The start of construction of the US Navy’s San Antonio-class (LPD-17) amphibious transport ship, the future USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28), has been marked with a keel laying ceremony at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) yard.
Fort Lauderdale’s sponsor Meredith Berger authenticated the keel, after previously serving as deputy chief of staff to the secretary of the navy.
HHI LPD programme manager Steve Sloan said: “The keel authentication is an important milestone in a ship’s life, as we lay the foundation upon which this great ship will be built.
“LPD 28, like all ships in the class, is being built to the highest quality standards with outstanding cost and schedule performance.
“The LPD team is energised and motivated to make this ship the best yet. Fort Lauderdale will be strong and capable, because our men and women in the navy and Marine Corps deserve nothing less.”
LPD-28 will be the US Navy’s 12th San Antonio-class ship and is the first navy vessel to bear the name of the Florida city.
Fort Lauderdale is currently slated for delivery in 2021.
HHI has delivered 11 LPD-17 ships to the navy to date. The latest, USS Portland (LPD 27), was handed over last month.
The company is currently procuring long lead-time material and advance procurement in support of LPD-29.
The 684ft-long San Antonio-class ships are designed to support a variety of amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions.
They are capable of operating independently or as part of amphibious readiness groups, expeditionary strike groups or joint task forces.
Image: Ship’s Sponsor Meredith Berger traces her initials onto a steel plate that will be welded inside the amphibious transport ship Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28). Photo: courtesy of Lance Davis / HII.