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US Navy USS New Orleans amphibious transport dock participates to exercise Jeanne D’Arc ARC 21

According to information published by the Commander, U.S. Pacific fleet website, U.S. Navy San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans (LPD 18) joined the Royal Australian Navy, French Armed Forces, Japan Self-Defense Forces, and other U.S. Forces for exercise Jeanne D’Arc (ARC) 21.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 U.S. Navy San Antonio Class amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans LPD 18. (Picture source U.S. Navy)

The Jeanne D’Arc (ARC) 21 exercise brings together service members from each nation’s military in a combined effort to enhance interoperability in pursuit of common regional security goals. Service members from participating units plan, coordinate and conduct operations over land and at sea. The Japan Self Defense Force, French Armed Forces, Australian Defence Force, and U.S. military will execute multilateral exercise Jeanne D’Arc 21 here, from May 11-16, 2021.

At the conclusion of this staff exercise, the field training portion of the exercise will begin at Kirishima Maneuver Area, with a combat engineer subject matter expert exchange, casualty evacuation and combat service support training, simulated fire support coordination training between JSDF and U.S. military personnel, a forward arming and refueling point in support of Japanese and U.S. aircraft, and the culminating multilateral ship to shore amphibious air assault onto the objective area.

During the culminating event, U.S. reconnaissance Marines and Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces Special Forces soldiers will surveil the objective in preparation for follow-on forces. Next, Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft will insert French infantry forces from the FS Tonnerre, and JGSDF CH-47 aircraft will transport JSDF forces with embedded Marines from Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company to provide fire support for the multilateral raid force as it assaults the simulated urban objective.

At sea, ships from each nation including USS New Orleans (LPD 18), part of Amphibious Squadron 11, will plan and prepare amphibious landings and air assaults while also conducting formation maneuvers, air defense exercises and communication drills alongside the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers, an Osumi-Class landing ship and two guided-missile patrol boats.

The USS New Orleans (LPD-18) is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock into service with the U.S. Navy. She was commissioned on 10 March 2007 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The San Antonio class was designed to provide the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps with modern, sea-based platforms. 

The USS New Orleans is used to transport and land Marines, their equipment, and supplies by embarked Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) augmented by helicopters or vertical take-off and landing aircraft (MV 22). The ship supports amphibious assault, special operations, or expeditionary warfare missions and serves as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious operations.

The USS New Orleans is able to transport and deploy two LCAC (Landing Craft Air Cushion - Hovercraft), 700 troops, and 14 amphibious armored vehicles. Each LCAC can carry 60 tons of cargo and vehicles, including the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank at speeds of up to 40 knots (74 km/h). The landing deck is able to accommodate two Sikorsky CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters, six Bell AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters, four Boeing CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters or two Boeing Bell MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.