PASCAGOULA, Miss. -- The future USS Arlington (LPD 24) completed acceptance trials Nov. 2, sailing from and returning to Huntington Ingalls Industries' (HII) shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss.
Arlington is the eighth San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship to be presented to the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) for acceptance, bringing it a step closer to delivery to the Navy.
During the trials, HII demonstrated a variety of systems including main propulsion engineering and ship control systems, combat and communications systems, damage control, various mission systems, food service and crew support, and the electronic backbone of the ship -- the Shipboard Wide Area Network. Several demonstrations require a second ship at sea for communications. For the first time in the class's history, that partner was another LPD 17 class ship - the future USS Anchorage (LPD 23), which had departed HII's Avondale shipyard en route to its homeport.
"This trial marked the final milestone prior to delivering LPD 24 to the Navy," said Capt. Darren Plath, LPD 17 class program manager for Program Executive Office, Ships. "Additionally, seeing two of LPDs together at sea is a testament to the steady progress Ingalls is making in delivering LPDs with vital amphibious warfare capabilities to the fleet. We look forward to continuing this success with the future USS Somerset next year."
Among the highlights of the at sea trial portion, Arlington completed a full power run, self defense detect-to-engage exercises, steering checks, quick reversal (crash-back), boat handling, and anchoring. The rapid ballast and de-ballast demonstration is unique to amphibious ships, and during LPD 24's acceptance trials, the results of the rapid ballast event beat the 15-minute time standard by more than two minutes.
In addition to the INSURV team, Navy experts from Naval Sea Systems Command, the LPD 17 class Program Office, Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast, and Arlington's crew participated in preparing for and executing the trials.
"In the past 50 weeks, the government/industry team on the Gulf Coast has presented three LPD 17 class ships, and each has been recommended for Navy acceptance by INSURV," said Capt. Steve Mitchell, supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast. "Because of the effort of our team members who participated in extensive quality assurance, testing and evaluation efforts in the months preceding these trials, three quality amphibious ships will reach the fleet in a year's time."
The ship is named for the county of Arlington and honors the first responders and the 184 victims who died when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon Sept. 11, 2001. LPD 24 is expected to deliver later this year and will be commissioned in April 2013 in Norfolk, Va., the ship's homeport.
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. Currently, the majority of shipbuilding programs managed by PEO Ships are benefiting from serial production efficiencies, which are critical to delivering ships on cost and schedule.