Lolita Zinke performs the ceremonial bottle break to christen the future USS Santa Barbara. Courtesy Austal USA

The Navy christened the third warship named for Santa Barbara in a ceremony at the Austal USA shipyard in Alabama.

The future USS Santa Barbara will be the 16th littoral combat ship to be based in San Diego when work is completed and the futuristic trimaran warship is commissioned.

Ship sponsor Lolita Zinke, the wife of former Montana Congressman and later Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, performed the ceremonial bottle break over the bow of the ship.

“I could never have imagined I would be standing here today ready to christen a Navy ship, let alone one named after my hometown,” said Zinke, who was born and raised in the California city.

Littoral combat ships are small surface vessels armed with guns, missiles, torpedoes and helicopters for near-shore battle. They are being build in both a traditional monohull version for deployment on the East Coast and a trimaran version like the future USS Santa Barbara for San Diego.

Austal has five ships of the trimaran variant in various stages of construction with a total of 19 planned.

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Chris Jennewein

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