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Modern Day Marine 2023: Ingalls Shipbuilding makes the case for maintaining LPD line

Illustration of the LPD Flight II-class amphibious warfare ship LPD 31, the future USS Pittsburgh. (US Navy )

Should the US Navy (USN) decide to end its amphibious shipbuilding pause to buy more San Antonio-class landing platform dock (LPD) vessels, the service should quickly return to the production pace for the current ships being built by Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, according to George Nungesser, company vice-president – Program Management.

The navy is now studying its amphibious building and operational needs while it pauses new LPD construction. Lawmakers have indicated, though, a desire to keep the line going.

“Any delay or pause could have significant impact to maintain efficient and affordable LPD line,” Nungesser said on 27 June during a roundtable discussion of amphibious shipbuilding programmes during the Modern Day Marine 2023 event.

“We saw that on the DDG [guided-missile destroyer] side of house a few years back,” he said. “We had a five-year gap,” he added, which disrupted a steady line and created cost and schedule issues.

“What we need is a strong, consistent demand signal,” he said, creating a “consistent plan for us to hire, train, and retain skilled workforce”.

Continuing the LPD programme on a two-year centre cadence takes advantage of a mature design, experienced workforce, and an established suppliers network, he noted.

He also acknowledged the navy has studied possibly paring down the advanced Flight II LPD design. “We think the Flight II design is more appropriate,” he said, noting the extensive studies and engineering effort to move from Flight I to Flight II ships. That advanced design is being tested, he added.

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