US Navy USS Gabrielle Giffords LCS 10 successfully launches NSM Naval Strike Missile

According to information published by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) on March 29, 2021, the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) successfully launched the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) as part of shipboard operational testing and evaluation, March 19, 2021.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 U.S. Navy Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords LCS 10 launches a Naval Strike Missile as part of shipboard operational testing and evaluation. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

The USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) is an Independence-class littoral combat ship that entered into service with the United States Navy in December 2016. Construction on Gabrielle Giffords began with her keel laying on 16 April 2014, at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. The ship was christened in a ceremony held at the Austal USA shipyard on 13 June 2015.

The USS Gabrielle Giffords is part of the Littoral Combat Ship Class (LCS) that consists of two variants, the Freedom-variant, and the Independence-variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Independence-variant is an aluminum trimaran design originally built by an industry team led by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works for LCS 2 and LCS 4. Currently, Independence-variant LCS (LCS 6 and subsequent even-numbered hulls) are constructed by Austal USA in the company's Mobile, Alabama, shipyard.

Littoral combat ships are fast, agile and networked surface combatants, optimized for operating in near-shore environments. With mission packages allowing for tailored capabilities to meet specific mission needs and unique physical characteristics, LCS provides operational flexibility to combatant commanders.

The USS Gabrielle Giffords is powered by two gas turbines, two diesel engines, four waterjets, a retractable Azimuth thruster, and four diesel generators. She can reach a top speed of 40 knots (74 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 4,300 nautical miles (8,000 km) at a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h). The ship has a displacement of 3,104 tons, a length of 127.4 m, a beam of 31.6 m, and a draft of 4.27 m.

The armament of the USS Gabrielle Giffords consists of one BAE Systems Mk 110 57 mm gun, four .50 cal (12.7 mm) heavy machine guns, one SeaRAM 11-cell surface-to-air missile launcher, eight RGM-184A Naval Strike Missiles, an anti-ship and land-attack missile and two Mk44 Bushmaster II Mission modules. The Naval Strike Missile is a long-range, precision strike weapon that can find and destroy enemy ships at distances up to 100 nautical miles away. The missile flies at sea-skimming altitude has the terrain-following capability and uses an advanced seeker for precise targeting.

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