Fabrication of the US Navy’s 13th San Antonio-class (LPD 17) amphibious transport dock ship, Richard M McCool Jr (LPD 29), has begun at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
The company has successfully cut the first 100t of steel for the navy vessel as part of the development.
Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships LPD 17-class programme manager captain Brian Metcalf said: “We are excited to commence fabrication on the 13th and final ship of the LPD 17 Flight I class.
“We continue to benefit from the maturity of this programme, and look forward to achieving future production milestones as we work to deliver this versatile and capable warship to the fleet.”
The US Navy’s San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ships have been designed to transport and deploy the necessary combat and support systems of the Marines’ expeditionary units and brigades.
The 684ft-long navy vessels are capable of accommodating approximately 720 troops and can transport and unload air cushion or amphibious assault vehicles.
In addition, they can carry virtually every size of US Marine Corps helicopter, along with the Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor military aircraft.
LPD 17-class ships can be deployed to embark and land marines, their equipment and supplies ashore using air cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles.
The US Navy initially awarded a $1.43bn, fixed-price incentive contract to HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division on 16 February for the detail design and development of LPD 29.
A total of 11 San Antonio-class ships have been delivered to the US Navy to date.