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NavSource Online: Littoral Warship Photo Archive

Ship's patch courtesy of
Don McGrogan,
BMCS, USN (Ret.)

Charleston (LCS 18)

"While We Breathe, We Fight"
Specifications - LCS Littoral Combat Ship, Independence Class (Variant 2, Flight 0, first generation):
Hull Type: Stabilized Trimaran Monohull
Displacement: 2176 tons (light), 2784 tons (full)
Dead Weight: 608 tons
Length: 418' (oa)
Beam: 93.2' (extreme)
Draft: 13' (Maximum Navigational Draft)
Propulsion: Two gas turbine engines, two propulsion diesels, two waterjets
Speed: 47 kts (sprint), 50+ kts (top speed)
Armament: Bofors 57mm naval gun; Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launcher; 4 - .50 caliber machine gun mounts
Combat Management System: Northrup Grumman ICMS
Electronics: Ericsson Sea Giraffe (air / surface surveillance, weapon assignment);
Decoy System: 3 - Super RBOC; 2 - Nulka Decoy launchers
Complement: 26
Charleston (LCS 18) Building and Operational Data:
  • 29 December 2010: Contract Awarded to General Dynamics Corp.
  • 09 January 2015: Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, in a ceremony held at the Maritime Center in Charleston, S.C., announced that LCS 18 will be named USS Charleston
  • 28 June 2016: Keel laid and authenticated, Charlotte Riley, will serve as the ship’s sponsor, Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., served as the honorary keel authenticator.
  • 26 August 2017: Christened by ship's sponsor Charlotte Riley, wife of former Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley
  • 19 July 2018: Completed acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico after a series of in-port and underway demonstrations for the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey
  • 31 August 2018: At a ceremony held in Mobile, Ala. the U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Charleston
  • 02 March 2019: Commissioned at Charleston, S.C.; Commander Christopher K. Brusca in command, assigned to LCS Squadron 1 at San Diego, Cal.

    1.) The contract option awarded to Lockheed Martin Corporation is managed by Lockheed Martin's Maritime Systems and Sensors division in Moorestown NJ. The Lockheed Martin team includes: Marinette Marine shipyard, Bollinger Shipyards, Gibbs and Cox naval architects, Izar of Spain and Blohm & Voss naval shipbuilders.

    2.) The contract option awarded to General Dynamics is managed by Bath Iron Works at Bath, Me. The major members of General Dynamics team are: Austal USA, based in Mobile, Ala.; BAE Systems, Rockville, Md; Maritime Applied Physics Corporation, Baltimore, Md; CAE Marine Systems, Leesburg, Va.; Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Baltimore, Md; General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, Burlington, Vt.; General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Conn.; General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Washington, D.C.; and General Dynamics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

    "Charleston, The Ship"     -    "Charleston, The People"

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    Independence 102k 27 May 2004: Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Navy announced today that General Dynamics - Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, will be one of two defense contracting teams awarded contract options for final system design with options for detail design and construction of up to two Flight 0 Littoral Combat Ships (LCS). The LCS is an entirely new breed of U.S. Navy warship. A fast, agile, and networked surface combatant, LCS's modular, focused-mission design will provide Combatant Commanders the required warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility to ensure maritime dominance and access for the joint force. LCS will operate with focused-mission packages that deploy manned and unmanned vehicles to execute missions including, Special Operations Forces (SOF) support, high-speed transit, Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO), Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), and Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (AT/FP).

    (Artist concept provided to the U.S. Navy courtesy of General Dynamics, Photo #040527-O-0000G-004, from the Navy Newstand)
    Independence 492k undated: Mobile, Ala. - An aerial view of the Austal USA shipyard, the American branch of operations for Australian shipbuilder Austal. Founded in 1999 along the west bank of Blakely Island on the Mobile River in Mobile, Alabama. The shipyard was initially engaged in building high-speed aluminum ferries, such as the Lake Express for service across Lake Michigan, and the Alakai for Hawaii Superferry. Construction on the first Littoral Combat Ship of the USS Independence variant was begun in 2006. In conjunction with the General Dynamics Corp., all of the planned Independence Class LCS's will be built here.

