Contract awarded for 10th assault vessel

Published 12:06 am Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Navy has awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. a $1.5 billion contract to build the tenth in a series of amphibious assault vessels.

Most of the work will be performed at the company’s shipyard in Pascagoula. The ship will be named USS John P. Murtha.

Huntington Ingalls is a new spinoff company from defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. Two other ships in the LPD series are under construction at Pascagoula, while two others are being built at Huntington Ingalls’ shipyard at Avondale, La.

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Construction on the latest ship is expected to begin in May, said Huntington Ingalls vice president Irwin Edenzon.

“This is the first contract awarded to our new company, and our shipbuilders are excited about continuing the LPD product line,” Edenzon said.

The LPDs are 684 feet long and serviced by a crew of 350 sailors. Each ship can carry up to 800 Marines into assault operations and has a flight deck that can handle helicopters and the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

At Pascagoula, the future USS Arlington was christened last month and the San Diego is slated for sea trials this summer.