The US Navy’s 25-year old amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) will be able to support and operate the F-35B Joint Strike Fighters on-board after its upgrade by BAE Systems in 2021.
Starting June this year, BAE Systems will drydock and perform nearly 18 months of maintenance and modernization work aboard the USS Boxer under a $200.3 million contract by the US Navy announced Thursday.
The drydocking of USS Boxer will be the first time the company’s San Diego shipyard will use its 950-foot-long Pride of California drydock to service a large-deck warship.
BAE Systems’ San Diego shipyard will begin working aboard the 843-foot-long USS Boxer in June 2020. Under the contract, BAE Systems will upgrade the ship to support and operate Joint Strike Fighters on-board; perform hull, tank and mechanical work; and make other shipboard improvements.
The shipyard is expected to complete its work aboard the 25-year-old ship in December 2021. The contract includes options that, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value to $207.48 million.
The 40,000 ton Wasp-class amphibious assault ship was deployed to the Persian Gulf when tensions between Tehran and Washington peaked in 2019. The Boxer currently deploys the vintage Harrier II vertical landing fighter jets - which are to be replaced by F-35B vertical landing stealth fighters.
In March 2020, the USS Boxer became the first US warship whose two crew members got afflicted with the dreaded COVID-19.