The U.S. Navy has exercised a $492 million contract option
to the Avondale Alliance for construction of LPD 19, the first of a four-part series of amphibious ships planned to be built at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. Funding for LPD 19 and LPD 20 – the program’s third and fourth production ships – was submitted in the fiscal year 2000 budget, and fully authorized and appropriated by Congress last year. The 12 ships of the LPD 17 San Antonio Class will replace 40 amphibious ships scheduled to be retired from service for the U.S. Marine Corps. Bath Iron Works is scheduled to cut the first steel for LPD 19 in January 2001 for an August 2004 delivery.