Home » Aviation » USS America Will Head to Japan to Serve as Next Forward-Deployed Amphibious Flagship


USS America Will Head to Japan to Serve as Next Forward-Deployed Amphibious Flagship

The amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) steam in formation while participating in a photo exercise in the Arabian Gulf on Nov. 28, 2017. US Navy photo.

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship will replace the service’s oldest as the forward-deployed big deck in the Pacific.

USNI News previously reported that USS Wasp (LHD-1) would be coming back to the East Coast sometime later this year, after just arriving in Japan in January 2018 to serve as the flagship of the amphibious fleet in the U.S. 7th Fleet region. The head of U.S. surface forces told USNI News in a media call that USS America (LHA-6) would take its place.

“[Wasp] is coming around because of maintenance – her time in [the Forward-Deployed Naval Force] is over out in Japan, America‘s going out there. She’s coming back because of maintenance and dock loading and stuff like that,” Vice Adm. Richard Brown, commander of Naval Surface Forces and Naval Surface Force Pacific, said in a Jan. 11 phone call with reporters ahead of this week’s Surface Navy Association annual national symposium.

Another source confirmed to USNI News that the Navy does plan to send America to Japan as Wasp’s replacement.

Two Navy offices did not respond to USNI News requests for comment on the timing of the move or any preparations that would have to be made in Japan to accommodate the newer amphib.

An F-35B Lightning II with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 touches down on the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1) on March 5, 2018. US Navy Photo

The Navy today has nine amphibious assault ships in service: eight Wasp-class LHDs, and America. The second America-class ship, USS Tripoli (LHA-7), will commission this fall in Pensacola, Fla., according to local media.

Wasp and USS Essex (LHD-2), the two oldest big-deck amphibs in the fleet, are the two that currently support F-35B Joint Strike Fighter squadrons in the Marine Corps – Wasp as the FDNF ship in Japan supporting Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121, and Essex in its current rotational deployment in the Middle East with VMFA-211 embarked.

America and Tripoli, though, were built as aviation-focused ships with increased jet fuel storage, aircraft maintenance space and equipment and more.

During this week’s SNA conference, Marine Maj. Gen. David Coffman, expeditionary warfare director on the chief of naval operations’ staff (OPNAV N95), said “aviation-optimized America and Tripoli, LHA-6 and 7, are not like the rest” and that the Navy hoped to bring them “out of rotation.”

Wasp and Essex are current stand-ins” after having undergone F-35 compatibility upgrades during recent maintenance availabilities, but regarding America and Tripoli, “best case scenario, we’ve got one of those forward with Brad Cooper aboard as CTF-76” and “the other one is back in San Diego, most likely, in the yard, getting spiral development for some more wicked stuff, being bed on a daily basis what’s working and not working with CTF-76, with the most capable CTF flagship on the planet for expeditionary strike groups.”

The Navy has not yet announced its plans for Tripoli once it commissions and goes through its at-sea testing and post-shakedown availability.

  • Curtis Conway

    It would be a CSG Pinch Hitter for HA/DR Operations or Hot Spots. The USS American (LHA-6) and USS Tripoli (LHA-7) rotating into the theater on a rotational basis with basing in the Pacific would be optimal. The USMC should stand up two Super Marine Air Ground Task Forces (Super MAGTF) heavy in F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, that rotate into theater as well.

    • PolicyWonk

      Agree. Load ’em both up with 20 F-35B’s (each), V-22’s with the USMC’s fuel bladders, a couple of the Brit’s handy lightweight AEW kits, and they’ll be delivering value very quickly.

      • Rexford L

        LHA-6 and 7 are one trick ponies, virtually useless as Amphibious Assault Ships. Might as well use them as baby carriers.

        • PolicyWonk

          LHA-6 and 7 are the only two in the new class of large-deck amphibs to not include the well deck: all the subsequent ships in class will include a well deck.

