Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division started fabrication of the U.S. Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship USS Fallujah (LHA-9) on Monday. The start of fabrication signifies that the first 100 tons of steel have been cut for the ship and that the shipyard is ready to move forward with the construction of the ship.
«Our shipbuilders are proud of the work they do for the security of our nation and for our Navy and Marine Corps customers», said Eugene Miller, Ingalls Shipbuilding LHA program manager. «The start of fabrication on Fallujah is a significant milestone in the construction of this large-deck amphibious ship and demonstrates our ability to maintain a sustained LHA production line at Ingalls».
For nearly 50 years, Ingalls has built large-deck amphibious assault ships and is the sole shipbuilder for amphibious ships. Ingalls has delivered 15 large-deck ships, including the Tarawa-class, LHA 1-5; the Wasp-class, LHD 1-8; and most recently the America-class, LHA-6 and LHA-7. The third of the America class, USS Bougainville (LHA-8), is currently under construction.
The America class is a multi-functional and versatile ship that is capable of operating in a high density, multi-threat environment as an integral member of an expeditionary strike group, an amphibious task force or an amphibious ready group.
In October, Ingalls was awarded the $2.4 billion U.S. Navy fixed-price-incentive contract for the detail design and construction of Fallujah. Similar to Bougainville, Fallujah will retain the aviation capability of the America-class design while adding the surface assault capability of a well deck and a larger flight deck configured for F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and MV-22 Osprey aircraft. These large-deck amphibious assault ships also include top-of-the-line medical facilities with full operating suites and triage capabilities.