USS America (LHA-6)
Amphibious Assault Ship / Helicopter Carrier
The new America-class LHAs has succeeded the aging Tarawa-class ships in USMC service - USS America LHA-6 is the lead ship.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Tarawa-class series of amphibious landing ships (five built from 1971 to 1980) were eventually succeeded by the new America-class in same role. Eleven are planned for the group led by USS America (LHA-6) herself. As of this writing (December 2017), USS America is the only active America-class warship in service with the United States Navy (USN) with one other sister ship currently under construction (USS Tripoli LHA-7) and another on order (USS Bougainville LHA-8). All the ships are the product of Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pensacola, Florida.
USS America was awarded to Ingalls on June 1st, 2007 and saw her keel laid down on July 17th, 2009. She was launched on June 4th, 2012 and officially commissioned on October 11th, 2014. She is based out of San Diego, California and fights under the motto of "Ready for War or Peace".
The vessel has a displacement of 46,000 tons under full load and an overall length of 844 feet, a beam of 106 feet and a draught of 26 feet. Power is from a paired gas turbine arrangement developing 70,000 horsepower with 2 x Auxiliary propulsion motors of 5,000 horsepower each. This allows her to make headway at speeds nearing 22 knots.
Aboard is a crew of 1,060 with a contingent of 1,690 marines possible. The vessel is outfitted with the AN/SPQ-9B surface-search and Fire Control radar, AN/SPS-48E(V)10 3D air-search radar, the AN/SPS-49(V)1 2D air-search radar and the AN/SPM-43C air traffic control radar. Electronic Warfare (EW) is handled by the AN/SLQ-32B(V)2 fit (Block 1) and the vessel carries 2 x Mk 53 NULKA decoy launchers.
Armament is 2 x Evolved Sea Sparrow medium-range surface-to-air missile launchers, 2 x RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) short-range launchers , 2 x 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs), 2 x 25mm M242 "Bushmaster" chain guns and up to 7 x 0.50 heavy machine guns in twin-gunned mountings.
In profile, the warship sports a straight-through flight deck with the island superstructure set to the starboard side. The flight deck primarily serves Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft, mainly helicopters, but the also the fixed-wing AV-8B Harrier II (currently) and Lockheed F-35 Lightning II (future) VTOL jets. Helicopter-wise, the warship can launch and retrieve the MV-22B "Osprey" tilt-rotor transport, the Sikorsky CH-53K "Super Stallion" heavy helicopter, the MH-60S "Knighthawk" and UH-1Y "Venom" medium-lift types and the AH-1Z "Viper" twin-seat, twin-engine dedicated attack helicopter.
USS America takes on the role of amphibious assault ship and sports all-modern systems and resources to better support both USN and US Marine Corp (USMC) operations around the globe. She is well-defended and fields a strong mix of combat aircraft to suite most mission needs. Since her introduction in October of 2014, USS America has voyaged to various ports across South America. The ship's first operational deployment will also feature the F-35B strike fighter.