          Personally, I thought it was laughable when it was suggested that an “aviation-centric” large deck amphib was an “innovation”. Evidently, those making such claims were unaware that CV/CVL’s had been invented before.

          Given that the USN doesn’t have sufficient carrier coverage, LHA-6 and 7 could prove very useful in the CVL role, patrolling less volatile parts of the world.

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            So I agree with you in the point it’s not exactly an “innovation” , it’s a baby carrier, I mean really now, not exactly the Guinness guys figuring out how to carry 6 beers at the same time, Brilliant! —> However, I don’t think it’s fair to call them useless as Amphibious Assault Ships — they carry the better part of a MEU, and let me cut & paste from Wikipedia here: The typical compliment will be “12 MV-22B transports, 6 F-35B jets, 4 CH-53K heavy transports, 7 AH-1Z/UH-1Y attack/utility helicopters, & 2 Navy MH-60S C/SAR/ASuW helicopters” — Quite literally, that’s a ton of warfighting ability. Granted, they are designed to be used in concert with their ARG brethren, and then you have the full force of a USMC MEU, the Marines & their equipment … but just because the LHA-6&7s don’t carry land/sea gear doesn’t make them useless, in my humblest opinion. In my opinion it just makes them that much more of an important force multiplier with the “upgunned ARG” or in particular the Expeditionary Strike Group concept (An LHA-6, LPD-17, LSD/LPD FLT II, + a DDG-51 & FFGX will be an amazing flotilla of force projection and warfighting ability.)

          • Aj jordan

            But, the only thing the LHA 6 class does is have marginally better aviation faciloties, it brings nothing game changing or new to the table other than reverting back to an aviation centric Assault ship class that was already proven decades ago in the cold war to be extremely limited in what it could bring with an ARG, with the phasing out of the LPH iwo jima class , for Tarawa class LHA’s with well decks. Everything you listed a Wasp class LHD can do , except for increased aviation facilities in which case its really not much of a difference except for increased hangar space….which CUTS INTO THE MEDICAL SPACES extremely cutting the versatility these ships can provide if theyd had just been left in LHD configuration….like the other fella said….their one trick ponies that bring nothing new to the table, their LPH’s in denial, and wed be better off with more wasp class LHDs built to the Makin island standard.

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            *they’re

          • Aj jordan

            Thanks for highlighting the typing error, but I’m still awaiting a reasonable counter argument to validate more of these flawed aviation centric amphibs, to which I see none. I say put angle decks on them and turn them into modern day Essex class post ww2.

          • Duane

            F-35 is the argument and the reason you are completely offbase.

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            I’ll stand by to stand by for that angled-deck conversion.

          • Rocco

            Kudos! I already have a mock-up some kid posted on line. Maybe you can find it. This site won’t let an attachment in a post reply! But to make the angle deck work the ship needs to definitely be stretched to 900′ . Especially for non harrier or F-35B landings. Not enough runway length! Plus emails has to be installed!! Big money! I say put the angle deck on just for Vstol aircraft.

          • Duane

            The difference is less with the ship than the aircraft it deploys. F-35 is a revolutionary huge game changer.

          • Rexford L

            Not really, the Wasp class can carry the same number of F-35’s as the America’s without the well decks if needed, but they can do something that the America’s can’t which is carry 3 LCAC’s or 2 LCU’s. When your moving Marines onto a hostile beach, it’s rather nice to have AAV’s (which the America can’t use) hit the beach first and LCAC’s to carry the heavy payloads a CH-53 can’t move. There’s a HUGE reason why the follow on America class has a welldeck. If a carrier is needed we have those, but a carrier can’t do the job of an amphibious assault ship.

          • Rocco

            Who cares that’s not the point for this ship not to mention the extra weight it has aboard. That’s what LPD’s are for.

          • Rexford L

            But that’s the point of an ARG. Amphibious Ready Group.. NOTHING about the America is amphibious.

          • Rocco

            Not entirely!!

