Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard has launched the US Navy's future San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, USS Portland (LPD 27).
The 684ft-long vessel transited from its land level facility to the drydock, which was then flooded to let the vessel float off the blocks.
Expected to be delivered to the US Navy in late 2017, the 105ft-wide ship has a displacement capacity of 24,900t and can provide combat support for the US Navy and US Marine Corps.
The vessel constitutes the US Navy's 11th San Antonio class vessel, which is capable of accommodating 800 troops.
The vessels will serve as the launch pad to two Sikorsky CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters, six Bell AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters, four Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters or two Boeing Bell MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft on its flight deck.
Additionally, the vessel will feature enhanced fighting capabilities, such as advanced command-and-control suite and increased lift-capabilities for carrying vehicles cargo.
The vessel will also help transport combat and support elements of marine expeditionary units and brigades.
Under the LPD 17 programme, the ships are set to replace the US Navy's ageing LST 1179 Newport-class tank landing ships, LKA 113 Charleston-class amphibious cargo ships, the Anchorage-class dock landing ships (LSD 36) and Austin-class ships (LPD 4).
The LPD 27 vessel is anticipated to undergo its first phase of sea trials soon.
Image: An artist's impression of USS Portland (LPD 27) vessel. Photo: courtesy of US Navy.