The US Navy has awarded a $200m cost-plus-fixed-fee advance procurement contract to Huntington Ingalls Industries' Ingalls Shipbuilding division for a new San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship.
In July 2014, the US Senate Subcommittee approved $800m to support the procurement of a 12th landing platform / dock (LPD) class amphibious warship, LPD 28.
The latest contract will see the purchase of long-lead-time material and equipment, including main engines, diesel generators, deck equipment, shafting, propellers, valves, and other long-lead systems for the vessel.
Ingalls Shipbuilding president Brian Cuccias said: "This funding demonstrates the priority the navy places on Ingalls getting started on this important ship.
"Our shipbuilders have made great strides in the LPD programme, and we are performing well. Building LPD 28 is key to maintaining a reliable supplier base, and leverages our hot production line, enabling our team of shipbuilders to build this ship and future amphibious warships as efficiently and as affordably as possible."
With a displacement capacity of 25,000t, the 684ft-long, 105ft-wide LPD 17-class ships have been designed to combat and support elements of marine expeditionary units and brigades.
Aimed at providing modern, sea-based platforms for the US Navy and Marine Corps, the LPD 17 programme boosts the services' capability while operating with 21st century platforms, including Boeing Bell MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft on its flight deck.
Capable of carrying a crew of 800, the ships can transport air cushion (LCAC) or conventional landing crafts, as well as support amphibious assault, special operations and expeditionary warfare missions.
The tenth San Antonio-class LPD, John P Murtha (LPD 26), is said to be the most complete and lowest-cost LPD in the programme.
Image: The Ingalls-built amphibious transport dock Somerset (LPD 25) sails through the Gulf of Mexico during builder's sea trials. Photo: courtesy of Steve Blount.