Mobile, ALThe United States Navy christened the USS Cincinnati (LCS 20) on Saturday at 10 a.m. — the boat is the latest addition Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS) to join the fleet. Penny Pritzker, former Secretary of Commerce under President Obama, broke open a bottle of champagne across the ship’s bow, as is tradition in the Navy.

Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the Navy and former U.S. Marine aviator, said that, “The future USS Cincinnati is a symbol of the strong connection between the people of Cincinnati and the Navy and Marine Corps team. The ship serves as a testament to our commitment to growing the Fleet and our partnership with industry and the American public.”

The littoral class combat ships (LCS) are specifically built for operations near the shore — “littoral” literally means, “of or relating to the shore of a lake, sea, or ocean.” They can move with agility and have a number of uses, including anti-submarine operations, engaging other ships on the surface, mine detection, or amphibious assault, to name a few.

LCS’s, like the USS Cincinnati, boast some very unique capabilities. Most types of ships are fixed with a number of weapons, radars, aerial landing platforms or other specific uses; the LCS is built to be modular, so the potential uses range from a multitude of existing U.S. Navy capabilities to additional options that have not yet been developed.

One module may allow for the storage and transportation of mass amounts of containers; another allows for manned aircraft to take off and land. One might be built for submarine hunting, another for detecting mines. There are many possibilities here, all serving to complete various missions in the littoral zones across the globe, and these modules are built to be switched out quickly.

The Independence-variant littoral vessel can sail up to 44 knots, and has a range of 4,300 nautical miles (just under 5,000 miles). It’s crew requires a bare minimum of 40 — 8 officers and 32 enlisted men and women, however, depending on how the modular vessel is set up, it can hold up to 35 mission-dependent personnel onboard.

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In a press release, the DOD described the history of other ships that have been bestowed the Cincinnati name.

The first was a stern-wheel casemate gunboat that served during the Civil War and was sunk by Confederate fire on two separate occasions. Raised both times and returned to service, she was decommissioned following the war. The second Cincinnati was a cruiser commissioned in 1894. She served extensively in the Caribbean before, during, and after the Spanish-American War before being decommissioned in 1919. The third ship to bear the name was a light cruiser commissioned in 1924 that served around the world and earned a battle star for World War II service that included convoy escort and blockade duty. She was decommissioned in 1945 after the war ended. The fourth Cincinnati was a Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine commissioned in 1978. The boat served for 17 years before being decommissioned in 1995.”

The USS Cincinnati is a Littoral Combat Ship, like the USS Gabrielle Giffords pictured above.

Featured image courtesy of the Associated Press; video courtesy of the DOD.