Huntington Ingalls Industries‘ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division has officially begun fabrication of the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125).

The company has cut the first 100t of steel for the navy vessel to mark the beginning of fabrication.

DDG 125 is slated to be the first ship to be named after US Marine Corps marine captain Jack H Lucas and will be the first ‘Flight III’ vessel to join the Arleigh Burke-class fleet of destroyers.

"Our shipbuilders have delivered 30 of these ships to the US Navy, and back-to-back building has allowed them to gain experience and talent that is unmatched in our industry."

The Flight III ship is set to be equipped with a new advanced missile defence radar (AMDR), which will replace the existing SPY-1 system currently mounted on the previous DDG 51 destroyers.

DDG 125 represents the fifth and final unit of five Arleigh Burke-class destroyers that are being constructed by HII under a contract that was originally awarded in June 2013.

The five-ship development contract forms part of a multi-year procurement under the DDG 51 programme and enables Ingalls Shipbuilding to construct the vessels more efficiently by purchasing materials in bulk and shifting the skilled workforce from ship to ship.

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Arleigh Burke-class vessels are multi-mission ships that are capable of carrying out a wide range of operations, varying from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection activities, which are all conducted in support of the US military strategy.

The navy destroyers are equipped with several offensive and defensive weapons and are able to fight against all air, surface and subsurface threats simultaneously.

The vessels are expected to support US maritime defence requirements well into the 21st century.

Ingalls Shipbuilding has delivered a total of 30 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the US Navy to date.

Ingalls Shipbuilding DDG 51 programme manager George Nungesser said: “Our shipbuilders have delivered 30 of these ships to the US Navy, and back-to-back building has allowed them to gain experience and talent that is unmatched in our industry.

“They are eager to use their skillset to incorporate the navy’s Flight III modifications into DDG 125 and provide the navy with yet another state-of-the-art ship.”