US shipbuilder Huntington Ingals Industries authenticated the keel of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29) on Friday, April 12.
Ship’s Co-sponsors Shana McCool and Kate Oja declared the keel to be “truly and fairly laid.”
LPD 29 is the first US Navy ship named in honor of Richard M. McCool Jr., who received the Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty” as commanding officer of infantry landing support craft during the Battle of Okinawa.
The future USS Richard M. McCool Jr. is the final Flight I San Antonio-class ship.
In March, Ingalls received a $1.47 billion, fixed-price incentive contract from the U. Navy for the detail design and construction of LPD 30. The ship will be the 14th in the San Antonio class and the first Flight II LPD. Start of fabrication on LPD 30 is scheduled for 2020.
San Antonio-class measure 684 foot in length and 105 in width. They are used to embark and land Marines, their equipment and supplies ashore via air cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft such as the MV-22 Osprey.
Displacing 25,300 metric tons at full load, the ships are crewed by 380 sailors, carry two Mk 46 30 mm close in guns, two Rolling Airframe Missile launchers, and ten .50 caliber machine guns.