Among LCS controversy, keel laying ceremony held for eighth LCS - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Among LCS controversy, keel laying ceremony held for eighth LCS to be built at Austal

The keel laying ceremony for the U.S.S. Tulsa on Monday, January 11. The keel laying ceremony for the U.S.S. Tulsa on Monday, January 11.
MOBILE, AL (WALA) -

An "even keel" was lain for the U.S.S Tulsa at Austal USA Monday afternoon, January 11. The ship is the eighth littoral combat ship, or LCS, of its kind to be built at Austal in Mobile. 

Kathy Taylor has been chosen as the ship's sponsor. She is the former Tulsa mayor and CEO of ImpactTulsa. 

She authenticated the keel by welding her initials onto an aluminum plate that will be placed in the hull of the ship.

Taylor said Monday's ceremony was one in which she was honored to take part. 

"It's very emotional for me, my dad was in us navy, I lost him when I was 19, my father's dad worked with a naval base in Norfolk, so the Navy's very much a part of our family," she explained. "So, it's a very exciting and emotional journey for us."

The LCS contracts have been under a great deal of controversy lately. 

Last month, the secretary of defense ordered the Navy to reduce its order of littoral combat ships to 40 rather than 52, and to also reduce the suppliers from two ship builders to one. 

The other LCS builder is Lockheed Martin in Wisconsin. 

Some congressmen in support of the ships have said they don't want to see the order cause competition between the two facilities - with one company trying to keep the contract with the Navy. 

Rather, they said the companies and lawmakers, have been in discussion about how to move forward with this directive threatening the future of the LCS construction plans. 

FOX10 News asked Austal President Craig Perciavalle about those conversations. 

"There's been very good dialogue. The Navy's done a tremendous job at getting industry involved with that process early, so that we can all work together on making sure that any capabilities they want to add to the ship are relatively easy to incorporate into the ship, and in the most cost-effective manner," he explained. "So we're working very closely with Lockheed-Martin, to finalize those capabilities, and we're doing that now."

Perciavalle said the USS Tulsa will be completed and christened by the end of 2016. 

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