Future USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) Launched
PASCAGOULA, Miss. -- The future USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) launched from the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Shipyard Oct. 30.
The John P. Murtha is the tenth ship of the San Antonio (LPD 17) class which functionally replaces more than 41 ships across four ship classes. The launch marks a major milestone for the ship.
"It has been two and a half years since the last LPD 17 class ship was launched, and it is evident that HII is continuing to incorporate lessons learned from the earlier LPD 17 class ships," said Capt. Darren Plath, LPD 17 class program manager within Program Executive Office, Ships. "The LPD 17 Class build plan, which was revised and fully implemented on LPD 25, organizes the individual work packages in the most logical sequence resulting in LPD 26's successful entry into the water, en route to delivery in May 2016."
These ships are a key element of the Navy's seabase transformation, enabling the deployment of the combat and support elements of Marine Expeditionary Units and Brigades. The versatile LPD 26 will be equipped with a well deck capable of embarking and debarking landing craft, air cushion, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), and future means by which Marines are delivered ashore. The ship's capabilities are further enhanced by its flight deck and hangar which can operate CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft (MV-22). The ship encompasses over 23,000 square feet of vehicle storage and is equipped to transport a landing force of up to 800 Marines and their equipment.
LPD 26 honors the life and accomplishment of the late U.S. Representative John Patrick Murtha, who served his country both as a Marine and in the halls of Congress. Murtha served in the Marine Corps for 37 years and saw service in the Korean War and in Vietnam, a tour that earned him the Bronze Star with Valor device, two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Murtha represented Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District from 1974 until his death in 2010.
LPD 26 is scheduled to deliver to the Navy in 2016, joining the first nine ships of the San Antonio class. USS Portland (LPD 27), the final ship of the current San Antonio class had its keel laid in August 2013 and is currently under construction at HII.
As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships, a Naval Sea Systems Command affiliated PEO, is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all major surface combatants, amphibious ships, special mission ships, 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.