Pittsburgh (LPD 31) is taking shape at Ingalls Shipbuilding

Friday's keel authentication ceremony at Ingalls Shipbuilding marks the beginning of the journey to build Pittsburgh (LPD 31).
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 4:10 PM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - The keel authentication ceremony, or keel laying, marks the beginning of the journey to build a ship. Friday at Ingalls Shipbuilding, that process started for what will be the Pittsburgh LPD 31.

“This is a step stone, a milestone associated with the shipbuilding process. It’s an opportunity to thank the shipbuilders for what they do every day,” said LPD Ship Program Manager Michael Pruitt.

They call this ship the Swiss Army knife of vessels. It can carry troops into hostile territories, and it can serve in humanitarian efforts.

“I know what it’s like to be in a situation where you call on something, you need it to act right. That’s why we take pride in what we do at Ingalls,” said Larry Stevens, a pipe welder at Ingalls and a military member.

The keel authentication ceremony, or keel laying, marks the beginning of the journey to build a...
The keel authentication ceremony, or keel laying, marks the beginning of the journey to build a ship. Friday at Ingalls Shipbuilding, that process started for what will be the Pittsburgh LPD 31.(WLOX)

The Urbans, the shipbuilder sponsors, have Pittsburgh ties. They love the “blue-collar, American know-how” feel of what’s happening as these shipbuilders put this vessel together.

“My father was a welder in Pittsburgh,” said David Urban. “My family has a very blue-collar upbringing and background. So we appreciate the men and women working here every day in this community that are helping our country, and building these ships for our national defense. So we couldn’t be prouder.”

It’s a chance for Ingalls and these shipbuilders to show their mettle as LPD 31 takes shape.

“We will build this ship strong and ready to enable support and protect her crew as they do the work of our nation,” said Ingalls President Kari Wilkinson.

We’re told it’ll take about 18 months to get the keel in place on LPD 31. They hope to have the entire ship completed in about four years.

According to Ingalls Shipbuilding, LPD 31 is the fifth Navy vessel to be named after the historic city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The first ship was an ironclad gunboat and served during the American Civil War. Since then, the name Pittsburgh has been assigned to four vessels that have served the U.S. during conflict.

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