USN christens USS Cincinnati (LCS-20)

The United States Navy officially christened a new littoral combat ship (LCS) as the USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) Saturday, May 5 during a ceremony in Mobile, Alabama. She is the fifth ship named in honor of the City of Cincinnati.

At the mast stepping ceremony prior to the christening, Cincinnati Council Member and US Navy veteran David Mann presented a key to the city and a letter from Mayor John Cranley, along with other items. These items will be
welded within the ship.

A departure in design from its sister vessels, the LCS was plagued with problems during its development but is showing potential. For example, an LCS recently successfully launched an advanced type of over-the-horizon ship-killing missile during an exercise near Guam.

Former Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, the USS Cincinnati’s sponsor, following naval tradition shattered a bottle of sparkling wine across the ship’s bow and gave the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

The Cincinnati was built by General Dynamics and Austal USA. It holds up to 40 sailors and carries two MH-60R/S Seahawk helicopters and a MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned autonomous helicopter.

The ship is the ninth of the Independence class and the 20th LCS of a planned 32 ships in two designs, Independence and Freedom, according to naval-technology.com.

Additionally, there are two LM2500 marine gas turbine engines, rated at 29,500hp each, installed aboard the USS Cincinnati. The engines were assembled, inspected and tested locally at GE Aviation’s Evendale production facilities.

The 418-foot-long vessel is capable of more than 47 knots, or 54 mph, according to the ship’s website.

The $12.4 billion LCS program, begun during President George W. Bush’s administration, was assailed by critics for cost overruns, faulty design and poor performance at sea.

The warship redeemed itself somewhat when the USS Coronado deployed to the western Pacific in 2016-17, according to the Navy Times. Although mechanical issues laid the vessel up for a month in Hawaii, the ship and its crew completed an uneventful remainder of the cruise, the newspaper reported.

And Tuesday, another LCS, the USS Gabrielle Giffords, successfully fired the latest version of a Naval Strike Missile at a target ship, the decommissioned frigate USS Ford, while at sea near Guam. It was the first test of the missile in the region.

The Navy in a statement Thursday said the Ford was targeted and sunk by fire from several ships and aircraft during the Griffin Pacific exercise with Singapore.

The Cincinnati will be homeported at Naval Base San Diego, according to the Navy.

Littoral combat ships are built to conduct mine countermeasures, antisubmarine warfare or surface warfare missions in near shore or open ocean environments in a swift and nimble manner.

The Cincinnati is the fifth Navy ship to be named after Ohio’s third-largest city. The first was a stern-wheel casemate gunboat that served during the Civil War and was decommissioned following the war. The second served as a cruiser from 1894 until the end of the Spanish-American War in 1919.

The third ship to bear the name was a light cruiser commissioned in 1924 that earned a battle star for service in World War II and then was decommissioned after the war ended in 1945. The fourth Cincinnati was a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine that served the Navy from 1978 to 1995.

  • USS Cincinnati (1861) was an ironclad river gunboat commissioned in 1862, sunk twice in battle and raised each time, and sold in 1866.
  • USS Cincinnati (C-7) was a protected cruiser in service from 1894 to 1919.
  • USS Cincinnati (CL-6) was a light cruiser commissioned in 1924, on patrols in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II, and scrapped in 1946.
  • USS Cincinnati (SSN-693) was a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine in service from 1978 to 1996.