          • RunningBear

            Not to obfuscate the discussion but, the LHA-8 Bougainvillea can only carry 2 LCACs or 1 LCU where the Whidbey Island LSDs carry 4 LCACs and up to 3 LCUs.

            I would rather spend my tax money on 1 extra LSD for the LCACs and the additional “gear in the rear” and allow the Marines more capacity for aviation transports, rapid aviation equipment support, and close air support from both fixed wing and vertical lift from the LHA. Expanding the ARG by 1 ship of the existing type in the ARG.

            Some where I read where the Navy is driving for a larger ship count, perhaps this is in that direction?
            IMHO
            Fly Navy
            🙂

          • Rexford L

            USS Whidbey Island has been in commission for 34 years, that class of amphibs doesn’t have much life left in them unfortunately. The San Antonio can only carry 2 LCACS or one LCU as well, same with the Harpers Ferry class. On the last deployment of the America ARG, they had a total of 4 LCUs (0 on America, 2 on San Diego and 2 on Pearl Harbor) Where the Essex ARG on deployment right now has 9 amongst them (3 Essex, 2 Anchorage and 4 on the Rushmore)

          • Aj jordan

            No more than 2 LCU could have been in the America ARG because LPDs can only carry 1, and the LSD 49 class can only carry 1 as well, or alternatively they could each carry 2 LCAC, still you get the point. LHDs carry 2 LCU or 3 LCAC, and LSD 41’s can carry up to 5 LCAC or 3 LCU (not done often) they usually carry 3 LCAC, or 2 LCU behind the divider in the Well deck, leaving about 100 ft of the upper well dry for vehicle storage.

          • RunningBear

            One version of the new LSD “had” 4 LCACs, I’m not sure why they chose the more limited version. It didn’t mention the LCU capacity, maybe 3 or so.

            “Into each life a little rain must fall”, I only hope the fleet management doesn’t get confused with their LPDs for the ARG assignments.
            IMHO
            Fly Navy
            🙂

          • Rocco

            Kudos!

          • Duane

            The well decks are needed for ship to shore connectors landing on beaches … but the Marines are unlikely to be making any beach landings in contested waters or beaches, because the beaches are simply way too predictable landing points. Plus that also requires that the amphibs pull in very close to the beach, which also makes them more vulnerable to counterattack.

            Using aircraft to land troops – V22s, and soon V-280s, makes the actual landing point or points far less predictable to the enemy, while also allowing the amphbs to stand well offshore making them less susceptible to ground fires. And the bigger aviation facilities allows carrying more aircraft – both F-35Bs as well as the tiltrotors to move troops.

            Therefore the well decks actually reduce the effectiveness of ARGs and makes them more susceptible to counterattack. I think that the Marines, who are the ones who decide whether a given ship has a well deck or not, are still not quite up to date on their thinking. Tradition says beach landings … but 21st century littoral wars will not be won by traditions.

          • Rexford L

            Using your logic, why will the USS Bougainville LHA-8 go back to a traditional welldeck? I guess that the Marines like being able to gave tanks, LAVs, trucks etc delivered by water instead of not having them at all. At 40+ knots it doesn’t take an LCAC long to go from the amphibs to the shore hauling 60 tons of equipment. (The LCU can carry up to 180 tons, but is much slower) The heaviest payload that a USMC helicopter can carry is 17.5 tons (CH-53K) and the V-22 can only carry 10 tons. WHY do you want to limit the equipment available to our Marines to mortars and machine guns?

          • Rocco

            Because the Marines bitched!! Why do you continue to argue this point!!

          • Rexford L

            Oh, you mean the people that have to do the actual fighting? Those people that want to be able to take their equipment ashore and defeat the enemy. I guess you know how they should be fighting, not a bunch of old Marine Generals and Colonels.

