Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division announced today the successful launch of amphibious transport dock Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29). Richard M. McCool Jr., the 13th LPD in the San Antonio class of amphibious assault force ships, will support U.S. amphibious assault, special operations and expeditionary warfare missions through the first half of the 21st century. With the assistance of tugs, Richard M. McCool Jr. came off the floating dry dock Wednesday morning, after first being translated via Ingalls’ rail car system. The dock was moved away from the pier and then ballasted to float off the ship.
“The LPD class ships, like all of our programs, are critically important to U.S. national security,” said Kari Wilkinson, president of HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division. “In addition, thousands of Americans, from engineers to electricians, have worked on LPD 29 over the years. Ingalls Shipbuilding is proud to build them and even more proud of the talented people that make up our shipbuilding team.”
USS Richard M. McCool Jr. is named after U.S. Navy officer and Medal of Honor recipient Richard Miles McCool, Jr. Richard M. Richard M. McCool Jr. incorporates the changes that will be introduced in Fort Lauderdale intended to reduce the cost compared to the San Antonio-class, including: simplified bow works, replacement of the forward and aft composite masts with steel masts, removal of structures from the boat valley, and a stern gate which is open at the top. In addition, unlike Fort Lauderdale, Richard M. McCool Jr. will use the Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) volume air search radar
Launching Richard M. McCool Jr. is the first of a series of significant milestone events in bringing the ship to life, and eventual delivery to the U.S. Navy which is planned for later next year. Ingalls Shipbuilding is building the entire San Antonio class of ships, the newest addition to the Navy’s 21st century amphibious assault force. The 684-foot-long, 105-foot-wide ships that displace 25,000 tons 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.