BAE Systems has been contracted by the US Navy to upgrade its San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, USS New Orleans (LPD 18).

The $36.7m contract includes options, which if exercised will bring the total contract value to $51.5m.

Under the contract, BAE Systems will carry out structural and tank repairs, propulsion system repairs, and ventilation and auxiliary systems repairs, as well as preservation of the crew habitability systems and spaces on the vessel.

"We look forward to working aboard the USS New Orleans again, this time in our new drydock."

BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair vice-president and general manager Bob Koerber said: “We look forward to working aboard the USS New Orleans again, this time in our new drydock.

“Our previous experience with the ship and the outstanding skills of our employees and teammates will help us to provide timely repairs and upgrades, and return the ship back to the fleet in great shape.”

The company is expected to complete work on the ship in 2018.

Work at the company’s San Diego shipyard will be supported by a 55,000 lifting-tonne, 950ft-long drydock, including the existing 26,000 lifting-tonne drydock, and another drydock at the site.

The combination of three drydocks will cater to the navy’s operational requirements, while keeping the ships homeported for extensive repairs.

Commissioned in 2007, the 684ft-long USS New Orleans displaces approximately 24,900t and is driven by four sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick Diesel engines. It can operate at a speed of 22k.

The vessel can accommodate two landing craft air cushions (LCAC) or one landing craft, mechanized and utility – LCM / LCU, and 14 expeditionary fighting vehicles with landing platform for all helicopters and the MV-22 Osprey.

In 2012, BAE Systems received a $95m contract modification to repair USS Orleans, the USS Milius (DDG 69), the USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), and the USS Cape St George (CG 71).

Image: USS New Orleans to undergo repair and maintenance. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo.