|Cmdr. Dave Murray, production officer for the U.S. Navy's DDG 51 program, presses the button to start fabrication of the Ingalls-built destroyer Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121). Photo by Lance Davis/HII|
The milestone, which signifies the first 100 tons of steel being cut, was marked with a ceremony held in the shipyard's fabrication shop, April 27.
The guided-missile destroyer honors Frank Emmanuel Petersen Jr. who was the first African American aviator and general officer in the United States Marine Corps. After entering the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in 1950, Petersen would go on to fly more than 350 combat missions throughout the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
"With this milestone, Ingalls is now in various stages of production on five Arleigh Burke-class destroyers," said Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "DDG 121 will greatly benefit from the serial production of those earlier ships and once delivered, will be the 70th destroyer of its class to join the U.S. Fleet."
Frank E. Petersen Jr. will be built in the Flight IIA configuration with the AEGIS Baseline 9 Combat System, which includes Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability. This system delivers quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability for Anti-Air Warfare.
When operational, these multimission surface combatants will serve as integral players in global maritime security, engaging in air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense as well as increased capabilities in anti-submarine warfare, command and control, and anti-surface warfare.
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.