Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division has started the fabrication of the U.S. Navy’s first Flight II San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, the future USS Harrisburg (LPD 30).
The start of fabrication signifies that the first 100 tons of steel have been cut.
“LPD 30 is the start of an exciting new era for the San Antonio class,” said Steve Sloan, Ingalls LPD program manager. “The start of fabrication for Harrisburg marks the beginning of the LPD Flight II program. Through learning structured around consistent production, we’ve been able to identify design and construction modifications to make future ships in the class more affordable while fulfilling Navy and Marine Corps requirements.”
LPD 30 will be the second Navy vessel named after the city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The first was a troopship acquired by the Navy during World War I that served in commission from May 29, 1918 to Sept. 25, 1919. That ship also served with the Navy in the Spanish-American War under another name. In addition to being the capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg is home to a number of Department of Defense facilities including the Naval Support Activity, Mechanicsburg.
The $1.47 billion contract for the ship was announced last year. A $1.5 billion contract modification for the construction of the second vessel, LPD 31, was awarded earlier this month. The two contracted ships, LPD 30 and LPD 31, are an evolution of the dock landing platform that strengthens the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ needs in future warfare.
The LPD 17 Flight II San Antonio class vessels, initially called LX(R)-class amphibious warfare ships, are intended to replace the Navy’s current Whidbey Island-class and Harpers Ferry-class landing dock ships (LSD).
Utilizing the LPD 17 class’ proven hull, this LPD derivative is highly adaptable and, like the first 13 ships in the class, will be used to accomplish a full range of military operations—from major combat to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The ship’s versatility—from its well deck, flight deck and hospital facilities to its self-defense and survivability features—provides a viable platform for America’s global defense needs.
The San Antonio class is a major part of the Navy’s 21st-century amphibious assault force. The 684-foot-long, 105-foot-wide ships are used to embark and land Marines, their equipment and supplies ashore via air cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft such as the MV-22 Osprey. The ships support a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) across the spectrum of operations, conducting amphibious and expeditionary missions of sea control and power projection to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions throughout the first half of the 21st century.
Ingalls has delivered 11 San Antonio-class ships to the Navy and has two more under construction. The future USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28) was launched last month and is expected to be delivered in 2021; the keel for future USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29) was laid last year. These two vessels act as a “transitional ship” between the current LPD 17 San Antonio-class design and the Flight II design.