Future USS Fort Lauderdale Keel Authenticated
PASCAGOULA, Miss. — The keel for the future amphibious transport dock ship USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28) was authenticated during a ceremony at Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) on Oct. 13, Naval Sea Systems Command announced.
Keel laying is the traditional start of ship construction. In the age of wooden ships, “keel laying” referred to the laying down of the piece of timber serving as the backbone of the ship or keel. Although modern manufacturing techniques allow fabrication of portions of a ship to begin many months earlier, the joining together of modules is considered the formal beginning of a ship. The keel was authenticated to be “truly and fairly laid” by the ship’s sponsor, Meredith Berger, former deputy chief of staff to the secretary of the Navy who previously served as a senior policy advisor within the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the State of Florida.
“I’m very honored to have Ms. Berger here today to take part in this event,” said Capt. Brian Metcalf, LPD 17 class program manager for Program Executive Office-Ships. “Authentication of the ship’s keel is a major ship event and we’re looking forward to leveraging the experience and expertise of the Ingalls Shipbuilding team to achieve future production milestones.”
San Antonio-class ships are designed to support embarking, transporting and landing elements of over 800 Marines by landing craft, air cushion vehicles, helicopters, or MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. These ships support a variety of amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions, operating independently or as part of Amphibious Readiness Groups, Expeditionary Strike Groups or Joint Task Forces. The versatility of these ships also allow support of humanitarian efforts — USS New York (LPD 21), a sister ship, is currently underway from Mayport, Fla., offering support in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
LPD 28 is named in honor of the Florida city and will be the first Navy vessel to bear the name and will be the Navy’s 12th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. The future USS Fort Lauderdale is planned for delivery in 2021. Eleven LPD 17 ships have been delivered, the most recent being USS Portland (LPD 27) that was delivered Sept. 18. HII is also procuring long-lead-time material and advance procurement in support of LPD 29.