Ingall’s Shipbuilding, a division of HII and the US’ prime naval supplier, announced that the USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29), a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, has completed sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico.

There, the auxiliary vessel tested all its systems in preparation for its delivery to the Marine Corps in spring 2024.

“Our shipbuilders have worked hard to get LPD 29 to sea,” Ingalls’ ship program manager Davianne Stokes stated. “We are absolutely dedicated to get this important asset into the hands of our Navy and Marine Corps partners.”

The San Antonio-class landing platform dock is the latest class of amphibious force ship for the US Navy.

It is designed to transport the US Marine Corps ‘mobility triad’, including advanced amphibious assault vehicles (AAAVs), landing craft air cushion, and the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, to required spots around the world.

The shipyard was awarded a $1.43bn detail design and construction contract for Richard M. McCool Jr. in February 2018 and the keel was laid in April 2019.

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By GlobalData

In March 2023, Ingalls received a $1.3bn modification to a previously awarded contract from the US Navy for the procurement of the detail design and construction of LPD 32, named Philadelphia, the 16th ship in the San Antonio class and the third LPD Flight II.

The LPD 28 and 29 ships incorporate few design changes as part of the transition from Flight I to Flight II class modernisation.

LPD 29 is a 684 feet (ft) long, 105ft-wide ship that provides three vehicle decks of 25,402ft² and two cargo holds, with 25,548ft³ for bulk cargo and ammunition magazines in addition to the 1,234m³ for cargo fuel.

Accommodation is provided for two LCAC, 700 troops, and 14 new AAAVs. Each LCAC can carry 60 tonnes of cargo and vehicles, including the M1A2 Abrams tank at speeds of up to 40 knots.

Two Mark 31 Mod 0 launchers can launch the fire-and-forget Raytheon rolling airframe missile (RAM). The RAM (RIM 116) surface-to-air missile has dual-mode radio frequency / infrared guidance and is designed to engage anti-ship missiles within a range of 8 kilometres.

Ingalls Shipbuilding has delivered 12 San Antonio-class ships and currently has three LPDs under construction, including Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29); Harrisburg (LPD 30), the first Flight II LPD; and Pittsburgh (LPD 31). LPD Flight II is the next generation amphibious ship to replace Whidbey Island (LSD 41) and Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) classes of dock landing ships.