General Dynamics Bath Iron Works has laid the keel for the US Navy's Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, Rafael Peralta (DDG 115).
As part of the ceremony, work was started on the 3,000t, heavily outfitted mid-section of the destroyer, which spans roughly a third of the overall size, including key machinery spaces.
Bath Iron Works DDG 51 programme manager Ed Kenyon said: "While this keel-laying marks an important step in our construction process, we are focused today in welcoming the Peraltas as the newest members of our Bath Iron Works family.
"Over the coming months, we will continue to build the Rafael Peralta with knowledge and expertise honed over the decades. She will be a true and steady vessel, and will reflect the spirit of her namesake."
Furthermore, Bath Iron Works is planning to embark on the construction of another Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), on 31 October.
Capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously, the Arleigh Burke-class multi-mission combatants are aimed at executing a range of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection.
Integrating an all-steel construction and gas turbine propulsion, the new vessels are equipped with the Aegis combat system, vertical launching, an advanced ASW system and two embarked SH-60 helicopters, as well as advanced anti-aircraft missiles and Tomahawk anti-ship and land-attack missiles.
The vessels, which support carrier battle groups, surface action groups, amphibious groups and replenishment groups, offer a complete range of anti-submarine (ASW), anti-air and anti-surface capabilities.