Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding recently started fabrication of the first Flight II version of the San Antonio

-class amphibious transport dock, the future USS Harrisburg (LPD-30).

Start of fabrication marks the first 100 tons of steel being cut.

Artist rendering of LPD-30
(Image: Huntington Ingalls Industries)

HII has previously delivered 11 San Antonio-class LPDs with three more under construction, including LPD-30. Harrisburg will be the 14th LPD in the class overall. The company has repeatedly highlighted its work on the Flight II ships will take advantage of an already hot production line completing work on the earlier amphibious ships.

In 2018, the Navy chose HII as the winner for the LX(R) amphibious transport dock replacement program with the Flight II San Antonio-class (Defense Daily, April 12,m 2018).

The Flight II ships are meant to replace the 12 aging Whidbey Island/Harpers Ferry-class (LCD-41) amphibious ships.

These Flight II ships will have improved troop armory/weapon stowage and will support embarking and landing Marines with equipment like the Textron [TXT] Ship-To-Shore Connector, Sikorsky [LMT] CH-53K helicopter, and Bell [TXT]-Boeing [BA] MV-22 Osprey.

Last year, the Navy awarded HII a $1.47 billion modification for the detail design and construction of LPD-30 as the first ship in the new configuration (Defense Daily, March 27, 2019).

“LPD-30 is the start of an exciting new era for the San Antonio class. The start of fabrication for Harrisburg marks the beginning of the LPD Flight II program,” Steve Sloan, Ingalls LPD program manager, said in a statement.

He claimed that through “learning structured around consistent production” the company has been able to identify design and constriction modifications to make future ship classes more affordability while maintaining requirements.

Previously, the company launched the future USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) in late March and is scheduled to deliver it in 2021 (Defense Daily, April 3).

HII is also currently building the future USS Richard M. McCool (LPD-29). LPD-28 and 29 serve as transition ships, adding new technologies and systems before LPD-30 is completed.

Earlier this month, the Navy awarded HII a $1.5 billion modification to build the second Flight II ship, LPD-31 (Defense Daily, April 3).

The Navy’s top acquisition official, Assistant Secretary of the Navy James Geurts, told reporters this week the LPD-31 award was accelerated eight months from December to April as one of the measures to help industry deal with the COVID-19 pandemic (Defense Daily, April 16).

“One of the ways we did that was use a technique that we used on the F-18 multi-year [contract], which was instead of going through a traditional RFP, wait for a long time to get a proposal, evaluate a proposal – we kind of know pretty well what an LPD costs and so we used a price offer process where using all the data that we collectively had, we made an offer on what we thought a fair and reasonable yet aggressive price was on LPD-31,” Geurts said.