Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (NYSE:HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division officially started fabrication of the America-class amphibious assault ship Bougainville (LHA 8) on Monday, Oct. 15.
The start of fabrication signifies that the shipyard is ready for sustained production and ready to move forward with the construction of the ship.
“Our shipbuilders are proud to continue Ingalls’ legacy in amphibious shipbuilding,” said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. “The start of Bougainville, our 16th large-deck amphib, allows us to continue the serial production of these great ships. Working with the Navy and Marine Corps, we will take advantage of our hot production line and a healthy nationwide supplier base to continue providing these much-needed ships for the defense of our nation and the world’s sea lanes.”
Bougainville will retain the aviation capability of the America-class design while adding the surface assault capability of a well deck. The well deck will give the U.S. Marine Corps the ability to house and launch two landing craft air cushion (LCAC) hovercraft or one landing craft utility (LCU) as needed during their maritime missions. Other additions to Bougainville include a larger flight deck configured for Joint Strike Fighter and Osprey V-22 aircraft, which can be used for surface and aviation assaults. The additional area on the flight deck comes in part from a smaller deck house and an additional sponson.
LHA 8 will be the second Navy vessel to bear the name Bougainville. The name commemorates the Bougainville Campaign that took place during World War II. During the campaign, which lasted from 1943 to 1944, Allied forces secured a strategic airfield from Japan in the northern Solomon Islands, helping the allies break the Japanese stronghold in the South Pacific.