Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division launched Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), the company’s 31st Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) guided missile destroyer, on Saturday.
“The DDG 51 program provides our U.S. Navy customer and our nation a series of highly advanced and capable warships,” said Ingalls Shipbuilding President
Brian Cuccias. “For 30 years, our talented shipbuilders have been building these much-needed, quality destroyers. Launching DDG 117 is an important milestone in the life of the ship, which will continue building toward fleet readiness in 2018.”
Paul Ignatius was translated via Ingalls’ rail car system to a floating dry dock. Once on, the dry dock was moved away from the pier, and it was ballasted to float the ship.
Ingalls has delivered 28 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the U.S. Navy. Other destroyers currently under construction at Ingalls include John Finn
(DDG 113), Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), Delbert D. Black (DDG 119) and Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121). Construction on Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123) is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2017.
“Ingalls shipbuilders continue to partner with our Navy and Supervisor of Shipbuilding team to conduct these evolutions in a safe and efficient manner,” said Kari Wilkinson, Ingalls’ vice president, program management. “This collective team put in a lot of hard work this week, and they should be very proud of their accomplishments.”
DDG 117 is named in honor of Ignatius, who served as Secretary of the Navy from 1967 to 1969 and was the Assistant Secretary of Defense during President Lyndon B. Johnson
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are capable, multi-mission ships and can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, all in support of the United States’ military strategy. The guided missile destroyers are capable of simultaneously fighting air, surface and subsurface battles. The ship contains myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.