March 27 (UPI) -- Huntington Ingalls Industries will design and build the first LPD Flight II amphibious transport dock ship for the U.S. Navy under a $1.47 billion contract, the Pentagon announced.
The contract, announced separately Monday by HII and the Department of Defense, covers the procurement of detail design and construction of LPD 30, the 14th in the San Antonio-class of "landing platform, dock" ships to be constructed.
The Flight II vessels will be based on the LPD 17-class' hull design, which HII has said is highly adaptable to the range of uses the Navy expects from them.
"The LPD Flight II builds upon the significant investment that has been made in this platform to improve the capability and flexibility of our deployed Navy-Marine Corps team," Brian Cuccias, president of Ingalls Shipbuilding, said in a press release. "LPD 30 will leverage a hot production line and further benefit from the investments we continue to make in our shipbuilders and facilities."
The San Antonio-class of vessels, 684 feet long and 104 feet wide, are an integral element in the amphibious assault forces of the Navy and Marine Corps. They are used for a full range of military operations, including major combat, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The ships are versatile, networked sea-based platforms that can deliver expeditionary fighting vehicles, air-cushioned landing craft and other transfer craft to shore, and can accommodate vertical-takeoff-and-landing planes and helicopters.
Eleven ships in the class are in use, with two more under construction. The Fort Lauderdale, or LPD 28, will be delivered in 2021, and the keel of the Richard D. McCool, or LPD 29, will be laid later in 2019.
HII has been obligated $1.37 billion from Navy fiscal 2018 shipbuilding and conversation funds, none of which will expire at the end of the fiscal year, with most of the work on the contract set to happen in Pascagoula, Miss.
Work on the contract is expected to run through February 2025, and fabrication on LPD 30 is scheduled to start this year, HII said.