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The amphibious transport dock ships USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and USS New York (LPD 21) are underway together in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia. Ingalls Shipbuilding authenticated the keel of its latest amphibious transport dock ship, USS Harrisburg (LPD 30), the first Flight II amphibious ship.

The amphibious transport dock ships USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and USS New York (LPD 21) are underway together in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia. Ingalls Shipbuilding authenticated the keel of its latest amphibious transport dock ship, USS Harrisburg (LPD 30), the first Flight II amphibious ship. (Edwin F. Bryan/U.S. Navy)

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (Tribune News Service) — Ingalls Shipbuilding authenticated the keel of its latest amphibious transport dock ship, USS Harrisburg (LPD 30), the first Flight II amphibious ship.

Ingalls has delivered 11 of the San Antonio-class dock landing ships to the U.S. Navy, with three more under construction, including Harrisburg, named in honor of the Pennsylvania city. It will be the second U.S. Navy ship to carry the name, following the USS Harrisburg, a civilian ocean liner which was converted to a troop transport ship during World War I.

LPD 30′s sponsor, Alexandra Curry, wife of Middletown, Pa., mayor James Curry, was unable to attend the ceremony, so Rear Adm. Tom Anderson, Program Executive Officer, filled in and declared the keel “truly and fairly laid.”

In earlier days, shipbuilders would host a “keel laying” ceremony, but advances in shipbuilding technology has turned the tradition into a “keel authentication” ceremony in which the authenticators verify the keel has been laid “true.”

“While she could not join us, we welcome Mrs. Curry in spirit as she is now an important part of our shipbuilding family,” said Ingalls president Kari Wilkinson. “We look forward to being with her throughout the life of the ship and we are very grateful for her commitment to this crew. She is a true patriot, with deep respect and gratitude for military service.”

LPD Flight II ships are the next generation of amphibious ships to replace the Whidbey Island (LSD 41) and Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) classes.

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