Ingalls Shipbuilding authenticates LPD 28 keel

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Ship's Sponsor Meredith Berger traces her initials onto a steel plate that will be welded inside the amphibious transport ship Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28). Pictured with Berger are (left to right) Howard Sparks, a structural welder at Ingalls; Capt. Brian Metcalf, the U.S. Navy's LPD 17-class program manager; and Steve Sloan, Ingalls' LPD program manager

OCTOBER 15, 2017 — Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (NYSE:HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division authenticated the keel of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport ship Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28) Friday.

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. 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 (PEO) 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 tilt-rotor 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, Florida 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 twelfth 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) which delivered Sept. 18, 2017. HII is also procuring long lead time material and advance procurement in support of LPD 29.

“The keel authentication is an important milestone in a ship’s life, as we lay the foundation upon which this great ship will be built,” said Steve Sloan, Ingalls’ LPD program manager. “LPD 28, like all ships in the class, is being built to the highest quality standards with outstanding cost and schedule performance. The LPD team is energized and motivated to make this ship the best yet. Fort Lauderdale will be strong and capable because our men and women in the Navy and Marine Corps deserve nothing less.”

Howard Sparks, a structural welder at Ingalls, welded Ms. Berger’s initials onto a steel plate, signifying the keel of LPD 28 to be “truly and fairly laid.” The plate will remain affixed to the ship throughout the ship’s lifetime.



Lance Davis/HII

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