PASCAGOULA, Miss., April 28 (UPI) -- A Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard has begun construction of a new Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) destroyer for the U.S. Navy.
A ceremony marking the cutting of the first 100 tons of steel for the future Frank E. Peterson Jr. took place Wednesday at a company shipyard in Mississippi.
The guided-missile destroyer honors Frank Emmanuel Petersen Jr., the first African American aviator and general officer in the United States Marine Corps.
"With this milestone, Ingalls is now in various stages of production on five Arleigh Burke-class destroyers," said Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "DDG 121 will greatly benefit from the serial production of those earlier ships and once delivered, will be the 70th destroyer of its class to join the U.S. Fleet."
The destroyer is to be built in the Flight IIA configuration, which features the AEGIS Baseline 9 Combat System, which includes Integrated Air and Missile Defense capability.