Fabrication Begins on Amphibious Transport Dock Ship Richard M. McCool Jr.
PASCAGOULA, Miss. — Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) started fabrication of the 13th San Antonio-class ship, LPD 29, July 30 at its shipyard in Pascagoula, Naval Sea Systems Command said in a release. The start of fabrication signifies that the first 100 tons of steel have been cut.
“We are excited to commence fabrication on the 13th and final ship of the LPD 17 Flight I class,” said Capt. Brian Metcalf, LPD 17-class program manager for Program Executive Office, Ships. “We continue to benefit from the maturity of this program and look forward to achieving future production milestones as we work to deliver this versatile and capable warship to the fleet.”
LPD 29 is named in honor of Navy veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Capt. Richard M. McCool Jr., and will be the first vessel to bear the name. McCool served in defense of the nation for 30 years, spanning three wars. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1945 for heroism after his ship was attacked by kamikaze aircraft and he led efforts to save the ship and rescue injured Sailors.
The Navy awarded the detail design and construction contract for LPD 29 to HII on Feb. 16. Eleven San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ships have been delivered, the most recent being USS Portland (LPD 27), which was commissioned April 21. LPD 28 and 29 will serve as transition ships to LPD 30, the first ship of the LPD 17 Flight II class. LPD Flight II class ships will be the replacement for the Navy’s aging LSD 41/49-class ships.