The U.S. Navy has awarded a $2.38 billion contract to Newport News, Va.-based Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. for the detail design and construction of the multipurpose amphibious assault ship Tripoli (LHA 7).
The company will build the ship at its Ingalls Shipbuilding division in Pascagoula, Miss.
"We have an excellent build plan in place for LHA 7, and we will continue to develop fresh ideas through the knowledge and experience our shipbuilders have in large-deck construction," said Brian Cuccias, Ingalls Shipbuilding's vice president, large-deck amphibious ships.
"The multi-mission capability of these ships has been proven in the fleet, and LHA 7 will further the technological advancements set forth by previous ships."
LHA 7 and LHA 6 are the first two ships in the new America class of amphibious assault ships.
Tripoli will be 844 feet long and 106 feet wide and will displace 44,971 long tons, according to Huntington Ingalls. The fuel-efficient gas-turbine propulsion system will drive the ships in excess of 20 knots.
The ship will accommodate 1,059 crew (65 officers) and 1,687 troops, and will be capable of carrying a Marine expeditionary unit, including Marine helicopters, MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and F-35B joint strike-fighter aircraft.
Carrying a complement of F-35s allows the ship to serve the role of a small aircraft carrier, as demonstrated by LHD-class ship operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the company noted.
"Like the future USS America (LHA 6), LHA 7 has an increased aviation capacity to include an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation-fuel capacity," according to Huntington Ingalls.
Similar to its predecessors, the ship will be able to operate as the flagship for an expeditionary strike group, according to the company.
Ingalls has built five Tarawa (LHA 1)-class ships as well as eight Wasp (LHD 1)-class ships.
The first of the America class (LHA 6) is under construction and is scheduled to launch in June, the company noted.