Austal USA celebrated the christening of the future Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Augusta (LCS 34) in a ceremony at the company’s Gulf Coast shipyard. Ship sponsor Leigh I. Saufley performed the ceremonial bottle break over the bow of Augusta, the 17th LCS designed and constructed by Austal USA. Saufley served as Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court from December 2001 through April 2020. She has since become the president and dean of the University of Maine School of Law, the eighth dean of Maine Law since its founding in 1962. The ceremony was widely attended by elected and community leaders, Austal USA shipbuilders, and the ship’s commanding officer Cmdr. Christopher Polnaszek, all of whom had access to tour Augusta following the event.
“Building these ships is not easy. It takes thousands of the world’s best shipbuilders here at Austal USA, along with a robust supplier network, a strong partnership with our elected officials, and the cooperation and support of our Navy teammates. I am proud of our team for pulling together to achieve our common goal of efficiently delivering state-of-the-art surface combatants to the Navy on budget and on schedule!,” said Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be the Sponsor of the USS Augusta, named for the capital City of the great State of Maine. I am grateful to the men and women of Austal USA for the care and precision with which they have built the Augusta, and I am confident that the Augusta will serve the U.S. Navy and the people of the United States with distinction. On behalf of the State of Maine, with its long seafaring traditions, Mark O’Brien, Mayor of Augusta, Maine, and my Sponsor’s Matron, Cathy Ingalls, I send our best to Commander Polnaszek, his crew, and all who will have the good fortune to experience the Augusta’s strength and speed,” said Leigh I. Saufley.
Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships are fast, optimally-manned, mission-tailored surface combatants that operate in near-shore and open-ocean environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats. LCS 34 is the second U.S. Navy vessel to be named Augusta in honor of the Maine state capital, the first being a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine decommissioned in 2009. Maine has one of the highest per capita concentrations of veterans in the U.S. and boasts a long history of shipbuilding. Augusta is planned for delivery in early 2023 and will be homeported in San Diego, Calif. where Austal USA will have the capability to dry-dock and provide lifecycle sustainment support for the Independence-variant ship class and other similar sized ships at its waterfront repair facility.