The Navy’s newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Kansas City, arrives at its new homeport at Naval Base San Diego on Sunday. Navy photo

The future USS Kansas City arrived Sunday at Naval Base San Diego, where the Navy will commission the Independence-variant littoral combat ship on June 20.

“I am extremely proud of all the hard work the crew has done to complete the sail around and prepare us to officially join the fleet on commissioning day,” said Cmdr. RJ Zamberlan, the new ship’s commanding officer. “We are honored and excited to represent the Navy, the nation, and our namesake, as well as fulfill the ship’s motto, ‘United We Stand, Divided We Fall.’”

The Kansas City will join 10 of the futuristic trimarans already based here, including the USS Independence, USS Coronado, USS Jackson, USS Montgomery, USS Gabrielle Giffords, USS Omaha, USS Manchester, USS Tulsa, USS Charleston and USS Cincinnati.

“The arrival of the Kansas City here today is exciting and the crew has worked incredibly hard to get to this point,” said Capt. Matthew McGonigle, commodore of Littoral Combat Ship Squadron 1. “We look forward to ‘bringing the ship to life’ next month on the day of commissioning.”

Due to public health restrictions on large public events because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Navy cancelled the traditional public commissioning ceremony but will transition the ship into service as scheduled.

The new warship was built in Mobile, AL, by Austal USA in conjunction with General Dynamics. It’s armed with a 57 mm main gun, surface-to-air missiles, anti-submarine torpedoes and two helicopters.

The Navy is building 40 of the ships in two variants, with the trimaran Independence type based in San Diego and the monohull Freedom variant on the East Coast.

The ships are designed for anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures, anti-surface warfare and special operations missions close to shore and in the open ocean.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.