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USS San Diego launched in Mississippi, bound for San Diego

A 684-foot-long Navy amphibious transport dock ship, which will soon call San Diego home and is named after “America’s Finest City,” was launched in Mississippi on Friday.

The USS San Diego, which will be delivered to the Navy next year, was launched into the Gulf of Mexico from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding’s Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., according to Naval Surface Forces public affairs.

The LPD 17 class of amphibious transport dock ships, designed to transport and deploy Marine units, can carry up to 720 troops along with air-cushioned and conventional landing craft, expeditionary fighting vehicles, helicopters and vertical take off and landing aircraft, according to the Navy.

“As the sixth ship of the class, this launch is a considerable achievement in the program,” said Jay Stefany, LPD 17 program manager for the Navy. “The ship was more than 75 percent complete prior to launch, more complete than any other ship of the class at this point in construction.”

The ship’s keel was laid on May 23, 2007. It will be christened in June.