The Navy said the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship future USS

Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) completed builder sea trials on Oct. 26. 

The trials includes a series of in-port and at-sea demonstrations to allow the Navy and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ [HII] Ingalls Shipbuilding Division to assess the ship systems and readiness before moving on to acceptance trials and ship delivery. The operations were based out of the shipyard facility in Pascagoula, Miss.

HII first launched LPD-28 over a year ago and first laid the keel for the ship in October 2017 (Defense Daily, April 3, 2020). This is the 12th ship in its class.

The company won a $1.46 billion contract for the detail design and construction of the Fort Lauderdale in 2016 (Defense Daily, Dec. 19, 2016).

The San Antonio-class ships are designed to support embarking, transporting and landing 650 Marines and their equipment via landing craft. It also features a flight deck and hangar to operate helicopters and the MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.

The Navy noted the ships will be able to support various amphibious assault, special operations, expeditionary warfare or disaster relief missions operating independently or part of Amphibious Readiness Groups (ARGs), Expeditionary Strike Groups, or Joint Task Forces.

“The completion of Builder’s trials is a great first step in ensuring operational readiness of the vessel and the capabilities it will soon bring to the fleet. The collaboration between the Navy and our industry partners ensures that we’ll have a capable and ready ship for our Sailors,”  Capt. Scot Searles, San Antonio Class Program Office program manager, said in a statement.

HII Ingalls Shipbuilding is also currently in production on the future USS Richard S. McCool (LPD-29) and the future USS Harrisburg (LPD-30). 

LPD-28 and -29 are serving as transition ships to the first Flight II San Antonio-class vessel, LPD-30.The Flight II LPDs will replace the 12 aging Whidbey Island/Harpers Ferry-class (LCD-41/49) amphibious ships and support new equipment like the Textron [TXT] Ship-To-Shore Connector (SSC), CH-53K helicopter, and MV-22 Osprey. It will also have improved troop armory/weapons stowage.