Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division has been selected to build the U.S. Navy’s next large-deck amphibious assault warship, LHA-8 (America-class). Today’s (on June 30, 2016) contract value, for the planning, advanced engineering and procurement of long-lead material, is $272,467,161. The award includes options that, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to $3.1 billion.
«This award adds to the successful amphibious shipbuilding legacy at Ingalls since the 1950s», said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. «Our shipbuilders have proven this success by delivering 14 vital and capable large-deck warships to our nation’s amphibious fleet. This contract shows the Navy’s confidence in our ability to build these ships to the highest-quality standards and to do so affordably for the American taxpayers. We look forward to delivering another great ship».
Ingalls is currently the sole builder of large-deck amphibious ships for the U.S. Navy. The shipyard delivered its first amphibious assault ship, the Iwo Jima-class USS Tripoli (LPH-10), in 1966. Ingalls has since built five Tarawa-class (LHA-1) ships, eight Wasp-class (LHD-1) ships and the first in a new class of amphibious assault ships, America (LHA-6), in 2014. The second ship in that class, USS Tripoli (LHA-7), is currently under construction and scheduled to launch next summer.
USS America (LHA-6) and the future USS Tripoli (LHA-7) are aviation-enhanced ships that sacrifice the ability to launch surface craft in favor of having more space to maintain the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. With Marine Corps ground vehicles getting larger and heavier, in some cases precluding air lift from ship to shore, the U.S. Navy decided to add the well deck back in for LHA-8 and beyond. Ingalls is the only current builder of amphibious ships and would use that experience to balance aviation and surface connector needs in this next big-deck.
«We appreciate the partnerships we continue to have with the Navy/Marine Corps team», Cuccias said. «We are also proud of the support we get from a large, nationwide industrial base of suppliers, who remain an essential ingredient to the construction of these capable and survivable amphibious warships».
«Ingalls operates in an 800-acre (3.237 km2) shipbuilding facility that is optimized to build several classes of complex ships simultaneously», Cuccias said. «As Mississippi’s largest manufacturing employer, we also appreciate the stable partnership we’ve had with the state and the investments they’ve made in our success throughout our nearly 80 years in Pascagoula».