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USS America (LHA-6)

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USS America with F-35Bs, MV-22 Ospreys, and several helicopters on deck
United States
NamesakeUnited States
Awarded1 June 2007
BuilderHuntington Ingalls Industries
Laid down17 July 2009[6]
Launched4 June 2012[1]
Sponsored byLynne Pace[6]
Christened20 October 2012[2]
Acquired10 April 2014[2][3][4]
Commissioned11 October 2014[5]
IdentificationHull number: LHA-6
  • Bello vel pace paratus
  • (Ready for War or Peace)
Statusin active service
  • Program cost: $10.1 billion[7](FY15)
  • Unit cost: $3.4 billion[7] (FY15)
General characteristics
Class and typeAmerica-class amphibious assault ship[6]
TypeLanding Helicopter Assault (LHA)
Displacement44,971 long tons (45,693 t)[9] full load
Length844 ft (257 m)[10][11]
Beam106 ft (32 m)
Draft26 ft (7.9 m)
PropulsionTwo marine gas turbines, two shafts, 70,000 bhp (52,000 kW), two 5,000 hp (3,700 kW) auxiliary propulsion motors.
SpeedOver 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)[15]
Troops1,687 Marines (plus 184 surge)
Complement102 officers, 1,102 enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems
Electronic warfare
& decoys
Aircraft carried

USS America (LHA-6), is an amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy and the lead ship of the America-class amphibious assault ship. The fourth U.S. warship to be named for the United States of America, she was delivered in spring of 2014, replacing Peleliu of the Tarawa class. Her mission is to act as the flagship of an expeditionary strike group or amphibious ready group, carrying part of a Marine expeditionary unit into battle and putting them ashore with helicopters and V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, supported by F-35B Lightning II aircraft and helicopter gunships.


The design is based on that of USS Makin Island (LHD-8), itself an improved version of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. Approximately 45% of the Flight 0 design is based on Makin Island, with the well deck removed to allow more room for aircraft and aviation fuel.[16] The removal of the well deck for landing craft allows for an extended hangar deck with two significantly wider high bay areas, each fitted with an overhead crane for aircraft maintenance.

These changes were required in order to operate the F-35B and MV-22, which are considerably larger than the aircraft they replace.[17] The typical aircraft complement is expected to be 12 MV-22B transports, six STOVL F-35B multirole fighter aircraft, four CH-53K heavy transport helicopters, seven AH-1Z/UH-1Y attack/utility helicopters and two Navy MH-60S for air-sea rescue.[14] The exact makeup of the ship's aircraft complement will vary according to the mission. America can carry 20 F-35B and 2 MH-60S[14] to serve as a small aircraft carrier as demonstrated by LHD operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom.[6]

Other enhancements include a re-configurable command and control complex, an on-board hospital, additional aviation fuel capacity and numerous aviation support spaces.[8][18]

America will be modified in a similar way to the modifications made on USS Wasp to make her better able to withstand the great amounts of heat generated by the F-35B's engine exhaust when taking off or landing vertically. Intercostal structural members will be added underneath flight deck landing spots seven and nine to more closely perform timed cyclic flight operations without overstressing it. Other changes may involve re-adjusting some ship antennas to allow for a clear flight path.[19] The ship will undergo a 40-week modification period where recently installed piping, lighting, and other features will be removed to weld reinforcements underneath the flight deck; the modification period would have been greater if its construction in the shipyard had been interrupted to perform it. Such accommodations will be included in all future America-class ships from the start.[20]

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. However, the ship's design represents a major departure from past designs and has been the source of considerable controversy,[21] as it lacks the capabilities and multi-role flexibility of traditional amphibious ships, including the ability to launch landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles, such as the AAV-7.[22] Some have even argued that America represents a "dead end" as an amphibious ship.[23] In fact, the Navy is building only one other ship (Tripoli) to the LHA-6 blueprint.[24] At issue is the focus on aviation capabilities, at the expense of the "well deck", which is the defining feature of the amphibious fleet and allows Marine Corps amphibious operations. The Marine Corps Commandant and the Chief of Naval Operations have signed an official Memorandum of Agreement that restores the well deck to USS Bougainville (LHA-8) and subsequent ships, while in 2015 the Commandant of the Marine Corps launched an initiative to ensure aviation platforms do not lead to an imbalance in the MAGTF.[25]

Construction and career[edit]

The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation's Ingalls Shipyard Division a $2.4 billion fixed-price incentive contract for the detailed design and construction of LHA-6, primarily at the company's shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.[8] The production decision was made in January 2006[16] and construction of LHA-6 began in December 2008.[16] Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter announced in June 2008 that the ship would be named America.[26] The keel-laying ceremony was held on 17 July 2009[6] with delivery originally planned for August 2012.[16] The ship was launched on 4 June 2012,[1] and christened on 20 October.[2] She took to the sea for the first time on 5 November 2013, for five days of builder's sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico,[9] and completed acceptance sea trials in February 2014.[4]

America departed in commission without ceremony from Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, on 11 July 2014 in transit to her homeport of San Diego, California. The ship earned commission status after the crew successfully completed the light-off assessment, anti-terrorism force protection certification and crew certification.


America arrived at Rio de Janeiro on 5 August, and the local press was invited to a guided visit the next day. She arrived at her home port of San Diego, California on 15 September 2014.[27] During transitions around South America, America's mission was to connect with regional allies, conducting joint exercises with Colombia, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru involving security and communications operations, as well as medical asset coordination and mission planning activities. The ship carried three SH-60 Seahawk helicopters of HSC-21 and four MV-22 Ospreys of VMX-22, which flew into countries and transported distinguished visitors to the ship. Plans are to embark the F-35B JSF for America's first operational deployment.[19]

America was commissioned on 11 October 2014 in San Francisco as part of the activities of San Francisco Fleet Week 2014.[28][29] The Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus was the featured speaker.