          • Curtis Conway

            Guys – guys – guys . . . the original intent was to build LHD-8 with well decks and LHA-6 without, and intermingle them for deployment based upon tasking. THEN the Well-deck argument took over even though the new amphibious ships had expanded capability, AND Expeditionary Basing was coming on line. IMHO the Marines have done themselves a great disservice.

          • Rocco

            Copy that sir

          • Curtis Conway

            We have way too many people in the decision making mix that are influenced by . . . who knows what!?!? STICK TO THE PLAN should be the order of the day. Now we don’t even know if we will ever get a capable frigate, and the LCS is just going to get a lot of good sailors killed. I fear for our Navy. That new SWO Program had better be worth its weight in Gold! Smart commanders, and capable ship drivers with an EXCELLENT Situational Awareness are what is going to save them. Performance like on the McCain, Fitz and others bodes very badly for our Surface Forces. I wonder if enough Non-Combat capable commanders were sent to retirement?

          • PolicyWonk

            The officers needing to be sent to retirement are those who lack common sense, and can’t learn from the mistakes of the past (even the super-recent past!).

            As I’ve mentioned previously, there is no reason for optimism w/r/t FFG(X), because as long as the creeps that were involved in PEO LCS remain unpunished for their failures (let alone those who punished good officers for pointing out the huge design problems with EMALS, etc., in the USS Ford, among other acquisition disasters), the DoD is and remains in serious trouble.

            When mistakes are being made as blatant as those in LCS, or the F-35, EFV, or USS Ford are permitted without fear of retaliation, what’s to encourage others to change their behavior?

            Regrettably, the service branches have not been very good at handling acquisition, and the expense is killing us. That’s why I keep beating the drum for acquisition reform – we can’t have people hallucinating contradictory requirements that otherwise cause scientists and engineers to waste time/money attempting to violate the laws of physics.

          • Curtis Conway

            HEAR-HEAR . . . I’m with you. However, I am not confident that the Old Guard who had turned Defense Acquisition into an investment and power game for elected officials and senior officers . . . is gone. Vestiges of that regime still reign, and we see it in policy decisions every day, though I can say it seems less, particularly w/r/t US Army acquisition. There are some aspects of that arena that will never change because those involved in building what they build, or rebuilding things like M1A Abrams tanks (for example) which is limited, and we have a long way to go before the Force is up to speed, but those building other equipment are gaining ground (i.e., Oshkosh and the JLTV). The Oshkosh JLTV prototype produced was clearly superior, and the most reliable and effective unit. The US Coast Guard is moving right along with their acquisition of their new platforms with the Offshore Patrol Cutter on track, even after a hurricane. Congress must get off the stick and fund the Polar Security Cutters, and the US Navy (and perhaps even USNORTHCOM attention) should contribute because that platform present in the Arctic will be the underway Command Ship for the region. The FFG(X) will most likely turn into the Little Beaver for the region along with the two NSCs that will be in Adak. If the FFG(X) becomes an Arctic Asset then home porting some in the Northern Regions on both coasts should be considered, not just stick them in Mayport and San Diego.

          • Rocco

            Yeah and one of them ain’t you!!

          • Rocco

            Plus the ship is a compromise!! LHA -8. The well deck is smaller as well as the island!!

          • Duane

            As I wrote, it is a Marines decision, and their thinking is still too much influenced by their history of beach landings. I suspect the Marines’ thinking will continue to evolve and there will be more aviation centric LHAs ordered and built.

          • Secundius

            There might be solution to that problem (i.e. Artillery) in the works. At least by the US Army, but maybe later with the USMC. The Mk.777 155mm “Brutus” Forward Recoiling Howitzer Mount. Mounted on a Standard Oshkosh M1083A1P2 5-ton truck body…

            ( https : // defense – blog . com / army/u-s-army-demonstrates-experimental-brutus-howitzer.html )

          • Aj jordan

            Over the horizon amphibious assault , the MV22 , LCAC , and the now cancelled EFV was supposed to enable the marines to make landing with ships over 30 miles away, but poor planning and procurement by the USMC killed a key feature of the triad, the EFV, so they could buy more aircraft and play airforce. Now their suffering in the ground side of the corps and their answer to shift responsibility was to ditch well decks, a decision that caught a lot of friction forcing them to bring them back in the form of LHA 8.

