John P. Murtha (LPD 26) completes acceptance trials

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The following is the text of a news release from Huntington Ingalls Industries:

(PASCAGOULA, Miss.) — Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced Tuesday the successful completion of acceptance sea trials for the company’s 10th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, John P. Murtha (LPD 26). The ship, built at HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division, spent six days with the test and trials team performing more than 200 trial events that included both an in-port and underway portion. 

“This was a significant test at sea for LPD 26, and the ship performed well,” said Kari Wilkinson, Ingalls’ LPD 26 program manager. “The logistical performance it takes for our test and trials team to execute all of these events while underway is nothing short of phenomenal. Once again the Navy will be receiving a quality Ingalls-built ship that will be mission-ready and able to achieve whatever tasks the sailors and Marines require.”

The U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) spent time onboard evaluating the ship’s performance. Now shipbuilders will put the final fit-and-finish touches on the ship in preparation for delivery in May.

Major evolutions during acceptance trials include the anchor-handling demonstration, ballast/deballast demonstration, detect-to-engage exercise, running the ship at full power and steering.

“It took a lot of work for the folks to complete these sea trial evolutions, and the ship answered every task and performed well,” said George S. Jones, Ingalls’ vice president of operations. “Every single skill needed to build this amphibious ship was on display for the INSURV board to see. Our people and this ship did not disappoint. I would also like to thank our partners at Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Gulf Coast for this joint effort.”

LPD 26 is named in honor of the late John P. Murtha, who represented Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District from 1974 to 2010. In addition to his tenured history in the House of Representatives, Murtha was also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and Reserves. He served for 37 years and received the Bronze Star with Combat “V,” two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry for his service in the Vietnam War. He retired as a colonel in 1990.

Ingalls has built and delivered nine ships in the San Antonio class. In addition to John P. Murtha, Ingalls has the 11th LPD, Portland (LPD 27), under construction. Portland launched on Feb. 13 and will be christened on May 21. Ingalls has received advance procurement funding for long-lead-time material for the 12th ship in the class, LPD 28.

The San Antonio class is the latest addition to the Navy’s 21st century amphibious assault force. The 684-foot-long, 105-foot-wide ships 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. The ships support a Marine Air Ground Task Force across the spectrum of operations, conducting amphibious and expeditionary missions of sea control and power projection to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions throughout the first half of the 21st century.

By Professional Mariner Staff