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Surface Navy 2022: US Navy nears amphibious ship milestones as force structure completion approaches

USS Tripoli is expected to transition to the fleet in February. (US Navy)

With the US Navy (USN) planning to complete its amphibious ship force structure report by the end of March, the service is nearing programme milestones for classes of those ship, according to Captain Cedric McNeal, Amphibious Warfare programme manager.

San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) is about 97% complete, should be delivered during the second quarter of this year, and is on track for commissioning for the following quarter, Capt McNeal said on 12 January during the Surface Navy Association National Symposium, which took place from 11 to 13 January in Arlington, Virginia.

Large-deck amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7), which was commissioned in July 2020, is expected to transition to the fleet in February, Capt McNeal noted.

Amphibious assault ship Bougainville (LHA-8) should be launched during the second or third quarter, with delivery planned for 2025, Capt McNeal said. While the detail design is complete, the ship construction is about 45% complete, he added. With Bougainville , the navy puts the well-deck back into the ship line and the ship will be delivered with all modifications required to accommodate F-35B Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs) incorporated.

To reintroduce the well-deck, he said, the USN had to relocate some ship spaces.

The USN anticipates awarding the detail design and construction contract for LHA-9 in fiscal year (FY) 2023, Capt McNeal said. “We want to buy down risk as much as possible and start production as soon as practical in FY 2023,” he added.

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