The US Navy and shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries held a keel-laying ceremony for the future USS Harrisburg (LPD 30) on January 28.
LPD 30 is the US Navy’s 14th San Antonio class-amphibious transport dock ship and the first Flight II ship.
The derivative Flight II units are envisioned as more affordable ships with reduced capabilities. They will have a more traditional mast in place of the two advanced enclosed mast/sensors and an updated deckhouse and boat valley design. The LPD Flight II ships will be the functional replacement for the Whidbey Island Class (LSD 41/49).
“LPD 30 marks the beginning of the LPD Flight II builds and the continuation of the superb capability that the San Antonio Class platform has brought to the Navy –Marine Corps team,” said Cedric McNeal, program manager, Amphibious Warfare Program Office, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “With its flexibility and adaptability, LPD Flight II ships are essential to projecting power and delivering the combat capability needed to shape the future fleet.”
This is the second US Navy ship to be named after the city of Harrisburg. The first was a troopship acquired during World War I.
HII laid the keel for the first Flight II ship after launching the final Flight I vessel earlier this year.
USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29) is also the final Flight I ship in its class, with work already underway on the Flight II hulls that will be more affordable ships with reduced capabilities. The 12th and 14th LPDs were built as “transitional ships,” already incorporating design features of the Flight II vessels with a more traditional mast being one of the more distinctive features.
It should also be noted that future USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28) completed the navy’s acceptance trials on January 31 this year. Acceptance trials consist of integrated testing to demonstrate the capability of the platform and installed systems across all mission areas to effectively meet its requirements. Fort Lauderdale will now prepare for delivery in a few weeks.
The San Antonio-class is designed to support embarking, transporting, and landing Marines and their equipment by conventional or air-cushioned landing craft. The ship’s capabilities are further enhanced by its flight deck and hangar, enabling the ship to operate a variety of Marine Corps helicopters and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft (MV-22).