USS America (LHA-6), after her launch
|Awarded:||1 June 2007|
|Builder:||Huntington Ingalls Industries|
|Laid down:||17 July 2009 |
|Launched:||4 June 2012 |
|Sponsored by:||Lynne Pace|
|Christened:||20 October 2012 |
|Notes:||Program cost, $6.8 billion
Unit cost, $3.4 billion (FY 2011)
|Class & type:||America-class amphibious assault ship|
|Displacement:||Approx. 45,000 long tons (45,700 metric tons) full load|
|Length:||844 feet (257.3 meters)|
|Beam:||106 feet (32.3 meters)|
|Propulsion:||Two marine gas turbines, two shafts, 70,000 total brake horsepower, two 5,000 horsepower auxiliary propulsion motors.|
|Speed:||20+ knots (37+ km/h)|
|Complement:||65 officers, 994 enlisted
1,687 Marines (plus 184 surge)
|AN/SPQ-9B fire control
AN/SPS-48E airsearch radar
2×Mk53 NULKA decoy launchers
|Armament:||2× Rolling Airframe Missile launchers
2× Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile launchers
2× 20 mm Phalanx CIWS mounts
7× twin .50 BMG machine guns
|Aircraft carried:||MV-22B Osprey
F-35B Lightning II
CH-53K Super Stallion
PCU America (LHA-6), the fourth American warship to be named for the United States of America, will be the first of the America-class amphibious assault ships for the U.S. Navy. She will be delivered in 2013, replacing USS Peleliu (LHA-5) of the Tarawa class. Her mission is to act as the flagship of an expeditionary strike group or amphibious ready group, carrying part of a Marine expeditionary unit into battle and putting them ashore with helicopters and V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, supported by F-35B Lightning II aircraft and helicopter gunships.
Her design is based on USS Makin Island (LHD-8) but with no well deck and smaller medical spaces to allow more room for aviation facilities. With a displacement of 45,000 tons she is as big as the aircraft carriers of other nations, and can fulfill similar missions when configured with 20 F-35B strike fighters.
The design is based on the USS Makin Island (LHD-8), itself an improved version of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. Approximately 45% of the Flight 0 design is based on LHD-8, with the well deck removed to allow more room for aircraft and aviation fuel. Removal of the well dock for landing craft provides for an extended hangar deck with two significantly wider high bay areas, each fitted with an overhead crane for aircraft maintenance.
These changes were required in order to operate the F-35B and MV-22 which are considerably larger than the aircraft they replace. The typical aircraft complement is expected to be 12 MV-22B Osprey transports, 6 STOVL F-35B Lightning II attack aircraft, 4 CH-53K heavy transport helicopters, 7 AH-1Z/UH-1Y attack helicopters and 2 Navy MH-60S "Knighthawks" for air-sea rescue. The exact makeup of the ship's aircraft complement will vary according to its mission. It can carry 20 F-35B and 2 MH-60S to serve as a small aircraft carrier as demonstrated by LHD operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Other enhancements include a reconfigurable command and control complex, an on-board hospital, additional aviation fuel capacity, and numerous aviation support spaces.
The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation's Ingalls Shipyard Division a $2.4 billion fixed-price incentive contract for the detailed design and construction of LHA-6, primarily at the company's shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The production decision was made in January 2006 and construction of LHA-6 began in December 2008. Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter announced in June 2008 that the ship would be named America. The keel-laying ceremony was held on 17 July 2009 with delivery originally planned for August 2012. The ship was launched on 4 June 2012, and christened on 20 October. As of 2012[update], America is scheduled for delivery in 2013, with Naval Base San Diego as her home port.
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