PASCAGOULA, Miss. (NNS) -- The future USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) was launched at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard Dec. 12.
The ship was translated from the land level facility to the drydock which was slowly flooded until the ship was afloat.
"This is an exciting milestone and represents a significant amount of effort by our Navy and industry team to get the ship to this point" said Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "We're looking forward to completing outfitting efforts, undergoing test and trials and delivering another highly-capable asset to our Fleet."
DDG 51 class ships are integral players in global maritime security, engaging in air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense. Ralph Johnson, a Flight IIA destroyer, will be equipped with Aegis Baseline 9 which incorporates Integrated Air and Missile Defense and enhanced Ballistic Missile Defense capabilities. This system delivers quick reaction time, high firepower and increased electronic countermeasures capability for Anti-Air Warfare.
Ralph Johnson will be the 64th Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) class destroyer, and will be the 30th ship built by the Pascagoula shipyard. In addition to DDG 114, HII is currently constructing the future Arleigh Burke class ships, John Finn (DDG 113), Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) and Delbert Black (DDG 119).
The ship is named for Marine Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Vietnam War. Johnson used his body to shield two fellow Marines from a grenade, absorbing the blast and dying instantly in March 1968.
As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all major surface combatants, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.