RELEASE: Palazzo Encouraged by Retired Generals’ Support for 12th LPD

Says support is growing for additional Pascagoula-built ships

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steven Palazzo, (MS-4), today applauded a letter received from twenty retired U.S. Marine Corps Generals, requesting an additional amphibious LPD-17 design warship. Palazzo recently questioned top Navy and Marine Corps officials about the ship at a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

In a statement, Palazzo said: “We’re talking about more than just an additional ship, we’re talking about ensuring the next generation of warships continue to be built in South Mississippi. This seems to be the best option for South Mississippi and our men and women in uniform, as well as the best deal for the taxpayer.”

The letter praised the LPD-17 amphibious warships, that are now solely built in Pascagoula, as “the cornerstone of America’s visible forward presence, projecting metered power and response to crises ranging from non-combatant evacuations and humanitarian assistance to direct military intervention.”

The letter also acknowledges the cost-savings that would come from using the existing LPD-17 design for a new class of ships known as the LX(R):

“To reduce LX(R) costs consideration should be given to basing it on a proven warship design such as the LPD-17 San Antonio class which is still under construction. The LPD-17 program was originally planned for 12 warships but was reduced to 11 vessels due to budget constraints. By using the proven LPD-17 design for a 12th warship we can leverage existing industry workforce and supplier relationships, thereby building a timely cost-effective bridge to LX(R) deliveries while also ensuring the health of our amphibious warship industrial base and labor force.”

In response to Palazzo’s questions at a recent House Armed Services Committee hearing, General Amos praised the LPD 17 class ships, stating: “I would love to have the twelfth ship. We would love to have the twelfth ship. … The twelfth ship, if money was allocated, would allow us some decision space, as we look towards just exactly what’s going to replace those LSDs, those 12 LSD 41, 49 class ships that we have, which are nearing the end of their service life.”

Admiral Greenert also admitted that the Navy needed more ships than currently allotted in the FY15 budget, stating: “Today, in the world that we live in, the world that the Navy and Marine Corps lives in, and the future, we probably need 50 [amphibious ships]. If we want to do everything that we’re asked to do — and it’s not just the COCOM’s ask, it’s we look out around the world. We could probably use 50 amphibious ships, but we don’t have that.”

The San Antonio class LPD ships are the U.S. Navy’s primary class of amphibious transport dock warships of the 21st century. Three of the nine previously built San Antonio class LPD’s were built at the Ingalls Shipbuilding Pascagoula shipyard, with two more currently under construction there. Any additional San Antonio class LPD’s, such as the ship for which Palazzo has publicly advocated, would be built in Pascagoula.

3/27/14