          • PolicyWonk

            The EFV was not only a badly run program, but the requirements were sufficiently contradictory to make for a very complex/expensive vehicle, that taken together violated the rules of physics, science, and engineering.

            The USMC did learn from this, and started including engineers in the requirements gathering process, to make sure they weren’t violating said laws of physics, etc., thereby significantly reducing acquisition risk.

          • Rocco

            You are correct! However LHA-8 will fix this with a smaller island! Retain a smaller well deck . With the smaller island sections of the flight deck will be wider. Which is good but not good for maintenance & shelter from weather that the larger island provided. In my opinion the ship should of be stretched out to 900′ ! This fixes everything. For the increase weight the power plant should get 2 more turbines.

          • Graeme Rymill

            “Everything you listed a Wasp class LHD can do , except for increased
            aviation facilities in which case its really not much of a difference
            except for increased hangar space.

            Wasp class LHD – 585,000 gallons of JP-5

            America class LHA – 1,330,000 gallons of JP-5

          • Rocco

            Keep in mind America burns the same fuel for its turbine engines!!

          • Aj jordan

            Thanks for further proving how LHA 6 only brings more aviation capability to the LHD hull…. *Whoosh*

          • Graeme Rymill

            My pleasure! 🙂

          • PolicyWonk

            That was proven/decided comprehensively when the USN/USMC decided that starting with LHA-8, all subsequent ships in class would include a well deck.

            As I’ve pointed out in other postings, the notion of building an “aviation centric” LHA isn’t the “innovation” some folks were claiming it is (seriously: what were they thinking?), because the CV and CVL had already been invented.

            Those of us who favor the LHA-6 and 7 do so because we understand the utility of an LHA-6/7 being outfitted with 20 F-35B’s to fulfill the role of a CVL. We don’t have enough CVN’s, and even a LHA-6 carries a lot of firepower that can patrol less volatile parts of the world, freeing up the CVN’s for other less mundane work.

          • Curtis Conway

            The LHA-6 has a larger hangar with a full AIMD. That is significant if you have to stay for any period of time.

          • RunningBear

            The Bougainvillea May or may not prove you point. Is it customary for LHD to task outside the ARG?
            IMHO
            Fly Navy
            😀

          • PolicyWonk

            We are in agreement.

            However, the LHA thing had been done in the past, and it wasn’t well received, because the problem of airlifting Marines and gear limits the utility of the LHA because it cannot carry/deliver heavy equipment/firepower in sufficient quantities for a sustained engagement.

            Granted the heavy lifting can be done by the LPD’s, etc., and there are a variety of missions that can be carried out by this platform (in concert with other assets). But the battle for “aviation-centric” big-deck amphibs ended with LHA-7.

            It’ll be interesting to see how LHA-6 and 7 are ultimately used by the USN/USMC. They can make for a capable and useful CVL, which this nation needs very badly, especially given the problems with the USS Ford (AAG, EMALS, etc.).

          • Rocco

            Kudos good argument!

          • RunningBear

            Getting a CVL by calling it a LHA, plus vertical lift.
            IMHO
            Fly Navy
            😀

          • PolicyWonk

            Heh – whatever works and gets the job done!

          • Curtis Conway

            It makes them perfect for HA/DR Operations.

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            I don’t know what HA/DR means… Google suggests “High-Availability Disaster Recovery” — is that what you’re saying? (not busting your chops, trying to learn is all)

          • Curtis Conway

            Human Assistance /(and-or) Disaster Relief Operations. After a hurricane or earthquake, other problems. The mission set is now part of every service.

          • PolicyWonk

            Indeed – and its the gator fleet that really shines in that regard. The combination of heavy-lift, choppers, medical facilities, and cargo-carrying capacity makes for outstanding disaster relief platforms.

