The keel laying and authentication ceremony for the future USS Fallujah (LHA 9) was held at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Pascagoula shipyard, Sept. 20.
The ship will commemorate the First and Second Battles of Fallujah during the Iraq War.
The ship’s sponsor is Donna Berger, spouse of Gen. David H. Berger, 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps, and an active advocate for military families.
“As the second Flight 1 LHA, this ship provides critical amphibious assault capabilities, while also having the flexibility to support other missions, such as humanitarian efforts, when called upon,” said Cedric McNeal, program manager, Amphibious Warfare Program Office, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “With the start of fabrication in late 2022 and the keel laying commemorated today, steady progress is being made and we look forward to eventually delivering this ship to the warfighter.”
Future USS Fallujah is the fourth ship of the America class of amphibious assault ships, built to facilitate forward presence and power projection. LHA 9 is the second Flight I ship of the class, with a reincorporated well deck to increase operational flexibility while maximizing the aviation capability inherent to Flight 0 ships.
Designed to support the Marine Corps tenets of Operational Maneuver from the Sea and Ship to Objective Maneuver, America-class ships are capable of rapid combat power buildup ashore. The America class accommodates the Marine Corps’ Air Combat Element including F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and MV-22 Osprey, essential to maintaining power projection, air superiority, and theater logistics.
HII’s Pascagoula shipyard is also currently in production on the future USS Bougainville (LHA 8) and amphibious transport dock ships, future USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29), USS Harrisburg (LPD 30) and USS Pittsburgh (LPD 31). The shipyard is also under contract for fourteen Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers awarded as part of the FY18-27 multiyear procurement.
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, boats and craft.