PASCAGOULA -- Mississippi's U.S. senators, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, announced Friday the country has decided to fund another amphibious transport deck vessel, and Ingalls shipyard will get the $200 million Navy contract.
The money funds long-lead material costs to begin building the LPD 28.
The Mississippi lawmakers supported the funding through defense appropriations this fiscal year. They said Cochran played a key role in the authorization process -- adding $1 billion in procurement funding for the LPD 28, a San Antonio-class vessel believed to be favored by the Navy and Marine Corps.
The contract was awarded to Huntington Ingalls Industries. Ingalls is that company's Pascagoula yard.
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"With this contract, our Mississippi shipbuilders will continue to play a major role in meeting the readiness challenges facing our Navy," said Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense. "Their work is essential to carry our goal to address an amphibious lift shortfall and to ensure that our modern Navy is equipped to protect our national security interests."
U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-4, also praised the award, saying it was a step toward giving the Marine Corps the ships it needs for missions.
"These advance contracts allow the Navy to save taxpayer funds by maintaining production lines," the senators said in a news release. "The San Antonio-class ships, which are 684 feet long and 105 feet wide, are a key component of the Navy's amphibious assault force."
The process of funding the LPD 28 began when the Senate added $263 million to the Defense Appropriations Bill in fiscal year 2013.
Senate and House negotiators are working to finalize the defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016, which will determine funding for LPD 28 and other Navy shipbuilding.