The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a $2.4 billion fixed-price incentive contract for the detail design and construction of the amphibious assault ship, LHA 6. Work will be performed primarily at the company's shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., and ship delivery is scheduled for 2012.
"This contract award reinforces the U.S. Navy's confidence that we have recovered from the effects of Hurricane Katrina and are capable of meeting the warfighters' needs in a timely and cost effective manner," said Philip Teel
, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector. "We are proud to have been the sole provider of these ships since USS Tarawa (LHA 1), commissioned in 1976.
"Geared around mobility and the need to quickly project naval power throughout the globe, the LHA program is essential for meeting 21st Century security threats," said U.S. Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi
. "The program is a big part of our Gulf Coast's ongoing economic recovery as well. Since Hurricane Katrina, we've seen many national and international companies show confidence in our state's skilled workforce, creating hundreds of new jobs. This contract is a reaffirmation of Mississippi's longstanding shipbuilding industry and the professional men and women who continue that tradition. I know the U.S. Navy and the American taxpayer will once again be well served by Northrop Grumman, and I look forward to the day this ship is delivered."
The LHA 6 will replace one of the aging LHA 1 class of amphibious assault ships. Like its predecessors, it will be able to operate as the flagship for an expeditionary strike group. Ships of this type may also play a key role in the Maritime Pre-Positioning Force (Future). Northrop Grumman has built five LHAs as well as seven USS Wasp (LHD 1) class ships. The Pascagoula shipyard is currently building an eighth LHD, Makin Island.
LHA 6 design modifications optimize aviation operations and support activities. Removal of the well deck provides for an extended hangar deck with two wider high bay areas, each fitted with an overhead crane for aircraft maintenance. Other enhancements include a reconfigurable command and control complex, a hospital facility, additional aviation fuel capacity, and numerous aviation support spaces.