Keel Laid for Future USS Pittsburgh Amphibious Dock

On June 2, the ceremonial laying of the keel for the forthcoming USS Pittsburgh (LPD 31), a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, took place at the Ingalls Shipbuilding division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.

The upcoming vessel stands as the fifth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of Pittsburgh, a city in Pennsylvania that significantly contributes to the nation’s defense framework. The prior USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) was a Los Angeles-class submarine in service from December 1984 through August 2019.

Keel laid for US Navy’s LPD Flight II USS Pittsburgh

The present-day keel-laying ceremony symbolizes the union of the ship’s vital modular components at ground level, marking an essential phase in ship production.

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Tom Anderson, Program Executive Officer for Ships, lauded the technical expertise and commitment of the HII shipbuilders, acknowledging shipbuilding as a complex and demanding team endeavor within the defense industry.

San Antonio-class ships are structured to facilitate the embarkation, transportation, and landing of Marines and their equipment via standard or air-cushioned landing craft. The ship’s utility is expanded by its flight deck and hangar, allowing it to operate a range of Marine Corps helicopters and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft (MV-22).

The inherent capabilities of these vessels enable them to support various missions, including amphibious assaults, special operations, expeditionary warfare, and disaster relief. They can operate independently or as part of amphibious readiness groups, expeditionary strike groups, or joint task forces.

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Capt. Cedric McNeal, the program manager for the Amphibious Warfare Program Office, PEO Ships, highlighted the keel laying of the future USS Pittsburgh as a significant event. He emphasized the Navy and industry partners’ anticipation of collaborative work during construction.

He stated that the forthcoming LPD Flight II vessels would offer capability and power projection in various employment scenarios, becoming a crucial element of the Amphibious Force structure for many years ahead.

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The company has delivered 12 San Antonio-class vessels to the Navy, with three more underway. These include the Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29), Harrisburg (LPD 30), and the Pittsburgh (LPD 31), which will be the second LPD Flight II vessel. The construction contract for LPD 32 was granted earlier this year.

LPD Flight II represents the next-generation amphibious vessel, set to replace the Whidbey Island (LSD 41) and Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) classes of dock landing ships.

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