PASCAGOULA, Miss. -- The keel of the future USS Delbert
D. Black (DDG 119) was ceremoniously laid at the Huntington Ingalls Industries
(HII) shipyard June 1.
The ship's keel was authenticated by Mrs. Ima Black, the
ship's sponsor and wife of the late Delbert D. Black, and Mr. Ernest Wiley,
HII's General Ship Superintendent. The authenticators etched their initials
into the keel plate to symbolically recognize the joining of modular components
and the ceremonial beginning of the ship.
"Just under a year ago, Ms. Black was here with us
as we began fabrication on the ship," said Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51
class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "We've had steady production and we're
honored to have her here with us today as this ship starts to come to
The ship will be configured as a Flight IIA destroyer,
which enables power projection, forward presence, and escort operations at sea
in support of Low Intensity Conflict/Coastal and Littoral Offshore Warfare as
well as open ocean conflict. Delbert D. Black will be equipped with the Navy's
Aegis Combat System, the world's foremost integrated naval weapon. The ship
will also incorporate Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) that when
combined with the Aegis Combat System, will permit groups of ships and aircraft
to link their radars to provide a composite picture of the battle space,
effectively increasing the theater space. The capability is designed to provide
the Navy with a 21st century fighting edge.
HII's Pascagoula shipyard is also currently in production
on the future destroyers USS John Finn (DDG 113), USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114),
and USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117).
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.