Keel for Future USS Portland Authenticated

Keel for Future USS Portland Authenticated

The U.S. Navy and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) authenticated the keel for the future USS Portland (LPD 27) during a ceremony at HII’s Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard, Aug. 2.

The keel was authenticated to be “truly and fairly laid” by the ship’s sponsor, Bonnie Amos, spouse of Gen. James Amos, 35th commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. Portland will be the eleventh and final ship of the current program of record for the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ships.

 “This keel laying is especially important as the final ship of the current San Antonio class,” said Capt. Darren Plath, LPD 17 class program manager for Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships. “Reaching this milestone is testament to the tremendous strength and perseverance of the Navy-Marine Corps team in bringing these eleven ships to the fleet.”

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.

San Antonio-class ships are designed to embark, transport and land elements of more than 800 Marines by landing craft, air-cushioned 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.

LPD 27 is named in honor of Oregon’s largest city and will be the third Navy vessel to bear the name. Portland is planned for delivery in 2017.

LPDs 17-24 have been delivered, and the future USS Somerset (LPD 25) and USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) are also under construction at HII. LPD 25 is scheduled for delivery later this year, and LPD 26 is planned for delivery in 2016.

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships and special warfare craft. Currently, the majority of shipbuilding programs managed by PEO Ships are benefiting from serial production efficiencies, which are critical to delivering ships on cost and schedule.

Press Release, August 7, 2013; Image: HII