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By Team Ships Public Affairs
PASCAGOULA, Miss. - The construction of the future USS
Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (DDG 121) is officially underway at Huntington Ingalls
Industries shipyard. The milestone, which signifies the first 100 tons of steel
being cut, was marked with a ceremony held in the shipyard's fabrication shop.
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
When operational, these multi-mission 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
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.