July 17 (UPI) -- Huntington Ingalls announced it has successfully launched the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Frank E. Petersen Jr. last week.
The new guided-missile destroyer was moved over the course of several days last week to a dry dock that was slowly flooded until the ship was afloat in the water, where final production of the vessel can now start, officials said.
"This is the one of the most significant milestones in the life of any ship," President Brian Cuccias.of Ingalls Shipbuilding said in a press release.
"Our shipbuilders implement such an organized launch plan, and they have once again executed it in a quality manner. We are proud to have DDG 121 one step closer to completion and look forward to presenting this invaluable asset to the Navy fleet in the future," Cuccias said.
Huntington Ingalls has built 30 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers for the U.S. Navy and, aside from the Petersen, has four others under construction, according to the Navy. Those ships are the Paul Ignatius, Delbert D. Black, Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee and Jack H. Lucas.
The Petersen is named for the first African-American aviator and general officer in the Marine Corps, who flew more than 350 combat missions throughout the Korean and Vietnam wars.
The vessel is being configured as a Flight IIA destroyer, which will allow it to engage in power projection, forward presence and escort operations, as well as open ocean conflict.
The Petersen will include the AEGIS system, a complete weapons system centered around the AN/SPY-1 phased array automated radar. It is capable of tracking more than 100 targets at once. The command and decision element of its targeting system can interpret and prioritize incoming targets based on range and threat level.
There are currently 84 U.S. Navy vessels equipped with the AEGIS system.