NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 10, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- In describing the Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC)-built amphibious transport dock ship New York (LPD 21) and her sister ships today, U.S. Navy Secretary Gordon England said, "These ships...these champions of freedom, stand for life, liberty and the pursuit of all who threaten it and will ensure that we will never forget 9/11."

England spoke during a keel laying ceremony held at the company's Ship Systems sector here. Naming LPD 21 New York honors the victims and heroes of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001.

"These ships will take the fight to the terrorists who threaten the peace and freedom of the world," said England. "New York, the sailors and Marines who serve America, and the men and women of Northrop Grumman will never forget and will never fail. Today, we renew our grief and we renew our resolve to, in the words of the ship's motto, 'Never Forget.'"

"On behalf of all the sailors and Marines who will go to sea on USS New York and all the other great ships that are built here at Northrop Grumman, I just want to say thank you to all the workers here for what you do in building the best ships in the world for our sailors and Marines."

England's wife, Dotty H. England, the ship's sponsor, declared the keel of New York to be "truly and fairly laid," following the ceremonial welding of her initials onto a steel plate.

"This asset will further enable our expeditionary forces to maintain world peace and stability," said Philip A. Dur, president, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. "LPD 21 will provide the foundation for quick, decisive and effective response during times of crisis or conflict. As proud and patriotic Americans, Northrop Grumman shipbuilders are building New York with special care, pride and the dedication it deserves as a fitting memorial to the victims and heroes of New York."

New York (LPD 21) is the fifth ship in the 12-ship LPD 17 series of San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ships being built by the company. Construction is taking place at the Ship Systems sector's Avondale shipyard with fabrication support from the other three Ship Systems facilities in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss., as well as Tallulah, La.

In September 2003, more than 24 tons of World Trade Center steel was melted at a Louisiana foundry to cast the bow stem of New York (LPD 21). The World Trade Center steel was provided by the people of New York for use in construction of the ship. The bow stem is the forward most portion of the ship that slices through the water.

Six previous ships, including a battleship, have been named New York. One submarine was named for New York City.

The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ships are 684 feet (208.4 meters) long and 105 feet (31.9 meters) wide and will replace the functions of four classes of older amphibious ships. This new class of ship affords the U.S. Navy's Expeditionary Strike Group with the technology and flexibility to launch and recover amphibious landing craft such as the Landing Craft, Air Cushion ; operate an array of rotary-wing aircraft; and carry and launch the Marine Corp's Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.

Displacing nearly 25,000 tons, these ships will be the second-largest ships in the Navy's 21st Century Expeditionary Strike Groups. New York will have a crew of 361 sailors and will be able to carry up to 699 Marines with a surge capability of up to 800 Marines.

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems includes primary operations in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.; and in New Orleans and Tallulah, La., as well as in a network of fleet support offices in the U.S. and Japan. Ship Systems is one of the nation's leading full-service systems companies for the design, engineering, construction and life-cycle support of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navies.

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             Northrop Grumman Ship Systems 
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