August 21, 2009, Washington -- The Navy officially accepted delivery of the future USS New York (LPD 21) from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding (NGSB) during a ceremony Aug. 21 at the company's Avondale shipyard in New Orleans.
New York is the first of three LPD 17-class ships built in honor of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The ship's bow stem was constructed using 7.5 tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center. The Navy named the eighth and ninth ships of the class - Arlington and Somerset - in honor of the victims of the attacks on the Pentagon and United Flight 93 respectively. Arlington and Somerset are also incorporating materials salvaged from those sites.
New York completed acceptance trials July 24, performing well for the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). During the detailed inspection, all shipboard systems and equipment, including combat, ship, machinery control and mission systems, were successfully demonstrated during a series of demanding inport and at-sea test events. This trial confirmed the continuing improved class trend in system design specifications and quality assurance programs.
"This ship will be a symbol," said Capt. Bill Galinis, the LPD 17-class program manager for the Navy's Program Executive Office for Ships. "The Navy and the shipbuilder have worked hand-in-hand to deliver this highly capable warship to the Navy and our nation. It has been a tremendous privilege for all of us who have had an opportunity to participate in the construction of this ship."
The principal mission of LPD 17-class amphibious transport dock ships is to transport and deploy the necessary combat and support elements of Marine expeditionary units and brigades. The ship will carry approximately 720 troops and have the capability of transporting and debarking air cushion (LCAC) or conventional landing craft and expeditionary fighting vehicles (EFV), augmented by helicopters or vertical take off and landing aircraft (MV 22). These ships will support amphibious assault, special operations and expeditionary warfare missions through the first half of the 21st century.
New York is the fifth ship of the LPD 17-class and the fifth ship in the Navy to be named after the Empire State. Arrival in New York is scheduled for November. Early events will be focused on ship's crew, their families, first responders and 9/11 families. Public viewing is scheduled in the days prior to and days following the commissioning, slated for Nov. 7.
The Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9) slides into the water for the first time during an evening christening and launch ceremony at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego. Perry is the ninth Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ammunition ship. Matthew Perry is scheduled to be delivered to Military Sealift Command in early 2010. (Photo: U.S. Navy/Sarah Burford/Released)
August 17, 2009, San Diego -- USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9), which will be the newest ship in the U.S. Navy's Lewis and Clark-class of dry cargo/ammunition ships, was christened and launched Aug. 16, during a late afternoon ceremony at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.
Perry is expected to be delivered to the Navy's Military Sealift Command in early 2010 following a series of tests and sea trials.
The 689-foot ship slid into the water for the first time as Hester G. Evans a great, great, great granddaughter of the ship's namesake and the ship's sponsor broke the traditional bottle of champagne against the ship's bow, christening it USNS Matthew Perry.
The ship honors Navy Commodore Matthew C. Perry (1794 - 1858), whose distinguished naval career spanned 50 years. In 1853, Perry led a squadron of ships to Japan, where he successfully negotiated a landmark trade treaty with the Japanese. Perry also served during the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War and sailed off the coast of Africa to suppress the slave trade.
"I am confident this fine vessel will well represent the spirit, tenacity and fortitude of her namesake," said Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, as he addressed the nearly 2,000 people present at the event, including distinguished guests from the U.S. military, maritime industry, and state and local government.
"USNS Matthew Perry and her sister ships represent the lifeline of our Navy and are absolutely a vital underpinning of our maritime strategy," said Hunt. "These ships' ability to carry a wide range of critical supplies and equipment and to operate independently at sea for extended periods of time, translates into a higher state of readiness for our combatant ships."
Perry is the ninth ship in the Navy's T-AKE class. These ships are owned and operated by MSC and deliver ammunition, provisions, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to U.S. Navy and other navy ships at sea, allowing them to stay underway and combat ready for extended periods of time. The ships are crewed by 124 civil service mariners working for MSC along with 11 U.S. Navy sailors, who provide supply coordination.
"The ship has a great crew, and we are all ready to get on board, get settled and get going with the work we do for MSC," said Capt. William Baldwin, Perry's civil service master. "We're off to a really good start."
Construction began on Perry in October 2008. Once delivered to MSC, Perry is slated to operate out of San Diego. The Navy plans to build 14 dry cargo/ammunition ships, all of which will be owned and operated by MSC.
MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.
August 17, 2009, Moscow -- Russia and Libya have signed a contract to overhaul at least 145 T-72 Russian-made battle tanks in service with the Libyan Army, a senior government official said on Monday.
Moscow and Tripoli have been involved in talks on the modernization of the T-72 tanks since 2006 as part of renewed efforts to revive bilateral military-technical cooperation.
"Work has been conducted in the Libyan direction, and we have already made headway after signing a number of contracts with the country over the past year, including on the modernization of T-72 tanks," Konstantin Biryulin, deputy head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
The official said talks on Russian arms deliveries to Libya are underway, but refused to disclose any details of the future contracts due to their confidential nature.
"I do not want to help our competitors in their work [on the Libyan arms market]," Biryulin said.
Russia has encountered tough competition with Western nations in arms sales to Tripoli since the UN lifted sanctions against Libya in 2003, when the Libyan president announced he would halt the country's nuclear weapons program and accepted responsibility for the 1998 terrorist bombing over Lockerbie in Scotland, agreeing to pay compensation to the victims' families.
Libya was one of the largest buyers of Russian-made armaments in the second half of the 20th century. Tripoli has acquired from the Soviet Union more than 2,000 tanks, 2,000 armored infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, about 450 self-propelled artillery pieces, as well as a number of combat aircraft and large quantities of small arms since the beginning of the 1970s.
Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy director of the Russian Center for Strategic and Technological Analysis, said last year that future Russian arms contracts with Libya could be worth up to $4 billion, and include the total overhaul of Libya's obsolete arsenal of tanks.
"In particular, over 100 T-72s require an urgent overhaul, and the same refers to the T-62, T-55 and T-54 tanks, which constitute the backbone of the Libyan Army," the analyst said.