One of the most
technologically-advanced and sailor-friendly U.S. Navy warships ever
built will sail away from Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC)
shipyard on Saturday morning, Dec. 3. The amphibious transport dock
ship San Antonio (LPD 17) represents the first in a class that will
form a solid foundation for the Navy's new expeditionary warfare
"This ship represents the future of our U.S. Naval fighting
forces," said Philip Teel, president of Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems
sector. "LPD 17's multiple expeditionary functions, her improved
survivability and combat readiness and the many quality-of-life
upgrades result in a ship that will provide a formidable addition to
the expeditionary force.
"This crew, along with our shipbuilders, rode LPD 17 through
Hurricane Katrina while dockside and relied upon her capabilities
during one of the worst natural disasters in our nation's memory," Teel
continued. "LPD 17's departure represents a significant milestone and
accomplishment in our company's road to recovery."
The LPD 17 class, 684 feet long and 105 feet wide, will replace
the functions of the LPD 4, LSD 36, LKA 113 and LDT 1179 classes of
amphibious ships. This new class of ship affords the Navy's
Expeditionary Strike Group with the technology and flexibility to
launch and recover two amphibious Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCAC), to
operate an array of rotary-wing aircraft and to carry and launch 14
U.S. Marine Corps expeditionary fighting vehicles.
Technological and design advances provide benefits such as
enhanced survivability, state-of-the-art command-and-control
capability, modernized weapons stations and enhanced ergonomics, which
greatly improves quality of life at sea for the sailors and marines.
This includes "sit-up" berths that allow occupants to sleep
horizontally or sit up vertically to read or write. Each berth also has
40 percent more storage space than other berths.
"Our shipbuilding team used their skills and innovative
expertise to overcome many challenges in the design, development and
construction of San Antonio," said Bat Robinson, sector vice president
and general manager of expeditionary warfare programs for Northrop
Grumman Ship Systems. "We have taken advantage and merged the
versatility of our Gulf Coast facilities -- from the traditional steel
fabrication and associated ship-integration craft work in New Orleans
and Pascagoula to our unique composite manufacturing in Gulfport -- to
provide a 21st-century assembly process that will offer unprecedented
life-cycle affordability and war fighting capabilities to our Navy."
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) is the ship's sponsor and
she will help "bring the ship to life" at commissioning ceremonies in
Ingleside, Texas, on Jan. 14. Capt. Jonathan M. Padfield, a native of
Salt Lake City, is San Antonio's commanding officer.
"I have been an amphibious sailor for the majority of my 22
years of naval service," said Capt. Padfield. "This is the ship we have
been dreaming about and looking forward to for years. This ship
combines an increased Marine Corps footprint and supportability
function with 21st-century technology. This platform, along with her
sister ships and remarkably trained sailors and marines, will win
Northrop Grumman will build at least nine ships in the class
and the first five are under contract. New Orleans (LPD 18), Mesa Verde
(LPD 19), Green Bay (LPD 20) and New York (LPD 21) are each in various
stages of construction at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems locations in
New Orleans, and Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.