The U.S. Navy today awarded a $1.37 billion construction contract to Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC)
to construct the eighth ship of the USS Wasp (LHD 1) class of multipurpose amphibious assault ships. Construction of LHD 8 is expected to begin in May 2003 at Ingalls Operations, which is part of Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector.
This contract includes $360 million previously awarded for advance work on the ship, including design, equipment procurement and fabricating selected ship assemblies. Ingalls has delivered seven LHDs into the fleet, the most recent being USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), which was commissioned in June 2001.
"This LHD 8 contract award is great news for our company and our Ship Systems sector," said Dr. Philip A. Dur, president of Northrop Grumman Ship Systems
. "Our engineers have been preparing for this work since the advance design contract was awarded in July 2000. This new ship will be the most advanced LHD in the fleet, with major enhancements that will provide an improved platform to support the Navy-Marine Corps team in the defense of our interests and our freedom."
The most significant enhancement for LHD 8 will be the introduction of gas turbine propulsion, replacing classical steam propulsion in previous ships of the class. The challenge for the propulsion system design team has been the upgrading of specifications to include two 35,000 horsepower turbines, which will be the largest ever in U.S. military marine applications.
Other major enhancements include a controllable pitch propeller, allowing the ship to change speeds through the adjustment of propeller blade pitch. Also, a reverse osmosis system will be installed for the ship's water supply. The ship will have six diesel-electric generators and will use a new zonal system to distribute electrical power.