    (Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin, Fincantiere Marinette Marine)
    Charleston 160k 12 May 2016: Mobile, Ala. - Modules for the future USS Charleston (LCS 18) are moved into the final assembly even as the future USS Manchester (LCS 14) is rolled out.

    (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of  Austal USA)
    Charleston  1.) 237k       Charleston  2.) 348k       Charleston  3.) 336k       Charleston  4.) 410k

    28 June 2016: Mobile, Ala. - A ceremony was hosted to celebrate the keel authentication of future USS Charleston (LCS 18), the ninth Independence variant littoral combat ship.
    Charlotte Riley, wife of former Charleston mayor Joseph Riley, serves as the ship's sponsor and honorary member and advocate for the crew. U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL)
    served as the honorary keel authenticator during the ceremony and was present to weld his initials into the keel plate. "The future USS Charleston stands as a testament to the
    strong and resilient spirit of her namesake city," said Capt. Tom Anderson, LCS program manager. "Once complete, this highly versatile warship will sail the world's seas, carrying
    with her the backing of a city steeped in naval history."

    (Photo #3 - U.S. Navy photo #160329-N-YE579-001 from the America's Navy, remainder courtesy of  Austal USA)
    Ron Reeves
    Oaklyn, N.J.
    Charleston 341k 26 August 2017: Mobile, Ala. - Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer delivers remarks during the christening ceremony for the littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) at the Austal USA shipyard. Spencer is in the area to view the ongoing shipyard work at Austal USA and meet sailors and civilian employees who support the Navy.

    (U.S. Navy photo #170826-N-LV331-008 by MC1 Armando Gonzales from the Navy Newstand)
    Lee Wahler
    Lcdr., USN (ret.)
    Jacksonville, Fla.
    Charleston 335k 26 August 2017: Mobile, Ala. - Ship's sponsor Charlotte Riley breaks a bottle of champagne across the bow during the christening ceremony for the littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18). At the ceremony, Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer gave the principal address. Spencer is in the area to view the ongoing shipyard work at Austal USA and meet sailors and civilian employees who support the Navy.

    (U.S. Navy photo #170826-N-LV331-009 by MC1 Armando Gonzales from the Navy Newstand)
    Charleston  1.) 487k       Charleston  2.) 512k       Charleston  3.) 232k       Charleston  4.) 230k
    Charleston  5.) 420k       Charleston  6.) 462k       Charleston  7.) 419k       Charleston  8.) 645k

    13 - 14 September 2017: Mobile, Ala. - On 13 September we see the future USS Charleston (LCS 18) being rolled out of the fabrication shed onto a barge.
    The barge will transport it downriver to the BAE Systems yard where she'll be transferred to a floating drydock. On the 14th, she'll be floated out of the drydock
    and towed back to the Austal yard upriver.

    (Photos courtesy of  Austal USA)
    Charleston  1.) 527k       Charleston  2.) 450k       Charleston  3.) 777k       Charleston  4.) 570k       Charleston  4.) 796k

    18 July 2018: the Gulf of Mexico - Five views of PCU Charleston (LCS 18) on builders acceptance trials. Acceptance trials are the last significant milestone
    before the ship is delivered to the Navy. During trials, the Navy conducted comprehensive tests of the future USS Charleston to demonstrate the performance
    of the propulsion plant, ship handling abilities and auxiliary systems. While underway, the ship successfully demonstrated her bow thruster, twin boom extensible
    crane operations with the 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boat, completed surface and air self-defense detect-to-engage exercises and demonstrated the ship's handling
    and maneuverability through high-speed steering and operation of her anchor. Following delivery, Charleston will undergo a post-delivery availability that includes
    crew training, certifications and familiarization exercises in Mobile.

