operated by Hamburg Amerika Lines between Germany and the United States until the outbreak of World War I. It was taken over by the Allied Maritime Council and assigned to the United States after the Armistice and commissioned in March 1919.
The third Mobile (CL 63) was commissioned March 24, 1943. It participated in numerous campaigns in the Pacific during World War II and received 11 battle stars for her service by the time she was decommissioned in May of 1947.
The fourth Mobile (LKA 115) was an amphibious cargo ship that served from September 1969 until decommissioning in February of 1994.
LCS 26 will homeport in San Diego with sister ships: USS Independence (LCS 2), USS Coronado (LCS 4), USS Jackson (LCS 6), USS Montgomery (LCS 8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), USS Omaha (LCS 12), USS Manchester (LCS 14), USS Tulsa (LCS 16), USS Charleston (LCS 18), USS Cincinnati (LCS 20), USS Kansas City (LCS 22) and USS Oakland (LCS 24).
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn