PASCAGOULA, Miss., May 27, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Ship Systems sector started fabrication May 22 on LHD 8, a multipurpose amphibious assault ship. U.S. Navy and Marine Corps representatives lauded the Northrop Grumman team's efforts and the significant impact and support these ships offer to the defense of American freedom.
"The American people often wonder how we get so many Marines, tanks and airplanes to places like Iraq," said Brig. Gen. Robert B. Neller, U.S. Marine Corps, director, Operations Division. "It's on these ships. We have shown that sea power is a pretty good thing. We can sustain ourselves and have sovereignty of the seas and it's because of these amphibious ships. LHD 8 will become a part of this ongoing transformation and we thank the Northrop Grumman employees and all who play a part in building these ships for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team."
Ship Systems Ingalls Operations has delivered seven LHD 1 Wasp-class ships and five LHA 1 Tarawa-class of amphibious ships. LHD 8 marks the eighth ship in the class.
LHD 8 is the first amphibious ship that will be powered by gas turbine engines instead of a steam plant. The ship will also have all-electric auxiliary systems that will provide the Navy and Marine Corps team with significant savings in manpower and maintenance costs, while also saving on fuel expenditures. LHD 8 represents evolutionary and transformational steps towards the future.
"I am fully aware of the awesome capability of a platform like an LHD," said Rear Adm. Reubin B. Bookert, USN, deputy director, Expeditionary Warfare Division, who formerly served as commanding officer of the Northrop Grumman-built USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). "The new gas turbine propulsion system on LHD 8 will be used as a transformational platform for amphibious warfare and hopefully we expect to leverage some of the things being done on LHD 8 to move to the next big-deck platform, LHA replacement."
LHDs embark, transport, deploy, command and fully support all elements of a Marine Expeditionary Unit of 2,000 Marines, inserting forces ashore via helicopters, landing craft and amphibious vehicles. LHDs are fully equipped with command and control systems for flagship command duty. The Wasp-class is the first specifically designed to utilize air-cushion landing craft for an assault, and to carry a squadron of AV-8B Harrier II jets and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft for operational support.
"We're proud of our history in the amphibious ship program," said Paul Robinson, vice president, Ship Systems Ingalls Operations. "LHD 8 will be a much more capable platform to offer the U.S. Navy/Marine Corps team, and as we make the first cut of steel, I know we are ready to get construction of this ship underway."
"Let me assure you today that here at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems we are in full support of this start fabrication," said Joe Cole, vice president, LHD 8 Program. "We are prepared to support the sustained construction of LHD 8 to the schedule we have established."
LHD 8 is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in mid-2007.
Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector includes primary operations in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.; New Orleans and Tallulah, La.; as well as a network of fleet support offices in the U.S. and Japan. The sector, which currently employs more than 18,000 shipbuilding professionals, primarily in Mississippi and Louisiana, 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, and for commercial vessels of all types.
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CONTACT: Jim McIngvale Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (228) 935-3971