USS Makin Island (LHD-8)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other ships of the same name, see USS Makin Island.
USS Makin Island operating in the Indian Ocean during 2012
USS Makin Island operating in the Indian Ocean during 2012
Name: USS Makin Island
Namesake: Makin Island
Awarded: 19 April 2002[1]
Builder: NGSS Pascagoula[1]
Laid down: 14 February 2004[1]
Sponsored by: Mrs. Silke Hagee, wife of Michael Hagee
Christened: 19 August 2006
Launched: 22 September 2006[1]
Acquired: 16 April 2009[2]
Commissioned: 24 October 2009[3]
Homeport: San Diego, CA[3]
Motto: Gung Ho
Status: in active service, as of 2015
Badge: USS Makin Island COA.png
General characteristics
Class and type: Wasp-class amphibious assault ship
Displacement: 41,649 long tons (42,317 t) full,
28,176 long tons (28,628 t) light,
12,821 long tons (13,027 t) dead
Length: 847 ft (258 m) overall,
778 ft (237 m) waterline
Beam: 118 ft (36 m) extreme,
106 ft (32 m) waterline
Draft: 27 ft (8.2 m) navigational,
28 ft (8.5 m) limit
Installed power: 2 × 35,000 shaft horsepower (26,000 kW) gas turbines (GE - LM 2500+) 2 x 5,000 shp (3,700 kW) electric motors 6 × 4,000 kW diesel generators (Fairbanks Morse Engines)
Propulsion: Hybrid electric propulsion driving two shafts 70,000 shaft horsepower (52,000 kW), 2 × 16.5 ft (5.0 m) diameter controllable pitch propellers (Rolls Royce)
Speed: 25 kn (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Range: 9,500 nautical miles (17,600 km; 10,900 mi) at 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Boats and landing
craft carried:
3 × LCAC or 39 EFVs
Complement: (typical) Embarked ship's company: 102 officers, 78 CPO/SNCO, 1,024 crew
Embarked Marine detachment: 174 officers, 64 SNCO, 1,449 crew[1]
Armament: 2 × Rolling Airframe Missile launchers,
2 × NATO Sea Sparrow launchers,
2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS mounts,
4 × 0.50 in machine guns,
3 × 25 mm Mk 38 autocannon,
1 × ceremonial gun
Aircraft carried: (typical): Assault: 4[citation needed] × CH-46 helicopters,
Sea Control: 6 × AV-8B attack planes, 6 × ASW helicopters

USS Makin Island (LHD-8), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, is the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Makin Island, target of the Marine Raiders' Makin Island raid early on in the United States' involvement in World War II.

Makin Island‍ '​s task is to embark, deploy, and land elements of a Marine landing force in an Amphibious Assault by helicopters, landing craft, and amphibious vehicles. The secondary or convertible mission for Makin Island is that of sea control and power projection.

Design and Construction[edit]

Makin Island is the eighth ship of the Wasp class, but she features noteworthy technological advances. Changes from the previous LHD design include: gas turbine main propulsion engines, all-electric auxiliaries, an advanced machinery control system including throttle control from the bridge, water mist fire protection systems, and the Navy’s most advanced command and control and combat systems equipment.

Makin Island was laid down on 14 February 2004 at Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi. She has a light displacement of 28,176 long tons (28,628 t) and a full load displacement of 41,684 long tons (42,353 t). Her dead weight is 13,508 long tons (13,725 t). She has an overall length of 847 feet (258 m) and a waterline length of 778 feet (237 m).[note 1] Her extreme beam is 118 feet (36 m) and her beam at the waterline is 106 feet (32 m). Her draft is 28 feet (8.5 m). Her maximum speed is 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph).[1]

The ship's armament consists of two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers, two RIM-7 Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile launchers, three Mk 38 25-millimeter Close-in Guns, two Mk 15 Phalanx CIWS, four M2 Browning .50 caliber machine guns, and 1 ceremonial gun.[4]

The Makin Island is the eighth Wasp-class amphibious assault ships to be ordered for the U.S. Navy, but differs from her older sister ships in her system of propulsion . The previous Wasp-class vessels used steam boilers and steam turbines to drive the propellers while Makin Island is the first US Navy vessel to use a hybrid propulsion system of consiting of a combined diesel electric or gas turbine propulsion system.[5]

