The US Navy will christen the ninth San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship 'Somerset (LPD-25)' tomorrow at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard in Avondale, Louisiana.
Powered by four turbo-charged diesel engines to cruise at a speed of 22k, the San Antonio-class ship is 684ft-long with a displacement capacity of 24,900t, overall beam of 105ft and navigational draft of 23ft.
Capable of accommodating a landing force of 800 troops, the ship's flight deck is designed to carry two Sikorsky CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters, six Bell AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters, four Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters or two Boeing Bell MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft.
It is designed to provide enhanced fighting capabilities, such as advanced command-and-control suite, increased lift-capabilities in the capacity for carrying vehicles cargo and provides improved ship-survivability for the crew.
The hanger deck of the frigate enables the launch and recovery of landing craft and amphibious vehicles to support missions.
Additional features of the vessel include AN/SLQ-25A Nixie-towed decoy system and the mk53 Nulka decoy launching system,in addition to ITT AN/SPS-48E 3D air search radar and AN/APQ-9B surface surveillance and tracking radar.
The ninth ship is being named in honour of the United Airlines Flight 93 airline passengers, who forced hijackers to crash the airplane in Stonycreek Township in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, US, on 11 September 2001.
The first six of ten San Antonio-class ships have been delivered to date, while the remaining four vessels, including LPD 23 are currently at various stages of construction.
Image: The US Navy's Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Somerset (LPD 25), will provide enhanced capabilities to armed forces. Photo: US Navy photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries.