The America (LHA 6) class ships are the next step in the incremental development of the amphibious assault ship.
PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 18, 2016) The USS America, (LHA 6), houses 12 F35-B Lightning II aircraft off the coast of California. USS America is a new class of ship specifically designed for the F-35 jet. With over 22,500 flight hours logged, the F-35B is the most versatile aircraft in the skies today. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Dana Beesley/Released)
America class ships facilitate forward presence and power projection as an integral part of joint, interagency, and multinational maritime expeditionary forces, supporting the Marine Corps tenets of Operational Maneuver from the Sea (OMFTS) and Ship to Objective Maneuver (STOM). These ships use the same gas turbine propulsion plant, zonal electrical distribution and electric auxiliary systems designed and built for USS Makin Island (LHD 8), replacing the maintenance intensive steam turbines of earlier ships. The unique Auxiliary Propulsion System (APS) was designed for fuel efficiency. Instead of using main propulsion engines to power the ship's shaft, the APS uses two induction-type auxiliary propulsion motors powered from the ship's electrical grid. By incorporating the proven APS of the USS Makin Island, PEO Ships is avoiding design and development costs that are often associated with a new ship class.
USS America (LHA 6) and USS Tripoli (LHA 7), commonly referred to as Flight 0 ships, contain key differences from the Wasp class LHDs including: an enlarged hangar deck, enhanced aviation maintenance facilities, increased aviation fuel capacity, additional aviation storerooms, removal of the well deck, and an electronically reconfigurable C4ISR suite.
Flight 1 ships, starting with the LHA 8, will reincorporate a well deck to increase operational flexibility without sacrificing aviation capability. LHA 8 will also incorporate the Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar volume air search radar in lieu of the AN/SPS-48G air search radar on LHA 6 and 7.
The USS America is currently in service alongside the earlier Wasp-class Amphibious Assault Ships. The USS Tripoli completed Combat System Ship Qualification Trials and Final Contract Trials August 23-27 in support of future deployment.
Fabrication commenced on the future USS Bougainville (LHA 8) in October 2018 and the ship is planned to launch in summer 2023. Early production efforts to include the ordering of long lead-time material began in April 2020 in support of procurement of LHA 9.
Updated Sept 2021