The US Navy has awarded a $3bn contract to Huntington Ingalls Industries' (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division for the detail design and construction of the third America-class large-deck amphibious landing helicopter assault (LHA 8) warship, which is to be named USS Bougainville.
The award follows the original long-lead material contract for the ship that was awarded to the company on 30 June last year.
Ingalls Shipbuilding president Brian Cuccias said: “Our shipbuilders do an outstanding job building large-deck amphibious warships.
“We look forward to incorporating 50 years of amphibious shipbuilding knowledge into the navy’s newest assault ship, and providing the sailors and marines a complex and highly capable product to perform their missions of freedom.”
Construction of Bougainville is slated to commence in the fourth quarter of next year and is expected to be delivered in 2024.
HII’s LHA 8 will be the second US Navy vessel to carry the name Bougainville, which commemorates the Bougainville Campaign that took place during the World War II.
The 855ft-long America-class LHAs are intended to replace the Tarawa-class vessels.
They have approximately 43,745t full load (44,449 metric tonnes) capacity and can cruise at speeds in excess of 20k.
LHA 8 features an added surface-assault capability comprising a well-deck, a larger flight deck designed to accommodate the F-35 joint strike fighter and tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey aircraft.
The well-deck will enable the US Marine Corps (USMC) to accommodate and launch two landing craft air cushion (LCAC) hovercraft or one landing craft utility (LCU) as required during maritime missions.
Ingalls previously delivered the first ship in the class America (LHA 6) in 2014, while the second ship Tripoli (LHA 7) is currently under construction at the company's shipyard.
Tripoli was launched on 1 May and is due to be christened on 16 September.
Image: Artist rendering of the American-class amphibious landing helicopter assault ship, Bougainville (LHA 8). Photo: courtesy of HII.