Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division has commenced fabrication of the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) destroyer, George M Neal (DDG 131).

The company successfully commenced the destroyer’s fabrication at the Ingalls Shipbuilding Steel Fabrication Shop on 2 December.

DDG 131 is named in the honour of a Korean War veteran, Mate 3rd Class aviation machinist George M Neal.

Ingalls Shipbuilding president Kari Wilkinson said: “Start of fabrication is our first opportunity to formally celebrate and reflect on our contributions as shipbuilders.

“We are very proud of what we do here for the country and endeavour to do our part in building and activating what will be the newest Flight III destroyer.”

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers are multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare (AAW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) missions.

HII’s Ingalls division has so far delivered 33 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the US Navy.

Jeremiah Denton (DDG 129), Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123), Ted Stevens (DDG 128) and Jack H Lucas (DDG 125) are the other Arleigh Burke-class destroyers currently under construction.

Jack H Lucas (DDG 125) is the US Navy’s first Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer. It was launched in June this year.

The shipbuilder is under contract to build six Flight III ships. The Flight III design, which is the fourth Flight upgrade, incorporates the SPY-6 radar or the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) and changes to electrical power and cooling systems.