Huntington Ingalls Industries has started fabrication of its 13th San Antonio-class (LPD-17) amphibious transport ship for the US Navy at its shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
The start of fabrication signifies that the first 100 tonnes of steel have been cut.
The principal mission of San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ships is to transport and deploy the necessary combat and support elements of Marine expeditionary units and brigades.
The ship will carry approximately 720 troops, have the capability of transporting and debarking air cushion or amphibious assault vehicles, and accommodate virtually every size of Marine Corps helicopter and its tilt-rotor MV-22 Ospreys.
These ships will support amphibious assault, special operations and expeditionary warfare missions through the first half of the 21st century.
The contract for the vessel, to be named Richard M McCool, Jr., was awarded in February.
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