Makin Island has two 35,000 shaft horsepower (26,000 kW) General Electric LM 2500+ gas turbines each connected to a separate 20:1 ratio main reduction gear which then drive two 16 feet 6 inches (5.03 m) diameter Rolls Royce controllable pitch propellers. Gas turbines have a high power-to-weight ratio compared to steam or diesel power but are only efficient near their maximum power output. In the Makin Island, the gas turbines are used to power the ship above 12 knots. Below 12 knots, ship propulsion is provided by two 5,000 shaft horsepower (3,700 kW) AC electric motors connected to a second input shaft on the main reduction gears. When powered by the electric motors, the gas turbines are decoupled from the main reduction gear and braked to prevent spinning. When the gas turbines are engaged, the electric motors are similarly decoupled from the drive system. The propeller shafts can be driven at lower speeds by slowing down the electric motors. Variable drive speed is achieved with an Alstom variable frequency drive system. Power for the electric motors comes from the ship's service electrical system which is provided by six 4000 kW generators powered by Fairbanks Morse Diesel engines.[6]

In conventional Navy ships, the steam boiler drives both the propellers as well as ship service steam turbine generators (SSSTG) to provide electric power for the vessel. The boilers also provide steam to heat the ship in colder climates. Since Makin Island doesn't have steam boilers, she uses the diesel electric generators for all ship board power services. Specifically, instead of steam heating, she uses electric heating for laundry and hot water supply as well as for heating interior compartments in cold climates.

The gas turbine propulsion plant, with all electric auxiliaries, is a program first for large deck amphibious assault ships and provides significant savings in manpower and maintenance costs associated with traditional steam-powered amphibious ships. The ship carries four reverse-osmosis water-purification systems, each capable of processing 50,000 US gallons (190,000 l) of fresh water per day.[7]

The same propulsion systems tried on the Makin Island will also be used on the America-class amphibious assault ships.[8][9]

She was christened on 19 August 2006, sponsored by Mrs. Silke Hagee, wife of General Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and launched on 15 September 2006. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, U.S. Navy officials announced that several ships under construction at Ingalls Shipbuilding had been damaged by the storm, including Makin Island and two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The ship's completion was delayed due to rewiring during 2008 to repair incorrect wiring installation.[7]

Service History[edit]

Makin Island was delivered to the U.S. Navy on 16 April 2009 and was commissioned at Pascagoula, Mississippi without ceremony on 26 June 2009 with Captain Bob Kopas in command.[3]

The Stars and Stripes at Makin Island‍ '​s mast on commissioning day in 2009

Makin Island deployed 10 July 2009 and sailed around South America via the strait of magellan, in which the crew continued to train, obtaining underway certifications in preparation for her arrival in San Diego. During the deployment, Makin Island conducted theater security cooperation (TSC) activities with Brazil, Chile and Peru, focusing on working closely with partner nation civil and maritime forces to share methods and training.[3] She arrived in her home port of San Diego on 14 September 2009. Captain Kopas stated in an interview on local radio that the Makin Island had saved about $2 million in fuel, compared with a conventional propulsion system, on her voyage from Mississippi around South America to San Diego.

Her formal commissioning ceremony took place on 24 October 2009 at Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado near San Diego.[2][10] Six USMC veterans of the Makin Island raid attended the ceremony.[11]

Damage to a turning gear delayed the ship's final check-out trials from August to September 2010.[12]

Makin Island visited San Francisco in October 2010 as part of the city's 2010 Fleet Week festivities.[13] She returned in 2012.[14][15]

The ship was used in a failed December 2014 US hostage rescue operation in Yemen.[16][17]

New propulsion[edit]

Makin Island departed on her maiden deployment, as the US Navy’s first hybrid-drive warship: part gas-turbine-electric and part diesel-electric.[18] About 70 percent of the time Makin Island can use diesel-electric propulsion, saving on fuel, as diesel engines are optimized for cruising and consume much less fuel than gas turbines. When she needs to travel quickly, at 12 knots or more, she uses her gas turbines.