    (Photos courtesy of  Austal USA)
    Lee Wahler
    Lcdr., USN (ret.)
    190302-F-JT564-00231.) 401k   190302-N-BR740-10572.) 398k   190302-N-BR740-10793.) 225k   190302-N-BR740-11194.) 250k   190302-F-JT564-02245.) 313k   190302-F-JT564-02616.) 309k
    190302-N-RF885-1907.) 198k   190302-N-RF885-1708.) 318k   190302-F-JT564-04149.) 243k   190302-N-BR740-116610.) 422k   190302-N-BR740-116611.) 341k   190302-F-JT564-066612.) 387k

    02 March 2019: Charleston, S.C. - USS Charleston (LCS 18) LCS 18 is the sixteenth littoral combat ship to enter the fleet and the ninth of the Independence variant. It is the sixth
    ship named for Charleston, the oldest and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. Although the ship will be stationed in San Diego, Cal., the captain and members of the crew
    will make annual trips to Charleston to interact with the city and work with the Navy League of Charleston to maintain the relationship between the namesake city and the ship.

    1.) Crewmembers from the previous USS Charleston (LKA 113), commissioned in 1968, take pictures of members from the new USS Charleston.
    2.) Sailors of the Navy's newest littoral combat ship, USS Charleston (LCS 18), hold a banner from the crew of the previous USS Charleston (LKA 113).
    3.) Sailors and Airmen from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, present the colors during the commissioning ceremony of USS Charleston.
    4.) Sailors of the Navy's newest littoral combat ship, USS Charleston (LCS 18), stand at parade rest during the ship’s commissioning ceremony.
    5.) John Tecklenburg, mayor of Charleston, gives a speech at the USS Charleston (LCS 18) commissioning ceremony in Charleston, S.C.
    6.) U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina gives a speech at the USS Charleston (LCS 18) commissioning ceremony in Charleston, S.C.
    7.) Commander Christopher K. Brusca, the commanding officer of the Navy's newest littoral combat ship speaks during the commissioning ceremony.
    8.) Charlotte Riley, the sponsor of USS Charleston (LCS 18) gives the order to man the ship and bring her to life during its commissioning ceremony.
    9.) Crew members of the USS Charleston (LCS 18) officially man the ship for the first time at its commissioning ceremony on 02 March 2019, in Charleston.
    10.) Sailors of the Navy's newest littoral combat ship, USS Charleston, run to their newly commissioned ship in a ceremony to bring the ship to life.
    11.) Crew members of the USS Charleston (LCS 18) officially man the ship for the first time at its commissioning ceremony 02 March 2019, in Charleston, S.C.
    12.) The USS Charleston (LCS 18) is docked at the Port of Charleston, S.C., after its commissioning ceremony on 02 March 2019.

    (Photos courtesy of the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service)
    Charleston 354k 19 April 2019: San Diego, Cal. - The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) sails through San Diego Bay in transit to the ship's Naval Base San Diego homeport, successfully completing the ship's maiden voyage from the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. Charleston is the ninth ship in the littoral combat ship Independence-variant class and is the eleventh LCS to be homeported in San Diego.

    (U.S. Navy photo #190419-N-KG738-1051 by MC1 Woody S. Paschall from the Navy News Stand)

    "Charleston, The Ship"     -    "Charleston, The People"


    Courtesy of
    Wolfgang Hechler

    Charleston History
    View the USS Charleston (LCS 18) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.

    Charleston's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 02 Mar. 2019 - Cmdr. Christopher K. Brusca (enl. '93 / BOOST '00) (Los Angeles, Cal.)
    2.) 06 Dec. 2019 - Cmdr. James Hoey (USNA '01) (Santa Rosa, Cal.)

    Additional Resources

    View Charleston's Official Web page
    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation
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    This page created on 04 September 2015,
    and is maintained by Mike Smolinski
    All pages copyright Navsource Naval History
    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 22 December 2019