Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division launched the amphibious transport dock Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29) being built for the U.S. Navy.
Richard M. McCool Jr., the 13th LPD in the San Antonio class of amphibious assault force ships, will support U.S. amphibious assault, special operations and expeditionary warfare missions through the first half of the 21st century.
With the assistance of tugs, Richard M. McCool Jr. came off the floating dry dock Wednesday morning, after first being translated via Ingalls’ rail car system. The dock was moved away from the pier and then ballasted to float off the ship.
Launching Richard M. McCool Jr. is the first of a series of significant milestone events in bringing the ship to life, and eventual delivery to the U.S. Navy which is planned for later next year.
Ingalls Shipbuilding is building the entire San Antonio class of ships, the newest addition to the Navy’s 21st century amphibious assault force. The 684-foot-long, 105-foot-wide ships that displace 25,000 tons are used to embark and land Marines, their equipment and supplies ashore via air cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft such as the MV-22 Osprey.