The ceremony was attended by DDG 51 class programme manager captain Seth Miller, the ship’s namesake niece Diane Hawkins, and sponsors Amy Looney and Ryan Manion.
Miller said: “Laying the keel for our nation’s 72nd Arleigh Burke destroyer, and building a ship named for a man who embodied the spirit of commitment and strength, this is a truly special occasion.”
The 509ft-long destroyer will have a beam length of 59ft, a displacement of approximately 9,200t, and will be able to operate at speeds of more than 30 knots.
DDG 122 will be built in the Flight IIA configuration. It will be equipped with the Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System, which includes an integrated air and missile defence capability.
The system will ensure a quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability for anti-air warfare.
The navy is expected to induct the vessel into its fleet in 2022.
Additionally, four other Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), Carl M Levin (DDG 120), Harvey C Barnum Jr (DDG 124) and Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127), as well as Zumwalt class destroyer Lyndon B Johnson (DDG 1002) are currently under construction with BIW.
The company is also under contract to build six additional Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in Flight III configuration. These destroyers will have improved air and missile defence capabilities.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare and anti-air warfare missions.