Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Huntington Ingalls started fabrication of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Jeremiah Denton Thursday.
According to the contractor, the start of fabrication signifies that the first 100 tons of steel have been cut.
"The start of fabrication for one of the U.S. Navy's most critical assets is always a significant milestone for our shipbuilders," Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias said. "We look forward to leveraging our unparalleled shipbuilding expertise to construct the nation's newest, most capable destroyer."
The destroyer is named for former U.S. Sen. Jeremiah Denton, a Vietnam War veteran who was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism while a prisoner of war.
Denton graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1946 and served in the Navy for 34 years as a test pilot, flight instructor and squadron leader before being elected to the Senate in 1980 where he represented Alabama for six years.
The Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers provide a wide range of capabilities in multi-threat air, surface and subsurface environments, including low intensity conflict/coastal and littoral offshore warfare.
Ingalls has delivered 32 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the Navy and has several other destroyers under construction.