MARCH 31, 2015 — Huntington Ingalls Industries' (NYSE:HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division, Pascagoula, MS, launched the company's 29th Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) Aegis guided missile destroyer, John Finn (DDG 113), at first light this past Saturday.
Ingalls uses a proven method of launching ships that it has been using for more than 40 years. John Finn was moved on rail cars from land to the company's 637 ft floating dry dock a week prior to launch. Shipbuilders then spent the next week preparing the ship and dry dock for Saturday's launch.
During launch the dry dock was flooded allowing it to slowly submerge until the ship was afloat. Once the dry dock was fully submerged, the ship was pulled by tugs to the shipyard's south berth where the ship will continue outfitting in preparation for test and activation and eventual delivery to the Navy.
The next major milestone is the ship's Aegis system light off planned for later this year.
"This is the first DDG 51 class ship to launch in almost four years and we're both proud and excited with the progress the program is making," said Capt. Mark Vandroff, the Navy's DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "I look forward to John Finn joining the fleet and the other ships of her class to continue in the legacy of success that is the Arleigh Burke destroyer."
"It's exciting to see another Ingalls-built destroyer in the water," said Ingalls DDG 51 Program Manager, George Nungesser. "Our shipbuilders have proven time and time again they can handle whatever it takes to build, test and deliver these extremely complex warships. This launch was no exception. Our hot production line is now in a good state as we have three DDGs under construction and another one in pre-fabrication. What our shipbuilders accomplish every day matters to our quality, cost and schedule, and implementing our learning from ship to ship will allow us to improve in every aspect of destroyer construction."
Ingalls has delivered 28 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the Navy. Destroyers currently under construction at Ingalls are John Finn (DDG 113), Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) and Delbert D. Black (DDG 119). Just last week, Ingalls received a contract modification funding the construction of the company's 33rd destroyer, DDG 121.
John Finn is the 63rd Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) class destroyer, and the first of the DDG 51 Flight IIA restart ships. The keel of DDG 113 was laid in November 2013, and the christening ceremony is planned for May 2.
"DDG 51 production is in full swing at the shipyard," said Capt. Vandroff. "The Navy and shipbuilder are working closely together to ensure continued quality and value as production continues on the restart ships."
John Finn will be equipped with the Navy's Aegis Combat System.
DDG 51 Flight IIA ships will provide increased capabilities over previous flights of Arleigh Burke destroyers, including advances in anti-submarine warfare, command and control, and anti-surface warfare.