Introducing the America Class (LHA(R))
The LHA Replacement, or LHA(R), class ships are the next step in the incremental development of the amphibious assault ship and will replace the Tarawa class (LHA 1).
USS America (LHA 6), the first of two planned Flight 0 ships, is an aviation-centric, modified repeat of the USS Makin Island (LHD 8). The ship is optimized for aviation and capable of supporting current and future aircraft with additional aviation maintenance capability and increased fuel capacities. LHA 8 will be a Flight I ship, reintroducing the well deck without sacrificing aviation capability.
Since the American Revolution, three U.S. Navy warships have sailed with the name America. The first America was originally a racing schooner launched in 1851 and taken into Confederate naval service in 1861 before being captured and taken into the U.S. Navy in 1862. She served in the Navy until 1873 before returning to civilian life racing and cruising. In 1921 she was presented to the Navy for preservation as a relic and remained at the U.S. Naval Academy until being scrapped in 1945. The second America transported troops during World War I. The third ship to bear the name was a Kitty-Hawk class aircraft carrier that supported operations from the Vietnam War through Operation Desert Storm. USS America will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship to bear this name.
Missions and Operations of America Class Ships
Modern U.S. Navy amphibious assault ships project power and maintain presence as an integral part of joint, interagency and multinational maritime expeditionary forces. These ships operate for sustained periods in transit to operations in an Amphibious Objective Area to include embarking, transporting, controlling, inserting, sustaining and extracting elements of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force and supporting forces by helicopters and tilt rotors.
Alongside the Amphibious Transport Dock (LPD) and Dock Landing Ship (LSD), LHA (R) ships will serve as cornerstone members of the Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG)/Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), forming a cohesive Navy/Marine Corps combined-arms team ready to respond to all missions across the range of military operations.
ARG/ESG ships transport and land elements of the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) or Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) with a combination of aircraft and landing craft. USS America and the Future USS Tripoli (LHA 7) are capable of Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing (V/STOL), Short Take-Off Vertical Landing (STOVL), Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) tilt-rotor, and Rotary Wing (RW) aircraft operations. In addition to the aviation capabilities of LHA 6 and LHA 7, the well deck incorporated on LHA 8 will support the use of air cushion vehicles and other watercraft such as Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCAC) and Landing Craft Utility (LCU).
LHA 6 is designed execute core areas of the Navy’s Maritime Defense Strategy, “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Sea Power”
Forward Presence- Capability to forward deploy and remain on station for extended periods which enables us to develop and maintain strong relationships with partner nations across the globe.
Deterrence- Provide deterrence through presence and effective Theater Security Cooperation engagements. This creates security by minimizing conditions for conflict.
Sea Control- LCS will use its modular mission packages to control Sea Lines of Communication by defeating swarming surface craft, enhancing the Fleet’s ASW capability, both in littoral waters and in concert with current ASW forces in the open ocean, and counter mine threats to sea lines of communication, particularly in global commerce chokepoints.
Power Projection- Deliver and sustain power from over the horizon through significant airpower and command and control capabilities.
Maritime Security- Maintain security at sea against piracy, terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and other illicit activities.
Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response (HA/DR)- Provide the heavy airlift needed to deliver supplies to inaccessible areas after a disaster or conduct rapid and sustained non-combatant evacuation operations when personal safety is in jeopardy.