By April M. Havens The Mississippi Press
AVONDALE, Louisiana — The future USS Somerset successfully completed builder’s trials last week at Ingalls Shipbuilding’s Avondale, La., yard, the U.S. Navy announced today.
“Somerset performed well during builder’s trials,” Capt. Darren Plath, LPD 17 class program manager, said. “Her strong performance honors the craftsmanship of the Avondale team and the courage of the Americans for which the ship is named.”
Builder’s sea trials are conducted by the shipbuilder to test a ship’s major systems, including combat, propulsion, ballasting, communications, navigation and mission systems.
The trials allow the shipbuilder to identify and fix any deficiencies prior to Navy acceptance trials this fall.
Every ship system was evaluated, from combat and communications systems, propulsion plant, auxiliary systems, to habitability and ship handling at-sea events. Somerset also completed self-defense exercises, a full power run, steering, rapid ballast/de-ballast operations and an anchor handling demonstration.
“We put Somerset through rigorous testing last week,” said Mike Duthu, director of Ingalls’ LPD Program.
“We are extremely pleased with the fit and finish on the ship and how well she performed,” he said. “The team did a great job getting LPD 25 to this point. We have already started preparations for Navy acceptance trials, and we have confidence that we’ll be ready.”
LPD 25 is the ninth ship of the LPD 17-class of amphibious transport dock ships and the third and final ship named in commemoration of the heroes of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
USS New York (LPD 21) and USS Arlington (LPD 24) have already been commissioned.
Somerset is named for the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93, whose actions disrupted the terrorist hijackers causing Flight 93 to crash in Somerset County, Penn.
Steel from the power shovel that overlooked the crash site during recovery was melted down and cast into Somerset’s bow stem.
Somerset is slated for delivery this fall and will be commissioned next spring.