Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding (HII-Ingalls) division has commenced fabrication of the future USS Fallujah (LHA 9).

The commencement of fabrication indicates that the shipyard is prepared for sustained production following a successful production readiness review.

This milestone is represented by the first 100 tonnes of steel being cut for the vessel, and also marks the shipyard is ready to advance with the construction of the ship.

Ingalls received a $2.4bn fixed-price-incentive contract in October from the US Navy for the detail design and construction of Fallujah. 

Naval Sea Systems Command Amphibious Warfare Program Executive Office Ships programme manager Captain Cedric McNeal said: “We are excited to announce that fabrication has started on the fourth ship of the America class. We look forward to achieving future production milestones as we work to deliver this versatile and capable warship to the Fleet.”  

The LHA Replacement Program, also called USS America (LHA 6) class, is intended to replace the original five Tarawa-class LHAs.

All the five Tarawa-class LHAs have all been decommissioned.

The multi-functional, America-class ship is capable of operating in a high density, multi-threat environment.

Besides being the second Flight I ship, LHA 9 will have the aviation capability of the America-class design, and the surface assault capability of a well deck and a large flight deck intended for F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and MV-22 Osprey aircraft.

Furthermore, LHA9 will feature additional cargo stowage capacities and have flexible command and control capability.

HII’s Pascagoula shipyard is currently involved in the production of the Bougainville (LHA 8), Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), Ted Stevens (DDG 128), Jeremiah Denton (DDG 129), and George M. McNeal (DDG 131), Richard M. McCool Jr (LPD 29), Harrisburg (LPD 30) and Pittsburgh (LPD 31).