Construction on the US Navy's future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) has started with a keel laying ceremony held at General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works shipyard, Maine, US.
The destroyer, which is the company's 36th Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile, is named in honour of retired US Navy captain Thomas Hudner Jr, a Korean War aviator and Medal of Honor recipient.
Bath Iron Works DDG 51 programme manager Ed Kenyon said: "Over the coming months, we will continue to build the Thomas Hudner with knowledge and expertise honed over the decades.
"She will be a true and steady vessel, the pride of our Navy."
During the ceremony, the initials were keel laid on the 3,000t, heavily outfitted mid-section of the ship, which contains its main machinery spaces.
Said to be the 'heart' of the destroyer, the unit is nearly a third of the entire ship, and was recently moved from the shipyard's Ultra Hall construction facility onto the building ways.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers feature the Aegis combat system and SPY-1D multi-function phased array radar, and are designed to carry out peacetime operations, crisis management, and sea control activities to enhance US naval capabilities.
Powered by four gas-turbine propulsion plants, the 509ft-long multi-mission combatants have a displacement capacity of 9,500t, can cruise at a speed of 30k and are equipped with advanced sensors, as well as weapons systems to engage anti-ship missile threats.