Austal has started final assembly work on a new Littoral Combat Ship under a $3.5 billion, 10-ship contract awarded by the U.S. Navy in 2010.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) served as the sponsor for the fifth Independence-class USS Manchester (LCS 14) during the keel-laying ceremony held Monday at Austal's shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, the company said Tuesday.
Austal said it has erected 19 out of 37 modules needed to build the 419-foot aluminum-based vessel and plans to assemble 18 additional modules in the next few months.
The company noted that it held a christening ceremony for the USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) on June 13 and is currently working on seven other vessels under the LCS program such as USS Jackson (LCS 6), USS Montgomery (LCS 8), USS Omaha (LCS 12) and USS Tulsa (16).
Austal added that it has constructed five Joint High Speed Vessels as part of a separate $1.6 billion, 10-ship contract with the Navy.