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HII lays keel for second America class amphibious assault ship


Amphibious assault ship America (LHA 6) during acceptance sea trials. An HII photo

PASCAGOULA (BNS): Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has laid the keel for the second America-class multipurpose amphibious assault ship, Tripoli (LHA 7), being built for the US Navy.

The keel laying ceremony, held at HII's Pascagoula, Mississippi facility on June 20, was attended by high ranking officials from the Navy, Government and the shipbuilder.

The future USS Tripoli and the future USS America (LHA 6) are the first two ships in a new class of amphibious assault ships for the US Navy.

The US Navy had awarded a contract worth $2.38 billion to HII on May 31, 2012 to build LHA 7.

Like the lead ship of the class, the LHA 7 will also have an increased aviation capacity, including an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity.

The 844-feet long and 106-feet wide vessel will displace 44,971 long tons. The fuel-efficient gas turbine propulsion system will drive the warship in excess of 20 knots.

The large-deck vessel will accommodate 1,059 crew (65 officers) and 1,687 troops. It will be capable of carrying a Marine Expeditionary Unit, including Marine helicopters, MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft.

Carrying a complement of F-35s will allow it to serve the role of a small aircraft carrier, according to HII.

Ingalls has built five Tarawa (LHA 1) class ships as well as eight Wasp (LHD 1) class ships. Similar to its predecessors, the Tripoli will be able to operate as the flagship for an Expeditionary Strike Group.

It is expected to be delivered to the Navy in 2018.

The LHA 6, the lead ship of the class, has been delivered to the Navy in April 2014 with its commissioning scheduled for later this year.

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