Plagued by delays and a project management team shake
-up, the LPD 17 program has "turned the corner" said Philip Dur, president of Northrop Grumman Corp. Ship Systems, when speaking earlier this week at a Washington, D.C. conference on raising FY '03 Navy procurement funding. This would seem to be the case, as the company announced that it achieved an integral milestone in the construction of San Antonio, when it completed early landing of all four main propulsion engines and three of five power generators on their foundations.
In addition, 55 of the 210 units have been erected on San Antonio, the lead ship in the Navy's new LPD 17 Class of amphibious transport dock ships.
The ship is scheduled for delivery in November 2004. While being erected in New Orleans, sections of San Antonio are also being built at Northrop Grumman's Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss., facilities.
"This program is of vital importance to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps," said Dur. "We are now well
on our way to building the Navy's finest amphibious transport dock ship. We are striving to outperform our customer's expectations."
As prime contractor for the LPD 17 program, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems leads a team that includes General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works
, Raytheon Electronic Systems and Intergraph Corporation. San Antonio's main engines include four Colt-Pielstick turbo-charged diesel engines of 10,400 HP each. Each set of two engines is paired with a Philadelphia Gear Corp
. main reduction gear, which in turn drives two shafts with Bird Johnson five-blade controllable pitch propellers. A new high-power, low-drag propeller
hub design provides improved propulsion efficiency. The ship's top speed is in excess of 22 knots.
San Antonio's electrical power will be provided by five 2500 KW Caterpillar diesel generator sets. The ship also features all-electric auxiliaries, including electric heating and electric water heaters for
improved crew habitability, reliability and reduced sailor maintenance. The LPD 17 amphibious transport dock ships will be 684 feet long and 105 feet wide. All 12 ships of the LPD-17 Class will be the
functional replacements for 32 LPD 4, LSD 36, LKA 113 and LST 1179 classes of amphibious ship
s, providing a substantial cost savings to the Navy.
Their amphibious warfare mission involves rapidly embarking, transporting and landing elements of an assault by helicopter, large hovercraft
and amphibious vehicle. The ships will have a crew of 361
officers and sailors and will transport more than 700 combat-ready Marines.
Four ships have been awarded in the 12-ship program to date, with eight additional ships planned over the next several years. Start of production of LPD 17 followed a 36-month period of design, material procurement and engineering. Through the use of extensive automation, advanced materials and equipment, and reduced crew size, the ships are designed for the lowest possible operating and
maintenance costs during their lifetime in the fleet. More than $4 billion in total ownership cost savings have been identified thus far for the 12-ship class over its 40-year life span.
Pre-fabrication of New Orleans (LPD 18) began in February and her keel is scheduled to be laid in September.