Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division has laid the keel for the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class Flight III destroyer USS Jeremiah Denton (DDG 129).

The keel laying ceremony was held at the company’s shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, US on 16 August.

It marks the joining of the modular components of ship at the land level.

During DDG 129’s keel-laying event, the initials of ship’s sponsors were etched onto the keel plate.

The USS Jeremiah Denton is co-sponsored by Madeline Denton Doak and Mary Denton Lewis, daughters of the ship’s namesake.

The future DDG 129 has been named to honour the former US Senator Jeremiah Denton, Jr. He was a Vietnam War veteran and recipient of the US Navy Cross award.

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Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships DDG 51 class programme manager captain Seth Miller said: “We are honoured to build a ship named for late Senator Denton and to have his family present to celebrate this important milestone on path to delivering another Flight III destroyer to fleet.

“The USS Jeremiah Denton is the navy’s next great warship, which will provide power projection with latest advanced combat capability.”

The future DDG 129 features Flight III upgrade, which is the latest Flight upgrade after Flight I, II and IIA ships.

The Flight III upgrade on the Arleigh-Burke class or DDG 51 destroyers is based on the AN/SPY-6(V)1 air and missile defence radar (AMDR).

It also includes upgrades to the ship’s electrical power and cooling capacity.

Currently, HII is working on four other DDG 51 destroyers including USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123), Jack H Lucas (DDG 125), Ted Stevens (DDG 128) and George M Neal (DDG 131).