A banner from the christening ceremony on Saturday. Courtesy Austal USA

A small audience was on hand in Alabama Saturday amid COVID-19 restrictions for the ceremonial christening of the 14th littoral combat ship headed to San Diego.

The future USS Savannah, a trimaran variant of the series of small warships, was christened at Austal USA‘s shipyard in Mobile. The company is building five more of the vessels, all 19 of which will be based in San Diego.

“Austal is honored to christen today what will be the sixth Navy ship named after the great city of Savannah,” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle. “Savannah and Mobile have much in common, both being major U.S. shipping ports, but we also share the distinction of being cities where the famous World War II Liberty ships were built. These were the last Navy ships built in Mobile prior to the littoral combat ships we are building here now.”

The ship’s sponsor, Dianne Isakson, is the daughter of a World War II naval aviator and sister to two brothers who both served in the Navy. A graduate of the University of Georgia and accomplished watercolor painter, Isakson is married to the Honorable Johnny Isakson, former U.S. Senator from Georgia.

The littoral combat ships are high-speed, agile, shallow-draft warships designed for surface combat, anti-submarine missions, and mine countermeasures in the littoral regions of the world. They are armed with a 57mm main gun, a variety of guided missiles, and two helicopters.

In addition to building the littoral ships, Austal is also the Navy’s prime contractor for the Expeditionary Fast Transport program, with 12 vessels delivered and 14 under contract. The company has an office in San Diego and is seeking to expand here.

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Chris Jennewein

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