Once on station, the ship’s mission changes. Her job then is to launch Marines ashore in small boats and aircraft. While the Marines are ashore, the ship maneuvers in a small area at slow speed, "the perfect scenario" for diesel-electric propulsion.

Fuel savings were said to be "impressive". On an average day, the Makin Island uses 15,000 US gallons (57,000 l) of fuel, versus 35,000 to 40,000 US gallons (130,000–150,000 l) on an older steam ship of its type, said Captain James Landers, commanding officer.[18]

The downside is the logistical "tail," which means it takes a while to get parts. Further, the ship is software dependent, which is an independent source of failure.[18]

Internal heating is provided by electrical instead of steam heaters and at temperatures above 20F there is excess heating capacity that can be reallocated for additional electric propulsion. The gas turbines are available for high speed or low temperature propulsion.[19]


  1. ^ Sources differ on the overall length of Makin Island. The length included here is from the Naval Vessel Register and is therefore considered the most accurate.
  1. ^ a b c d e f "USS Makin Island (LHD 8)". Naval Vessel Register. United States Navy. 3 June 2012. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  2. ^ a b Team Ships Public Affairs (17 April 2009). "Navy Accepts Delivery of Future USS Makin Island" (Press release). Washington, DC: Navy News Service. Retrieved 17 April 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Makin Island Begins Transit to San Diego Homeport" (Press release). Pascagoula, Mississippi: Navy News Service. 11 July 2009. Retrieved 13 July 2009. 
  4. ^ "USS Makin Island Ship's Characteristics". USS Makin Island Official United States Navy Website. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Boughner, Abe; Dalton, Thomas; Mako, C. David (20 May 2010). Engineering a Class of Innovative Affordable Amphibious Assault Hybrid Warships via LHD 8: USS Makin Island (PDF). Electric Machines Technology Symposium. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: American Society of Naval Engineers. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Turso, J.; Dalton, Thomas; McCullough, S.; et al. (19 May 2010). USS Makin Island Auxiliary Propulsion System: Identification and Accommodation of System Level Interactions (PDF). Electric Machines Technology Symposium. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: American Society of Naval Engineers. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Liewer, Steve (15 September 2009). "Navy Goes Green With New Hybrid Ship". San Diego Union-Tribune. p. 1. Retrieved 14 May 2015. .
  8. ^ "Navy to Christen Amphibious Assault Ship America". MarineLink. 17 October 2012. 
  9. ^ Department of Defense Public Affairs (18 October 2012). "Navy to Christen Amphibious Assault Ship America" (Press release). Washington, DC: Navy News Service. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  10. ^ "Navy USS Makin Island Official Page". US Navy. Retrieved 24 October 2009. 
  11. ^ Liewer, Steve (24 October 2009). "Heroes Relive Epic Raid On Namesake Ship". San Diego Union-Tribune. p. B1. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  12. ^ Steele, Jeanette (30 August 2010). "Navy's 'Green' Ship Delayed By Glitch". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Eco friendly USS Makin Island arrives in SF". San Francisco, California: ABC 7 News. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  14. ^ USS Makin Island Public Affairs (3 October 2012). "USS Makin Island Arrives In San Francisco For 31st Annual 'Fleet Week'" (Press release). San Francisco, California: US Navy. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  15. ^ Freedman, Wayne; Hollyfield, Amy (5 October 2012). "USS Makin Island arrives in SF for Fleet Week". ABC 7 News (San Francisco, California). Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  16. ^ Hennigan, W.J.; Cloud, David S. (6 December 2014). "U.S. hostage Luke Somers killed in Yemen during rescue attempt". Los Angeles Time (Kabul, Afghanistan). Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  17. ^ Hennigan, W.J.; Cloud, David S. (6 December 2014). "US forces raid al-Qaida hideout in Yemen; hostages reported killed". Stars and Stripes. from Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c Steele, Jeanette (15 November 2011). "Navy's First Hybrid-Drive Warship Goes To Sea". San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. 
  19. ^ Segercrantz, Henrik (23 January 2013). "USS Makin Island: Proven Fuel Efficient". MarineLink. Maritime Activity Reports, Inc. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 

External links[edit]