PASCAGOULA, Miss. (NNS) -- A ceremony marking the official start of future USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) fabrication was held at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard Sept. 30.
The vessel's namesake and former secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Paul Ignatius, made a cut to the first 100 tons of the ship's steel, signifying the start of fabrication. Present at his side was his wife and ship sponsor, Nancy Ignatius and members of the Ignatius family.
"It's an honor to have Secretary Ignatius, a man who has played such a major role in naval history, here today to make his mark on the future of naval warfare" said Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "I look forward to sharing future DDG 117 milestones with the Ignatius family who will be integral contributors to every one of this ship's successes."
During World War II, Paul Ignatius served as a commissioned lieutenant in the Navy. Ignatius continued his service to the Navy as secretary of the Navy from 1967-1969 and then as assistant secretary of defense, installations and logistics during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration. The future USS Paul Ignatius is the 67th ship of the Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) class and the first ship to bear his name.
DDG 51 class ships provide a foundation for naval warfare, acting as integral players in global maritime security, engaging in air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense. USS Paul Ignatius is a flight IIA destroyer, improving on the warfighting capability of previous Arleigh Burke destroyers, including advances in anti-submarine warfare, command and control, and anti-surface warfare.
"The Arleigh Burke class destroyer is an incredible asset that has been integral to the success of naval missions across the world by providing outstanding combat capability and survivability characteristics," said Vandroff. "Since the commissioning of the first ship in 1991, the destroyers and their crews have continued the legacy of U.S. naval excellence enhancing naval presence and capability across the world."
DDG 117 is the first ship in the FY2013-FY2017 multi-year procurement contract to start fabrication. Five Arleigh Burke class destroyers are under construction with an additional nine under contract. Keels for future destroyers USS John Finn (DDG 113) and USS Ralph Johnson(DDG 114) were laid at HII in November 2013 and September 2014, respectively. The future USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) have started fabrication at Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Bath, Maine. Fabrication of the future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118) is scheduled to commence by the end of this year at BIW.
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. Delivering high-quality war fighting assets - while balancing affordability and capability - is key to supporting the Navy's Maritime Strategy.
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