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Navy to christen USS Kansas City on Saturday

The USS Kansas City is the 11th Independence-variant littoral combat ship, and 22nd overall.

By Stephen Carlson
Navy to christen USS Kansas City on Saturday
Missouri native Tracy Davidson, ship's sponsor of the future littoral combat ship USS Kansas City, and Austal USA A-class welder Adan Silva-Garibay etch Davidson's initials into the ship's keel plate during a keel laying ceremony at the Austal USA shipyard last year. Photo courtesy of Austal USA/U.S. Navy

Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The Navy will christen its newest Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Kansas City, on Saturday morning in Mobile, Ala.

The Kansas City, the 11th Independence-class LCS, will be christened by Mrs. Tracy Davidson, wife of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Adm. Philip Davidson, who will break a bottle of sparkling wine across the ship's bow. The main speaker for the event will be U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo.

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"The future USS Kansas City is a symbol of the strong connection between the people of Missouri and the Navy and Marine Corps team," Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said in a press release.

"The ship is a testament to our commitment to provide maritime dominance and power projection required by the nation, and to our partnership with industry to build the Navy the nation needs."

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The USS Kansas City is the second U.S. Navy ship to be designated with the name. The first vessel named Kansas City was a Wichita-class replenishment ship commissioned in 1970.

The LCS is meant to operate in shallow coastal waters, as well as the open ocean. It is designed to be modular, allowing multiple weapons and sensor packages depending on the mission.

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It's standard armament is a MK 110 57mm gun. It can also be equipped with RIM-110 RAM surface-to-air missiles and a variety of other ordnance. It can carry up to two helicopters and vertical take-off drones like the MQ-8 Fire Scout.

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It comes in two highly similar models, the Freedom-class by Lockheed Martin and the Independence-class by Austal USA.

The LCS has been criticized for design issues and a lack of significant firepower, although the Navy also awarded contracts for three more of the vessels earlier this week.

Though production continues, it is expected to be supplemented by a new class of Guided Missile Frigates that carry vertical launch systems for missiles and other heavy weaponry.

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