BAE Systems’ San Diego shipyard has docked the U.S. Navy’s 40,500-ton Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) in its Pride of California floating drydock this week.
The shipyard team will now spend the next 18 months performing maintenance and modernization work aboard the 25-year-old ship.
The dry-docking of USS Boxer was the first time the company’s San Diego shipyard used its 950-foot-long Pride of California drydock to service a large-deck warship. The shipyard has recently completed another major milestone for the drydock: the first simultaneous docking of two U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers – USS Stethem (DDG 63) and USS Decatur (DDG 73) – on the West Coast.
Installed in 2017, the Pride of California is 950 feet long, 205 feet wide and has a lifting capacity of 55,000 tons making it the largest drydock in California.
In April, BAE Systems received a $200.3 million contract from the U.S. Navy to drydock and modernize the 843-foot-long USS Boxer. Under this contract, BAE Systems is upgrading the ship to support and operate F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) jets on-board; perform hull, tank and mechanical work; and make other shipboard improvements.
The shipyard is expected to complete its work aboard the 25-year-old ship in December 2021. The contract includes options that, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value to $207.48 million.
USS Boxer (LHD-4)
USS Boxer (LHD-4) is a Wasp-class landing helicopter dock (LHD)-variant amphibious assault ship of the U.S. Navy. She is the sixth U.S. ship to bear the name of the original HMS Boxer, which was captured from the British during the War of 1812.
Boxer was constructed at Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi, launched 13 August 1993, and commissioned 11 February 1995.
Based on the Tarawa class, with modifications to operate more advanced aircraft and landing craft, the Wasp class is capable of transporting almost the full strength of a U.S. Marine Corps Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and landing them in hostile territory via landing craft or helicopters as well as providing air support via AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft or F-35B Lightning II stealth strike-fighters.