Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced the successful sea trials of the company’s 10th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, John P. Murtha (LPD 26). The ship, built at HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division, spent four days in the Gulf of Mexico last week with Ingalls’ test and trials team operating the ship and performing more than 200 test events.
“Overall the builder’s trial was successful, and the ship performed well,” said Kari Wilkinson, Ingalls’ LPD 26 program manager. “This shipbuilding milestone is another accomplishment for a seasoned LPD production and test team that is ready to continue the learning on future LPD platforms. This team understands the important mission LPDs provide to our nation, and we look forward to delivering another fine, much-needed asset to our sailors and Marines.”
Major evolutions during builder’s trials include the anchor-handling demonstration, ballast/deballast demonstration, detect-to-engage exercise, running the ship at full power and steering.
Shipbuilders will now prepare John P. Murtha for acceptance trials in April to demonstrate the same tests and operational success to the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). The ship is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in the second quarter of 2016.
“LPD 26 experienced an excellent builders trials,” said George S. Jones, Ingalls’ vice president of operations. “This is another fine testament to the dedicated men and women of Ingalls shipbuilding and their shipbuilding talents. The John P. Murtha is a quality ship, and the ability to deliver her on schedule later this year is a result of great craftsmen and the outstanding Navy partnership we have with the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Gulf Coast
LPD 26 is named in honor of the late John P. Murtha, who represented Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District from 1974 to 2010. In addition to his tenured history in the House of Representatives
, Murtha was also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and Reserves. He served for 37 years and received the Bronze Star with Combat “V,” two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry for his service in the Vietnam War. He retired as a colonel in 1990.
Ingalls has built and delivered nine ships in the San Antonio class. In addition to John P. Murtha, Ingalls has the 11th LPD, Portland (LPD 27), under construction. Portland launched on Feb. 13 and will be christened on May 21. Ingalls received a $200 million advance procurement contract for the 12th ship in the class, LPD 28, in December 2015.
The San Antonio class is the latest addition to the Navy’s 21st century amphibious assault force. The 684-foot-long, 105-foot-wide ships are used to embark and land Marines, their equipment and supplies ashore via air cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft such as the MV-22 Osprey. The ships support a Marine Air Ground Task Force across the spectrum of operations, conducting amphibious and expeditionary missions of sea control and power projection to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions throughout the first half of the 21st century.