March 30 (UPI) -- The amphibious transport dock ship to be called the USS Fort Lauderdale was successfully launched in Pascagoula, Miss., on Saturday, the Navy announced.
The ship is the 12th in its class and was built for the Navy by Huntington Ingalls Industries. Currently referred to as LPD 28, it was moved to dry dock on March 7, ahead the dock's flooding this weekend for the launch.
"I am thrilled to get Fort Lauderdale in the water, so we can begin final outfitting and eventually take the ship out to sea for trials," Capt. Scot Searles, San Antonio-class program manager for Program Executive Office Ships, said in a Navy press release. "The San Antonio class has proven essential to expeditionary warfighters, and we are eager to deliver another ship to the fleet."
Construction of the ship, 684 feet long, began in 2017. It will carry nearly 360 crew and officers, and can accommodate up to three CH-46 Sea Hawk or one MV-22 Osprey helicopters. Its armaments include missile launchers, and 30 mm and .50 Cal. machine guns.
As a transport ship, the vessel can carry a detachment of up to 800 personnel and has space for landing craft, vehicles and aircraft. The USS Fort Lauderdale will be formally commissioned in 2022.
Ingalls Shipbuilding reported an increase of 0.4 percent in revenues for the fourth quarter of 2019 over the same period in 2018, largely because of its LPD program.