Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division authenticated the keel on the Aegis guided missile destroyer, Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), yesterday, October 20.
DDG 117 is the 31st ship in the Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) class of destroyers Ingalls is building for the U.S. Navy.
Commenting the ceremony, Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias, said:
The keel authentication is an important milestone in a ship’s life and it’s really a foundation upon which the ship is made.
Ingalls welder Reginald Whisenhunt welded the initials of two authenticators, the ship’s namesake Paul Ignatius and 26-year shipbuilder Bill Jones, an Ingalls hull superintendent, onto a steel plate signifying the keel of DDG 117 to be “truly and fairly laid.” The plate will remain affixed to the ship throughout the ship’s lifetime.
Nancy Ignatius, Paul’s wife, is the ship sponsor and was also present at the ceremony. DDG 117 is named in honor of Ignatius, who served as Secretary of the Navy from 1967 to 1969 and was the Assistant Secretary of Defense during President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.
Ingalls is building three other destroyers, John Finn (DDG 113), which is scheduled to be delivered in 2016, Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), which will launch by the end of the year and Delbert D. Black (DDG 119), which started construction in July.
To date, Ingalls has delivered 28 DDG 51 destroyers to the U.S. Navy.
Image: Huntington Ingalls Industries