USS Lyndon B. Johnson, the third and final U.S. Navy Zumwalt-class destroyer, had its keel laid in Bath, Maine, on January 30.
The keel laying and authentication ceremony was held at the General Dynamics-Bath Iron Works shipyard.
The keel was authenticated by former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s daughters and ship co-sponsors, Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson, by welding their initials into the keel plate.
“We’ve made tremendous progress on this ship, and although we’re celebrating an early production milestone, we’re nearing 60 percent completion on the future Lyndon B. Johnson,” said Capt. Kevin Smith, DDG 1000 program manager, Program Executive Office, Ships. “We’re honored to be celebrating this milestone with our 36th president’s daughters and look forward to continued progress on the final ship of the Zumwalt class.”
While the keel laying has traditionally represented the formal start of a ship’s construction, the U.S. Navy said advanced modular shipbuilding allows fabrication of the ship to begin months in advance.
Bath Iron Works is currently in production on future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), as well as Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), and Carl M. Levin (DDG 120).
At 610 feet long and 80.7 feet wide, Zumwalt ships are the largest destroyers the U.S. Navy has ever built.
The lead ship in the class, USS Zumwalt joined the navy in Baltimore on October 15, 2016.