Keel Laying Ceremony Held For New Missile Detection Ship

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The Navy has to be able to react at a moment's notice anywhere in the world, and the T-AGM 25 will aid in that capability.

V T Halter Marine CEO Boyd King said the $200 million, 614 foot vessel is just the defense tool needed to protect our country at sea.

"It is a big job in that we have 140 to 150 people working on it. It is also big in showing that we can, as a shipyard, support the nation in shipbuilding to make sure that the United States stays the strongest nation in world," King said.

Wednesday, Paula DeSutter with the State Department was honored as the authenticator and helped initial the keel.

"The ship will be all over the world giving the Untied States, giving policy makers, the best information we can get about the developments countries are pursuing with ballistic missile programs," DeSutter said.

This will be the first United States Navy ship VT Halter Marine has built in more than four years.

"The system it's replacing is on a boat that is over 50-years-old," DeSutter said.

"We need to keep our Navy modern and at 100 percent," King said.

Both CEO Boyd King and DeSutter agree, every shipbuilder who has a hand in putting together such an advance vessel plays a significant role in national defense and security for the future.

"Being able to build put a system like this out means those people are going to do important jobs with lasting significant consequences. They are going to make a difference."

The ship will be completed by mid 2010. She'll replace the USNA Observation Island.