Northrop Grumman has received a $2.49 billion US Navy shipbuilding contract for the construction and further development of two San Antonio (LPD 17)-class ships.

The contract is for the construction of two new amphibious transport dock ships, LPD 22 and LPD 23, as well as the purchase of long-lead materials and equipment for a third ship, LPD 24.

Current Navy plans call for Northrop Grumman to build at least nine ships in the class. Northrop Grumman delivered the first ship, USS San Antonio (LPD 17), last summer, and the ship was commissioned in January of this year. Currently, New Orleans (LPD 18), Mesa Verde (LPD 19), Green Bay (LPD 20) and New York (LPD 21) are each under contract and in various stages of construction at the company's shipyards in New Orleans, and Pascagoula and Gulfport. The ships under this new contract will be named San Diego (LPD 22), Anchorage (LPD 23) and Arlington (LPD 24).

The LPD 17 class, 684 feet long and 105 feet wide, will replace the functions of the LPD 4, LSD 36, LKA 113 and LDT 1179 classes of amphibious ships. According to Northrop Grumman, this new class of ship affords the Navy's Expeditionary Strike Group with the technology and flexibility to launch and recover two amphibious Landing Craft, Air Cushions (LCAC), operate an array of rotary-wing aircraft, as well as the ability to carry and launch 14 Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles.

The ship will have a crew of 360 officers and enlisted Navy personnel and is capable of embarking a landing force of up to 800 Marines. The ship has a navigational draft of 23 feet and displaces approximately 25,000 tons. Four turbo-charged diesels power the ship to sustained speeds of 22 knots.