MOBILE, Ala., June 26 (UPI) -- Austral USA reports the keel has been laid for the U.S. Navy's eighth littoral combat ship, the future USS Montgomery.
The event, which took place Tuesday, marks the joining of the ship's components and the formal beginning of a ship.
The Navy's littoral combat, which is capable of open-ocean operation, is specifically optimized for missions in coastal waters. The future USS Montgomery is one of four Independence-variant LCS under construction by Austal USA and is expected to be delivered to the fleet in 2016.
"This class of ships breaks new ground in Navy acquisition, ship design and warfighting technology," said U.S. Navy Capt. Stephen Mitchell, supervisor of Shipbuilding, Gulf Coast. "I am impressed by their strength, flexibility and extraordinary capability, and they offer our troops a greater range of options than ever before."
The Navy is leveraging competition, fixed-price contracting and ongoing production to reduce construction time and costs of the vessels.