The U.S. Navy has awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries a $272.4 million initial contract for the construction of the U.S. Navy’s next large-deck amphibious assault warship, LHA 8.
While the initial contract is for planning, advanced engineering, and procurement of long lead time material, the award has options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to $3.1 billion.
The funding for this contract was provided in the FY2016 Defense Appropriations Bill, which was signed into law last December. That measure included $477 million in advanced procurement, $199 million above the President’s budget request, for the construction of the LHA 8 amphibious assault ship.
In addition, $250 million for advanced procurement was provided to accelerate delivery of the LX(R) class warship. The Navy and U.S. Marine Corps last year signed a memorandum of understanding to base the LX(R) design on the existing San Antonio-class LPD amphibious warship, which is built at Ingalls.
Ingalls is currently the sole builder of large-deck amphibious ships for the Navy. The shipyard delivered its first amphibious assault ship, the Iwo Jima-class USS Tripoli (LPH 10), in 1966. Ingalls has since built five Tarawa-class (LHA 1) ships, eight Wasp-class (LHD 1) ships and the first in a new class of amphibious assault ships, America (LHA 6), in 2014. The second ship in that class, Tripoli (LHA 7), is currently under construction and scheduled to launch next summer.
“This award adds to the successful amphibious shipbuilding legacy at Ingalls since the 1950s,” said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. “Our shipbuilders have proven this success by delivering 14 vital and capable large-deck warships to our nation’s amphibious fleet.”
“Today’s announcement is coming at an opportune time for our Navy and Marine Corps who have continued to express a need for more amphibious ships. The LHA-8 will serve as an asset in allowing them to respond to threats quickly and effectively,” said Congressman Steven Palazzo, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee.
Most of the work on the $272.4 million LHA 8 contract, will be carried out at the Pascagoula shipyard. Construction on the LHA 8 is expected to be completed in 2024.
The LHA 8 is part of the U.S. Navy’s new America class of amphibious assault ships. The ships are 844 feet long and 106 feet wide and displace 44,971 long tons. They accommodate 1,059 crew (65 officers) and 1,687 troops and are capable of carrying a Marine Expeditionary Unit, including Marine helicopters, MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft.