PASCAGOULA, Miss., Sept. 10 (UPI) -- The keel of the U.S. Coast Guard's fourth Legend class National Security Cutter, scheduled for delivery in 2014, has been "authenticated."
The authentication ceremony, in which the ship's sponsor's initials are welded on a keel plate, took place last week at the shipbuilding facility in Mississippi of Huntington Ingalls Industries.
"Today represents a significant milestone not only in the construction of NSC 4, but in the NSC program overall," said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Irwin F. Edenzon.
"We have reached stability in the design and in the NSC class-build plans. This is a good program because the Coast Guard has stabilized the requirements and allowed us to successfully manage our construction techniques and reduce cost in the fabrication process. And in turn, we're delivering great ships."
Legend class National Security Cutters are 418 feet long and displace 4,500 tons with a full load. They have a maximum speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 miles and a flight deck for helicopters.
The new cutter -- the Hamilton -- and its sister ships are replacing ships that entered service in the 1960s.
Ingalls builds the hulls and mechanical and electrical systems. Lockheed Martin builds and integrates the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
The Hamilton's sponsor is Linda Kapral Papp, wife of Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.