June 22 (UPI) -- The Navy's latest littoral combat ship, the USS Kansas City, was commissioned in San Diego via naval message instead of the usual transitioning formalities, the branch announced.
Social distancing protocols caused by the COIVID-19 pandemic reduced the ceremonial aspects of the commissioning of the ship on Saturday, but the Navy said in a statement that it will seek a future opportunity to commemorate the event.
The USS Kansas City is the 11th littoral combat ship in the Independence class.
"Like other littoral combat ships, Kansas City brings speed and agility to the fleet," Vice Adm. Richard A. Brown, commander of the Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said of the vessel via naval message.
Meant to operate in shallow water, but capable of ocean deployment, the ship, 418 feet in length and typically run by a crew of 40, is regarded as fast and agile. The vessel is, of course, also heavily armed, carrying a 57mm gun, four. .50 caliber guns, 2 30mm guns, Hellfire missiles and a radar array. It can also carry drones and a helicopter.
"Congratulations to Kansas City's captain and crew for all of your hard work to reach this milestone," Brown said. "You join a proud Surface Force that controls the seas and provides the Nation with combat naval power when and where needed."
The new ship was christened in Mobile, Ala., in Sept. 2018 and launched a month later into the Mobile River.
After it completed acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico, including tests of the vessels' systems and a series of demonstrations while in port and underway, it traveled to its home port of San Diego.