In July 2017, America was attached to the 15th MEU for Western Pacific 17-2 (WESTPAC 17-2).[30] Their main mission was the supporting of Operation Inherent Resolve.[31] During their deployment, Marines and Sailors aboard the America came to the aid of the USS John S. McCain at Changi Naval Base after the USS John S. McCain and Alnic MC collision. America provided messing and berthing services to McCain crew members and supported damage control efforts on board. America also supported the searches for the 10 missing Sailors all of which were eventually recovered.[32] America decomposited stateside on 7 March 2018.[31]


In July 2021, America participated in Exercise Talisman Saber 2021 in north-east Australian waters, with more than 17,000 personnel from Australia and the United States and forces from Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United Kingdom.[33]

In May 2022, America and her Amphibious Ready Group were in Sasebo, Japan.[34]




  1. ^ a b "HII Launches USS America". Naval Today. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Radzius, Darius A. (20 October 2012). "U.S. Navy Christens Future USS America (LHA 6)". Navy Office of Information. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Navy Accepts Delivery of the Future USS America". U.S. Navy. 10 April 2014. Archived from the original on 16 February 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b "USS America (LHA 6) successfully completes acceptance sea trials". United States Navy. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Inside USS America (LHA 6)". Navy Live. 10 October 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Keel Laid for Latest Addition to Multimission-Capable Amphibious Fleet". United States Navy. 18 July 2009. Archived from the original on 8 August 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs" (PDF). US Government Accountability Office. March 2015. p. 1. GAO-15-342SP. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  8. ^ a b c "Navy Names New Amphibious Assault Ship". USS America. United States Navy. 30 June 2008. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2009.
  9. ^ a b Cavas, Christopher P. (4 November 2013). "New big-deck amphib AMERICA (LHA 6) takes to the sea for the first time". Intercepts. Defense News. Retrieved 15 November 2013.[dead link]
  10. ^ "PREPARED IN WAR OR IN PEACE". allhands.navy.mil. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  11. ^ "America class Amphibious Assault Ship - LHA". seaforces.org. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  12. ^ "Ship Self-Defense for LHA(6)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 October 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC): AN/USG-2(V) Cooperative Engagement Transmission Processing Set". FAS Military Analysis Network. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  14. ^ a b c "LHA 6 (formerly LHA(R)) New Amphibious Assault Ship" (PDF). FY2008 Annual Report for the Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation. DOT&E. 2008. p. 149. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  15. ^ Hunsaker, Lewis (10 April 2014). "Future USS America Delivered". U.S. Navy. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  16. ^ a b c d "Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs" (PDF). U.S. Government Accountability Office. 30 March 2009. GAO-09-326SP.
  17. ^ Jean, Grace V. (1 September 2008). "Marines Question the Utility of Their New Amphibious Warship" (Navy News). National Defense. NDIA.
  18. ^ Fuentes, Gidget. "Aviation-Centric America". Sea Power. No. November 2014. p. 18. Archived from the original on 7 April 2016.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  19. ^ a b Osborn, Kris (26 August 2014). "USS America Tours South America, Prepares for JSF". Defensetech.
  20. ^ Freedberg Jr., Sydney J. (8 April 2015). "How Marines Plan To Survive Littoral Warfare". Breaking Defense.
  21. ^ Rogoway, Tyler (12 October 2014). "USS America: The Navy's Newest Flattop Can't Decide What The Hell It Is". Foxtrot Alpha.
  22. ^ "AAV7 Amphibious Assault Vehicle". Military.com. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  23. ^ Freedberg Jr., Sydney J. (3 October 2012). "Navy's Newest, LHA-6, A Dead End For Amphibious Ships?". Breaking Defense.
  24. ^ Freedberg Jr., Sydney J. (31 May 2012). "Huntington Ingalls Agrees To Fixed-Price Deal For Next LHA Amphib". Breaking Defense.
  25. ^ Hodge Seck, Hope (15 May 2015). "Dunford announces plan to rebalance the MAGTF". Marine Times.
  26. ^ Ewing, Philip (30 June 2008). "New amphib to be named America". Navy Times. Archived from the original on 24 May 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  27. ^ "USS America arrives at new home in San Diego" (YouTube). ABC 10 News. San Diego, CA. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2017.[dead YouTube link]
  28. ^ "Inside USS America (LHA 6)". Navy Live. 10 October 2014.
  29. ^ "Amphibious Assault Ship USS America (LHA 6) Commissioned into U.S. Navy". Navy Recognition. 12 October 2014.
  30. ^ Zheng, Maida. "San Diego based Marines to set sail on USS America". 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Marine Corps Press. Archived from the original on 8 August 2021. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  31. ^ a b "15TH MEU DECOMPOSITES, SUBORDINATE ELEMENTS RETURN TO PARENT COMMANDS". Marines. Marine Corps Press. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  32. ^ "USS America pulls into Changi Naval Base to support USS John S. McCain". Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  33. ^ See F-35B jets take off at sea for Australian exercise Talisman Sabre, Mike Yeo, DefenseNews, 2021-07-29
  34. ^ "USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: May 23, 2022". usni.org. 23 May 2022. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  35. ^ https://www.surfpac.navy.mil/Media/News/Article/3783012/uss-america-lha-6-awarded-the-battle-e-for-third-consecutive-year/
  36. ^ "2020 Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Food Service Award Results".

External links[edit]