Flight operations for US Navy USS America LHA 6 amphibious assault ship with MH-60S helicopter

The U.S. Navy USS America (LHA 6) amphibious assault ship conducts flight operations with MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the America Expeditionary Strike Group, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit team.

Flight operations for US Navy USS America LHA 6 amphibious assault ship with MH 60S helicopter 925 001 Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Dominic Webster, from Jersey City, New Jersey, assigned to amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) signals an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 to take off from the flight deck. (Picture source U.S. Navy)

The expeditionary strike group (ESG) is a United States Navy concept introduced in the early 1990s, based on the Naval Expeditionary Task Force. The U.S. Navy fields nine expeditionary strike groups and ten carrier strike groups, in addition to surface action groups. ESGs allow the U.S. to provide highly movable and self-sustaining naval forces for missions in various parts of the world.

The ESG concept combines the capabilities of surface action groups, submarines, and maritime patrol aircraft with those of amphibious ready groups and Marine expeditionary units (special operations capable) to provide greater combat capabilities to theater combatant commanders.[1] An expeditionary strike force (ESF) integrates the CSG and ESG with the sea-basing functions provided by the maritime prepositioning force (future) to provide an even more potent capability.

The USS America (LHA-6), is a America-class amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy and the lead ship of her class. 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.

The LHA 6 is equipped 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 of the LHA 6 includes 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.

The Sikorsky MH-60S Sea Hawk is a twin turboshaft engine, multi-mission United States Navy helicopter based on the United States Army UH-60 Black Hawk and a member of the Sikorsky S-70 family. The MH-60S Sea Hawk missions is Anti-Surface Warfare, combat support, humanitarian disaster relief, Combat Search and Rescue, aero medical evacuation, SPECWAR and organic Airborne Mine Countermeasures.

The MH-60S with its glass cockpit incorporates active matrix liquid crystal displays, used to facilitate pilot and co-pilot vertical and horizontal situation presentations. Another major design of the MH-60S is a "common cockpit," which is shared with the MH-60R. This allows pilots to shift from one aircraft to another with minimal re-training.

Flight operations for US Navy USS America LHA 6 amphibious assault ship with MH 60S helicopter 925 002
USS America (LHA-6) with F-35Bs, MV-22 Ospreys, and several helicopters on deck (Picture source Wikimedia)