Shipbuilding Launches the Multi-Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship America
Ingalls Industries announced June 5th that its Ingalls Shipbuilding
division launched the U.S. Navy's next amphibious assault ship, America
(LHA 6), from the company's floating drydock on Monday.
"Launching a large-deck ship is a significant milestone requiring
several highly skilled shipyard crafts and a complex logistics plan,"
said Brian Cuccias, Ingalls' vice president, large deck amphibious ships.
"As the Navy's longtime sole provider of these important ships,
we are unique in our ability to draw on the specialized experience our
shipbuilders have in the safe and efficient translation and launch of
a warship of this size."
The ship, weighing more than 29,000 tons in its current state,
became one of the largest objects moved across land when it was translated
to the drydock two weeks ago. Following additional planning and preparation,
the launch process occurred utilizing the drydock's ballast system on
Monday afternoon, and the ship floated free.
Launch of USS America (LHA 6) (Video: Huntington
"This is an exceptional milestone for the LHA
program that was conducted flawlessly," said LHA 6 Program Manager
George Jones. "I am proud of the team who made this happen and
who continue to do quality work in this program."
Ingalls received a $2.38 billion contract to build the next ship in
the class, Tripoli (LHA 7), last week. LHA 6 and LHA 7 are the first
two ships in the new America class of amphibious assault ships. The
ships are 844 feet long and 106 feet wide and will displace 44,971 long
tons. The gas turbine propulsion system will drive the ships in excess
of 20 knots. They will accommodate 1,059 crew (65 officers) and 1,687
troops. They will be capable of carrying a Marine Expeditionary Unit,
including Marine helicopters, MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and F-35B
Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft. Carrying a complement of F-35s
allows the ships to serve the role of a small aircraft carrier, as demonstrated
by LHD-class ship operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The America class has an increased aviation capacity to include an enlarged
hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities,
a significant increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment,
and increased aviation fuel capacity. Similar to its predecessors, the
ship will be able to operate as the flagship for an Expeditionary Strike
Group. Ingalls has built five Tarawa (LHA 1) class ships as well as
eight Wasp (LHD 1) class ships.