Northrop Grumman Corporation
(NYSE: NOC) and the U.S. Navy today commemorated the keel laying for
USS New Orleans (LPD 18), the second of 12 ships in the Navy's San
Antonio-class of amphibious transport dock ships being built by
Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector.
A photo accompanying this releases is available at:
The ship was assigned the name New Orleans in recognition of
Louisiana's largest city and to honor one of the world's major ports.
LPD 18 is being built at the company's Avondale Operations
"We know that this ship, forged with the strength and sweat of
the men and women of Avondale Operations, will represent our city
gallantly as it carries out its mission," said New Orleans Mayor Ray
Nagin, the principal speaker for the traditional Navy ceremony.
"Avondale is a center of excellence for our metropolitan area, and we
are proud to have you here and we are proud of the work you do because
you are not just building ships, but we are simultaneously building the
New Orleans metropolitan economy."
"There has been no shortage of political commitment on a
national and local level to work with Northrop Grumman Ship Systems to
make life better for our citizens and to help Ship Systems become a
more competitive shipbuilder," said Jefferson Parish President Tim
Coulon. "Not only does Northrop Grumman contribute to the national
defense effort, but to the economy of our parish and region, and our
economy needs to grow on a regional level."
Keel laying, the long-recognized tradition of laying down the
backbone and critical strength member of a ship, marks the traditional
beginning of a ship's construction. Start of construction of LPD 18
follows several months of design, engineering and material procurement,
as well as initial prefabrication work.
"This new USS New Orleans, because more than any of her
predecessors, really represents and embodies the future, not just of
the Navy and the Marine Corps, but also the future of New Orleans and
Southeast Louisiana," said U.S. Rep. David Vitter of Louisiana's 1st
Congressional District. "This ship represents new processes, new
technology, new design work and new engineering that will clearly serve
the Navy, the Marines and the country well, but will also be the source
of an exciting future for our part of the world."
Through the use of extensive automation, advanced materials and
equipment and reduced crew size, these ships are being produced for the
lowest possible operating and maintenance costs over their 40-year
expected lifetime in the fleet.
"The nation expects great things as we continue forward to
bring these great fighting ships to the force in support of our Marines
and our nation," said Mitchell B. Waldman, Deputy Assistant to the
Secretary of the Navy (Ships). "It is only through these great
amphibious ships that Northrop Grumman Ship Systems produces that
allows the Marines to do their job of being effective anywhere in the
world. And as we continue to go forward in bringing this ship to life,
the Navy and the Marine Corps will use these warfighting capabilities
that are needed, not just in the war against terrorism, but in defense
of the nation as a whole."
"LPD 18 is the namesake for what will be a magnificent new
ship," said Dr. Philip A. Dur, Northrop Grumman corporate
president and president of the company's Ship Systems sector. "It will
be imbued with the personality and spirit of this great city and she's
built to deliver combat-ready Marines who will deny sanctuary to
international terrorists wherever they lurk and wherever they hide.
Our proud shipbuilders here at Avondale are also proud New Orleanians
and will take special pride as they build this fine ship."
The mission of the LPD 17-class ships is to embark, transport
and land elements of a U.S. Marine landing force in an assault by
helicopters, landing craft and amphibious vehicles to conduct an
amphibious warfare mission
. The ship will have a crew of 361 and can
transport up to 700 Marines.
The LPD 17 amphibious transport dock ships are 684 feet long
(208.4 meters) and 105 feet wide (31.9 meters), and will be the
functional replacement for 36 Navy ships in the LPD 4-, LSD 36-, LKA
113- and LDT 1179-classes of amphibious ships.
"From this great and capable platform of USS New Orleans, the
Navy and Marine Corp team will project the power of our nation around
the world and carry us wherever we need to go and will be a crucial
part of our sea base," said Lt. Gen. Dennis M. McCarthy, USMCR,
commander, Marine Forces Reserve, New Orleans.
Three previous ships have borne the name New Orleans in honor
of the "Crescent City." The first U.S. Navy ship commissioned USS New
Orleans (CL-22) was a 3,769-ton cruiser that was built in 1898. It
supported naval operations off the coast of Cuba in the
Spanish-American War and performed convoy escort duty in World War I.
The second USS New Orleans (CA-32), a heavy cruiser commissioned in
1934, earned 17 Battle Stars in World War II after surviving the attack
on Pearl Harbor.
The third USS New Orleans (LPH-11) was a 600-foot amphibious
assault vessel that served during the Vietnam War and was the command
ship for minesweeping operations in the Persian Gulf during Operation
Desert Storm. The ship also plucked several command modules out of the
sea during NASA's Apollo space program, and most recently was used for
location work during the filming of the movie "Apollo 13."
As prime contractor for the LPD 17 program, Northrop Grumman
Ship Systems leads a team comprised of Raytheon Electronic Systems and
To date, four ships have been awarded in the 12-ship program
and are under construction at all three Ship Systems locations: New
Orleans, and Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss. Value of the four ships
awarded to date is in excess of $2 billion. Approximately 2,500 Ship
Systems employees are working on the program.
Eight additional LPD 17-class ships are planned over the next
several years. The first ship in the new class, USS San Antonio
17), is 50 percent unit complete and is scheduled for delivery in the
fall of 2004. USS New Orleans will be delivered in 2005.