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Keel Laid For Amphibious Warship Tripoli

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Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus delivers remarks during the keel-laying ceremony for the amphibious assault ship Tripoli (LHA-7). US Navy Photo

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus delivers remarks during the keel-laying ceremony for the amphibious assault ship Tripoli (LHA-7). US Navy Photo

The keel for the next-generation amphibious warship Tripoli (LHA-7) was laid in a ceremony at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss. on Friday.
The ceremony marked the official start of construction for the second America-class landing helicopter dock for the U.S., following the $3 billion first-in-class America (LHA-6) — which plans to commission later this year.

“Like America, Tripoli boasts a very credible and capable aviation centric design that replaces the Tarawa class of amphibious assault ships,” Capt. Christopher Mercer, Amphibious Warfare Program Manager within Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships said in a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) statement.
“The design brings with it increased capabilities and will maximize the Navy’s investment in future aircraft.”

America (LHA-6) returns to Ingalls Shipyard Jan. 31, 2014 from acceptance trials. US Navy Photo

America (LHA-6) returns to Ingalls Shipyard Jan. 31, 2014 from acceptance trials. US Navy Photo

Each of the 45,000-ton ships in the class are optimized for modern Marine aircraft like the MV-22 tilt-rotor Osprey and the short takeoff-vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

However, America and Tripoli were designed without a well deck — which allows a ship to take on and disembark amphibious landing craft — much to the protest of the Marine Corps.

LHA-8 will be redesigned to incorporate a well deck into the design.

Categories: Budget Industry
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute.
He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. In his role he covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Sam is a 2003 graduate of Virginia Military Institute.

  • TronsAway

    “much to the protest of the Marine Corps” — not quite.

    Amphibious shipping is designed with Marine Corps influence. The USMC drove the design of these ships, and directed the removal of the well deck. Why would the Navy design and build that which is essentially a CV? The only Navy aircraft that can launch or recover from it are 53s and 60s.

    However, now the Marines have two dedicated F-35B mini carriers.

    • http://www.usmc.mil @notrizzo

      I think “despite much protest WITHIN the Marine Corps” would be more accurate. There is a serious doctine battle being faught out within the Corp on how to get Marines into the fight. Key here isn’t just that LHA-6/7 have no well deck, it’s that they are optimized for flight operations, which does mean more (and better repair/service) for F-35Bs, but also more Ospreys and Helos to carry troops to shore. There are many within the Corp that feared this risks turning the USMC into a navalized version of the USA’s 101st Airborne.

  • omegatalon

    This is the type of ship that the US should consider exporting to countries like South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Australia as this is a perfect ship to protect themselves from China especially as this can be equipped with the F-35B.

  • Secundius

    The Australian CANBERRA (aka, Spain’s JUAN CARLOS I class Gator-Freighter’s, will also operate F/AV-35B Lightning II’s and MV-22B Osprey’s. And only cost $600+ million US, apiece.