The US Navy has launched an amphibious transport dock, USS San Diego (LPD 22), at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding’s Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

US Navy Program Executive Office Ships LPD 17 program manager Jay Stefany said that San Diego was the sixth San Antonio Class amphibious transport dock ship.

“The ship was more than 75% complete prior to launch, more complete than any other ship of the class at this point in construction,” Stefany said.

San Diego, which can accommode 720 troops, will be used to transport and deploy combat and support elements of marine expeditionary units and brigades for amphibious assault, special operations and expeditionary warfare missions.

The ship can also transport and deploy conventional landing craft and expeditionary fighting vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

USS San Diego will be officially christened in June and is expected to be commissioned into active naval service in 2011.