HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division celebrated the keel authentication of the future Fallujah (LHA 9), the fourth America-class large-deck amphibious assault ship, at a ceremony Wednesday.
During the authentication ceremony Ingalls Welder Seveta Gray welded the initials of the sponsor onto a ceremonial keel plate that will remain with the ship throughout its life.
“Ingalls is honored to mark this important milestone with our shipbuilders and so many of our critical partners here today,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson said. “Whether representing namesake, customer, community or shipyard, today’s keel event demonstrates the unique connection we have to one another through this industry and through our respective devotion to service.”
Ingalls was pleased to host Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven who also provided remarks at the ceremony.
“The USS Fallujah, like her predecessors the USS America, USS Tripoli and USS Bougainville, will one day join the amphibious fleet, and serve as the centerpiece for amphibious ready groups and Marine Expeditionary Units,” Raven said. “L-class ships like the future USS Fallujah make our Navy and Marine Corps a potent fighting team, forward-postured around the globe, ready to respond to crisis and disaster.”
The future USS Fallujah (LHA 9) is the fourth America-class large-deck amphibious assault ship built at Ingalls Shipbuilding and the second ship in the class to be built with a well deck. 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.
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.
Ingalls has delivered 15 large-deck amphibious ships to the U.S. Navy. The shipyard delivered the first in the new America class of amphibious assault ships (LHA 6) in 2014. The second ship in the America class, USS Tripoli (LHA 7), was delivered to the Navy in early 2020 and Bougainville (LHA 8) and Fallujah (LHA 9) are currently under construction.