The next America-class amphibious assault ship, the future USS Tripoli (LHA-7), will be delivered later than planned, in late 2019 or early 2020, the shipbuilder revealed Aug. 1.
Mike Petters, president and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII], said during a quarterly earnings call that the company is focusing on acceptance trials later this year with delivery “coming into focus in the late 2019, early 2020 timeframe.”
When asked by analysts about the delay, Petters said while the ship is in good shape, “we’re working through a couple of technical design issues where we’re working and discussing with the Navy about, ‘Are these life of the ship issues that need to be resolved before we deliver the ship, or are they issues that we resolved … Because the systems are working today it’s just a question of whether they will work for the life of the ship.”
He said the discussions and technical issues are “fairly complicated” but HII believes they will reach a resolution by the end of this year.
Whether it’s the end of 2019 or early 2020 “we don’t want to put any sort of extra pressure on that,” he said. “We want to resolve that the right way.”
Tripoli finished its four day-long builder’s trials in July, where the Navy assessed the ship’s operations readiness both at dock and at sea in the Gulf of Mexico (Defense Daily, July 22).
Last year, local media reported LHA-7 was set to be commissioned at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. this fall
The ship is 844-feet long, will travel at over 20 knots, and will feature an enlarged hangar deck, expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, increased stowage for parts and equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity. It also has flight deck modifications to support the F-35B.
This is not Tripoli’s first delivery delay. Back in 2015, president of HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding Brian Cuccias said the company expected to deliver the ship in 2018 (Defense Daily, April 16, 2015).