PASCAGOULA, Miss., June 24 (UPI) -- Components of the future U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship Tripoli have been joined together during a ceremony at a shipyard in Mississippi.
Huntington Ingalls Industries said the keel laying and authentication ceremony held last week is a major milestone for the America-class vessel.
"This keel laying ceremony marks a significant first step in bringing shape to the Navy's next amphibious assault ship," Capt. Christopher Mercer, Amphibious Warfare Program Manager within Program Executive Office, Ships.
""Like America, Tripoli boasts a very credible and capable aviation centric design that replaces the Tarawa class of amphibious assault ships. The design brings with it increased capabilities and will maximize the Navy's investment in future aircraft."
America-class amphibious assault ships are 844 feet in length, displace more than 45,000 tons and have an operational speed of more than 20 knots. They have an enlarged hangar deck and expanded aviation maintenance facilities.
Fabrication of ship components began last year, the company said.