HII Begins Construction of USS Ralph Johnson
The U.S. Navy marked the start of fabrication for the future USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) in a ceremony Sept. 12 at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss.
The keel laying ceremony recognizes the first joining together of a ship’s components. While modern shipbuilding processes allow fabrication of individual modules to begin months earlier, keel laying represents the formal beginning of a ship.
“Start of fabrication signifies the first 100 tons of steel cut,” said Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 class program manager for the Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “Today, hundreds of capable men and women at the shipyard begin building in earnest this vitally important warship. Also, it was a great honor to have the ship’s sponsor, Mrs. Georgeanne McRaven with us. Her presence starts off her special relationship with the future USS Ralph Johnson.”
A contract for the construction of DDG 114 was competitively awarded to HII in September, 2011. The ship is being procured as a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) destroyer, designed to perform air and missile defense with integrated air and missile defense capability. DDG 114 is expected to deliver in fiscal year 2017.
The ship is named for Marine Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Vietnam War. Johnson used his body to shield two fellow Marines from a grenade, absorbing the blast and dying instantly in March 1968.
Currently, the Navy has 13 DDG 51-class destroyers under contract, including the recent FY 2013-17 multi-year procurement of nine ships awarded to HII and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in June 2012. Other ships under contract include DDG 113 at HII and DDG 115 and DDG 116 at Bath Iron Works.
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships and special warfare craft. Delivering high-quality war fighting assets – while balancing affordability and capability – is key to supporting the Navy’s Maritime Strategy.
Press Release, September 13, 2013