America’s largest shipbuilder, Huntington Ingalls (HII), has announced the successful conclusion of builder’s sea trials for the amphibious transport dock ship Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29).
As noted by the company, the San Antonio-class vessel underwent rigorous testing in the Gulf of Mexico, assessing all systems in preparation for the final stages before its anticipated delivery in the spring.
Davianne Stokes, Ship Program Manager at Ingalls Shipbuilding, emphasized the dedication of the shipbuilders in ensuring the timely progression of LPD 29 towards deployment with the Navy and Marine Corps.
According to a press release, Ingalls Shipbuilding has a rich history of delivering San Antonio-class ships, with 12 vessels already completed and three LPDs currently under construction. These include LPD 29, Harrisburg (LPD 30) – the inaugural Flight II LPD, and Pittsburgh (LPD 31). The LPD Flight II program represents the next generation of amphibious ships, set to replace the aging Whidbey Island (LSD 41) and Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) dock landing ship classes.
In a significant development, in March 2023, Ingalls secured a $1.3 billion modification to a previously awarded contract from the U.S. Navy for the design and construction of LPD 32, named Philadelphia. This vessel will be the 16th addition to the San Antonio class and the third LPD Flight II variant.
Amphibious transport dock ships like LPD 29 play a vital role in the Navy’s modern expeditionary force. They are deployed alongside U.S. Marine Corps Air-Ground Task Forces for a range of operations, from amphibious assaults to humanitarian aid missions, showcasing the versatility and readiness of America’s naval capabilities.