Ingalls Christens USS Essex, Second Wasp Class Assault Ship
The second ship in the new Wasp Class (LHD-1) of multipurpose amphibious assault ships for the U.S.
Navy was recently christened "Essex" at Ingalls Shipbuilding division of Litton in Pascagoula, Miss. The principal speaker at the ceremony was Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney. His wife, Mrs. Lynne Cheney, was chosen by the Navy as the Essex's sponsor and broke the traditional bottle of champagne across the ship's bow. Other speakers at the ceremony included U.S. Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi; Secretary of the Navy, H. Lawrence Garrett III; Adm. Frank B. Kelso, Chief of Naval Operations; Orion L. Hoch, chairman and chief executive officer of Litton and Jerry St. Pe, president of Ingalls Shipbuilding and senior vice president of Litton. The 40,500-ton, 844-foot ship is the centerpiece of a Navy amphibious group. Its primary mission is the embarkation, deployment, command and support of a marine landing force by air and amphibious craft. Secondary missions include operating with a carrier or battleship battlegroup, providing aircraft and command/control facilities for sea control missions.
The Essex (LHD-2), as well as other ships of the Wasp Class, are specially designed to accommodate Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) vehicles, Harrier II and Short Take Off/Vertical Landing jets. The Essex can also accommodate a full range of Navy and Marine Corps helicopters, conventional landing craft and amphibious vehicles. With an overall length of 844 feet (788 feet at the waterline) and beam of 106 feet, the Essex features two Westinghouse steam propulsion turbines, developing a combined 70,000 horsepower, which drive the ship to speeds in excess of 20 knots.
Various other equipment suppliers for the Essex include: Litton Guidance & Control Systems division (ship control consoles); Combustion Engineering (boilers); General Electric Co. (generators); Jered Brown Brothers (elevators and steering gears); Litton Data Systems division (electronic equipment National Forge Co. (propulsion shafting); Bird-Johnson (propellers); and Stewart & Stevenson Services (diesel generators).
For free literature detailing the shipbuilding facilities of Ingalls Shipbuilding division of Litton,