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Independence variant LCS USS Augusta commissioned by US Navy.

| 2023

According to information published by the US DoD on September 29, 2023, the U.S. Navy officially commissioned the USS Augusta (LCS 34), marking it as the latest addition to the Independence-variant littoral combat ships (LCS).
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Augusta. (Picture source: US DoD)

USS Augusta, designated LCS 34, stands as the 17th Independence-variant ship and 33rd overall in the LCS series. It's worth noting that this isn't the first ship to honor Augusta, Maine.

The legacy of the USS Augusta traces back to a Los Angeles-class submarine (SSN 710) that served the navy for nearly a quarter-century before its decommissioning in 2009.

The LCS fleet comprises two distinct designs: the Freedom and the Independence. While the Freedom ships, odd-numbered hulls, are products of a Lockheed Martin-led consortium in Marinette, Wisconsin, the Independence ships (starting from LCS 6) are constructed under Austal USA's guidance in Mobile, Alabama.

Independence-class LCS

Originating from a high-speed trimaran design intended for a 40-knot-cruise ship, its initial purpose was for passenger comfort, speed, and stability.

The Independence-class was proposed by General Dynamics and Austal to fulfill the Navy's vision for a fleet of nimble, versatile warships capable of operating in the littoral or nearshore environment.

Competing with Lockheed Martin's Freedom-class design, both ship classes were eventually incorporated into the Navy's plans, resulting in orders for 13 ships of each class.

Features of the Independence-class include a 127.4-meter length, a beam of 31.6 meters, and a draft of 13 feet. Designed for versatility, the interior mission bay can accommodate various mission modules, allowing for role-switching ranging from anti-submarine warfare to mine countermeasures.

However, the development of the Independence-class faced challenges. The cost for the first ship, Independence, exceeded its projected budget threefold. Despite initial setbacks and deficiencies, the ship underwent several trials and was eventually commissioned in January 2010.

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