This is an artist's rendering of the USS Oakland, which is under construction at Austal's Shipyard in Mobile. Image courtesy of the U.S. Navy
June 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy will christen the USS Oakland, a littoral combat ship, during a ceremony Saturday at the vessel's manufacturing site in Mobile, Ala.
Kate Brandt, who is Google's sustainability officer, will serve as the Oakland's sponsor and christen the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow in a Navy tradition. U.S. House Rep. Ken Calvert, of California, will deliver the christening ceremony's principal address.
Twice before ships have been named after the California city. The first Oakland was commissioned in 1918 and used for cargo transport. The second Oakland was commissioned in 1942, and during seven years of service played a key role in many antiaircraft missions across the Asia-Pacific theater of operations.
"The christening of the future USS Oakland marks an important step toward this great ship's entry into the fleet," Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said in a news release. "The dedication and skilled work of our industry partners ensure this ship will represent the great city of Oakland and serve our Navy and Marine Corps team for decades to come."
The Oakland, designated as LCS 24, will be homeported in another California city -- San Diego.
Construction began in 2017 and the ship's keel was authenticated on July 20, 2018.
The Independence variant of the LCS is built by Austal USA in Mobile, while the Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin in Marinette, Wis.
Five more of the Independence ships are in various stages of construction, according to the U.S. Navy. The USS Cincinnati was delivered to the Navy last Friday. The USS Kansas City is preparing for sea trials. Also being constructed are the USS Mobile, USS Savannah, USS Canberra. Four are more under contract.
Six of the ship variants are in operation.
All LCS vesels being constructed and delivered to the Navy are named after cities, except for the USS Gabrielle Giffords, which honors former the U.S. House member from Arizona.
The LCS is designed for operation in near-shore environments but capable of open-ocean operation, handling threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The ships, which have a crew of 40, are smaller than the Navy's destroyers, amphibious assault ships and aircraft carriers.