March 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard christened its ninth Legends-class National Security Cutter, the USCGC Stone, in ceremonies at Pascagoula, Miss.
The vessel, formally christened on Saturday, is envisioned by the Coast Guard as able to undertake a range of high endurance cutter roles with additional upgrades available.
It is a part of the Defense Department's Integrated Deepwater System Program, a 25-year program envisioned in 2012 to replace most of the U.S. Coast Guard's equipment, including aircraft, ships, logistics and command-and-control systems.
The new ship is named after Elmer "Archie" Stone, one of two Coast Guard pilots who, in 1919, made the first Trans-Atlantic flight in a Navy seaplane. He is the great-uncle of Laura Cavallo, who served as the ceremonial ship's sponsor.
"It's a great joy and a great pride for the United States, too," she said in ceremonies on Saturday.
The USCGC Stone, built by Huntington Ingalls Industries, is 418 feet in length, displaces 4,500 tons and will be commissioned in 2021. The Legend-class of ships is the largest, most technologically advanced ship in the Coast Guard and carries a crew of 120.
"Over the last four years, we as a Coast Guard have interdicted 2 million pounds of illicit drugs," USCG Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz said during the ceremony. "These modern cutters allow our nation to advance all of our national interests, and the success wouldn't be possible without the partnership that we find right here in Pascagoula with HII."