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U.S. Navy to christen USS Canberra littoral combat ship on Saturday

The U.S. Navy's littoral combat ship USS Canberra will be christened on Saturday in Mobile, Ala. Photo courtesy of Austal USA/Facebook
The U.S. Navy's littoral combat ship USS Canberra will be christened on Saturday in Mobile, Ala. Photo courtesy of Austal USA/Facebook

June 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's newest littoral combat ship, to be called USS Canberra, will have its christening ceremony on Saturday in Mobile, Ala., its maker, Austal USA, said on Friday.

While the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne is the ship's sponsor, Arthur Sinodinos, Australia's ambassador to the United States, will deliver the principal address at the 1pm EDT ceremony, the Navy said Friday in a press release.

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"Tomorrow we christen the second USS Canberra, named for the great capital city of Australia, our stalwart ally and superb naval partner," acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker said in the Navy's release.

Armed with guns and missiles, and capable of carrying helicopters, 412-foot-long littoral combat ships are small, fast surface warships designed to operate in near-shore environments, countering submarines, mines and small craft.

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Independence-class vessels, which include the USS Canberra, feature a trimaran hull design, which differs from the steel/aluminum monohull of the Freedom class.

Construction of the vessel began in 2019.

The ceremony at noon on Saturday will be livestreamed on Facebook.

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Built by Austal USA in Mobile, it is the first LCS launched by the company this year, and the first to be launched from the shipyards' new floating dry dock, the company said.

It is the second U.S. Navy ship named after in honor of the HMAS Canberra, a Royal Australian Navy heavy cruiser that was sunk in the Battle of Savo Island at the start of the Guadalcanal campaign in World War II.

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