Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division has commenced fabrication of the US Navy’s amphibious transport dock ship, the future USS Pittsburgh (LPD 31).

The start of the work on LPD 31 was marked by the cutting of the first 100t of steel on 7 September.

Programme Executive Office (PEO) Ships Amphibious Warfare Programme Office programme manager Cedric McNeal said: “We are proud to have the future USS Pittsburgh under construction, the fifth ship to bear the name.

“With this ship, we will continue to honour the legacy of the great city of Pittsburgh and the state of Pennsylvania.”

LPD 31 is the fifth vessel to bear this name. The first vessel was an ironclad gunboat, USS Pittsburgh, that served during the American Civil War.

The future USS Pittsburgh is the second San Antonio-class vessel to have landing platform dock (LPD) Flight II production configuration.

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Once constructed, LPD 31 will be capable of supporting various operations of the US Navy and US Marine Corps (USMC).

The San Antonio LPDs are used for transporting USMC, their equipment and supplies, with the help of embarked landing craft air cushion and amphibious assault vehicles.

The 684ft-long and 105ft-wide vessels are a significant part of the US Navy’s 21st century amphibious assault force.

Furthermore, LPDs can also support the Marine Air Ground Task Force in conducting a wide range of missions including power projection, sea control, expeditionary missions, amphibious operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.