The Navy christened its newest America-class amphibious assault ship, the future USS Tripoli (LHA 7), during a ceremony Saturday, September 16, in Pascagoula, Mississippi with approximately 2,000 guests in attendance.
Lynne Mabus, wife of former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, is the ship’s sponsor and officially christened Tripoli after successfully breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across its bow.
“I’d like to thank the shipbuilders, who, through what must be supernatural abilities, have built something that goes beyond anything nature could create,” Mabus said.
“This ship was built by the hands of the women and men of Huntington Ingalls, but it looks as if it was built by the hands of the gods.”
“She is made of 45,000 tons of steel and sweat, and she will carry on her back and in her belly aircraft such as the Harrier, Osprey, Lightning, King Stallion, Viper, Night Hawk.”
“She will also be a place our sailors and Marines will call home.”
LHA 7 will incorporate key components to provide the fleet with a more aviation centric platform.
The design of the future Tripoli will feature 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.
The ship will also be the first LHA replacement ship to depart the shipyard fully ready to integrate the entire future air combat element of the Marine Corps to include the Joint Strike Fighter.
Along with its pioneering aviation element, LHA 7 will incorporate a gas turbine propulsion plant, zonal electrical distribution, and fuel efficient electric auxiliary propulsion systems first installed on USS Makin Island (LHD 8).
LHA 7 will be 844 feet in length, have a displacement of approximately 45,000 long tons and be capable of operating at speeds of over 20 knots.
LHA 7 will be the third Navy ship to be named Tripoli.
The name honors and commemorates the force of U.S. Marines and approximately 370 soldiers from 11 other nationalities who captured the city of Derna, Libya during the 1805 .
The battle resulted in a subsequent peace treaty and the successful conclusion of the combined operations of the First Barbary War, and was later memorialized in the Marines’ Hymn with the line, “to the shores of Tripoli.”
(The United States Navy and United States Marine Corps amphibious team represents the most powerful amphibious force of all time, with the world’s most effective ships, aircraft, vehicles, weapons, and personnel to get the job done. Go in depth to see how the Navy and Marine Corps combines their unique assets to create this winning team. (Courtesy of The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, edited by Austin Rooney and YouTube)
Thomas Dee, who is currently serving as Under Secretary of the Navy, gave the ceremony’s keynote address.
“When USS Tripoli, the newest America-class amphibious assault ship, joins the fleet, we’ll be a stronger, more flexible and better Navy and Marine Corps team,” he said.
“The ship will be a force-multiplier, and her crew will proudly serve our country for decades to come. I am grateful to the men and women of Ingalls Shipbuilding for their dedication and to the citizens of Pascagoula for their unwavering support as we continue to make our Navy stronger.”
“All Ingalls ships are built with one goal in mind: to protect the brave men and women who protect our freedom,” said Ingalls Shipbuilding president Brian Cuccias.
“Working closely with our Navy partner, we continue to improve on each ship we build, and Tripoli will be no exception.”
Ingalls is currently the sole builder of large-deck amphibious ships for the U.S. Navy.
- The shipyard delivered its first amphibious assault ship, the Iwo Jima-class USS Tripoli (LPH 10), in 1966.
- Ingalls has since built five Tarawa-class (LHA 1) ships, eight Wasp-class (LHD 1) ships and the first in a new class of ships, America (LHA 6).
- The third ship in the America class, Bougainville (LHA 8), is scheduled to start construction in late 2018.
Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services to partners in government and industry.
For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder.