HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division has ceremonially authenticated the keel for the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock Pittsburgh (LPD 31). The keel is the foundation of the ship and the authentication ceremony is the first important milestone in a ship’s life. The ship’s sponsor, Nancy Urban, a resident of Hopewell Township, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was in attendance with her children to declare the keel “truly and fairly laid.” During the ceremony, Larry Stevens, an Ingalls welder, etched the initials of the ship’s sponsor into a ceremonial plate. The metal plates will remain affixed to LPD 31 throughout its life. Additionally, attending the ceremony and providing remarks was the Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Ships Rear Adm. Tom Anderson.
“The keel represents the ceremonial backbone of LPD 31 and is a symbol of her foundation and her might. But it is just a piece of steel without the efforts of the men and women of this extraordinary shipbuilding team. It is their collective heart, soul and talent that will ultimately turn concept into reality and bring USS Pittsburgh into being,” Anderson said.
“Today’s keel ceremony reaffirms our commitment that Ingalls stands ready to serve the country by building ships that will be ready to support and protect her crew. “With the keel officially laid on LPD 31, Mrs. Urban continues to be woven even more into the fabric of this ship and our shipbuilding family. We are grateful for her commitment to its crew and look forward to being with her throughout the ships’ future milestones,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson said.
Ingalls has delivered 12 San Antonio-class ships to the Navy and has three more under construction, including Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29), Harrisburg (LPD 30) and Pittsburgh (LPD 31), which will be the second Flight II LPD. LPD 32 construction contract was awarded earlier this year. LPD Flight II is the next generation amphibious ship to replace Whidbey Island (LSD 41) and Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) classes of dock landing ships. Amphibious transport docks are a major part of the Navy’s 21st century expeditionary force, deployed with a U.S. Marine Corps Air-Ground Task Force for amphibious and expeditionary crisis response operations that range from deterrence and joint-force enablement to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. LPD 31 is the fifth Navy vessel to be named after the historic city of Pittsburgh. The first ship was an ironclad gunboat and served during the American Civil War. Since then, the name Pittsburgh has been assigned to four vessels that have served the U.S. during conflict.
HII is a global, all-domain defense provider. HII’s mission is to deliver the world’s most powerful ships and all-domain solutions in service of the nation, creating the advantage for our customers to protect peace and freedom around the world. As the nation’s largest military shipbuilder, and with a more than 135-year history of advancing U.S. national security, HII delivers critical capabilities extending from ships to unmanned systems, cyber, ISR, AI/ML and synthetic training. Headquartered in Virginia, HII’s workforce is 43,000 strong.