          • Rocco

            Agreed

        • Ed L

          The Iwo Jima Class LPH’s built in the 60’s didn’t have well decks. We did pretty well with them. Flag configure most of us were.

          • Curtis Conway

            Wisdom that is missed by most. The amphibious ships have greater amphibious lift, and the Mobile Basing concept has increased that lift even more. Aviation over rotary wing is the Big Need. THAT is what LHA-6 gets you in this equation. Also, not every hot spot around the globe requires an expensive Carrier Strike Group to respond, in fact most don’t. For Human Assistance / Disaster Relief operations the increased aviation support really speeds things up and increased the rapidity of response.

          • Rocco

            Agreed

          • RunningBear

            Those of us here on the gulf coast have been greatly benefited by the amphibs and the vertical lift.
            IMHO
            Fly Navy
            🙂

        • Duane

          Not true in the least. Aviation centric LHDs support maximum F-35 deployment the most powereful element of any ARG.

          • Rexford L

            Most powerful element of an ARG are those Marines on the ground. The aircraft support them, but definitely aren’t the most powerful.

          • Rocco

            You have no idea what your talking about!

          • Rexford L

            Yeah, 5 years on the USS Essex LHD-2 (currently deployed) and 20+ years in the Navy, your right I know nothing about the Navy or amphibious warfare.

          • Aj jordan

            Were you on any other amphibs? Mines an LSD.

          • Rexford L

            USS Essex LHD-2 April 93 to April 98, USS Momsen DDG-92 April 03 to Aug 07, USS Halsey DDG-97 May 09 Nov 11.

          • Rocco

            Hardly

          • Duane

            You never served with F-35s on those ships, which only just began deploying in the ARG last year.

          • Rocco

            Yeah right! Not by your stupid responses! You could of fooled me and others on here.

          • Aj jordan

            Thank you! Whats the point of having the f35 in all its divinity if you cant even deliver your marines to the shores via ship to shore connectors? The marines are becoming a seaborne 101st airborne and their losing the focus of their mission.

          • Duane

            You can’t deliver your marines to the beach if the beach defenders destroy the ship to shore connector, or even destroy the ship that launches the ship to shore connectors … and that is exactly what happened time and time again in World War Two, and that is exactly where the F-35 comes in. It is the airborne destroyer, jammer, sensor, comms central, and combat management nerve center of the ARG. Having a F-35 aloft with an ARG is like giving every ARG its own AWACS, P8A, F/A-18G Growler, a mini-version of AEGIS, and of course, CAS.

          • Duane

            Not really, The F-35 is a humongous force multiplier, far more powerful than any warm bodies on a beach. We aren’t going to refight World War Two, with its humongous human dead body counts. One F-35 can destroy an entire enemy position, the same position that it might take a company or even battalion of Marines to take, and in the process suffer dozens, perhaps hundreds of casualties that were common in the WW Two island hopping campaign. Air support was helpful in WW Two .. in the 21st century, air power will be determinative.

            F-35 protects the amphibs, their ship to shore connectors, their aircraft, and the Marines on the ground.

            That is because the F-35 is not just about bombs or missiles, it is a jamming station (the most powerful airborne jammer available), a sensor platform (the world’s best airborne sensors), and a combat information center capable of directing fires from many other nodes of attack, both air and ship and ground. And F-35 also happens to be a great ground attack and air attack platform too.

          • Aj jordan

            You tout the F35 as being the only thing worthwhile when its just one part of the element of an ARG! What of the ground combat elements? Just ignore the need to deliver heavy equipment to a beachhead via ship to shore connectors, and AAV’s? Your thinking is exactly why the USMC and Gator navy is in the shape it is now, and why their bringing back this flawed aviation centric rhetoric, that has been proven flawed Looong ago. Im clearing away from the f35 as an argument focus, because it shouldn’t even be in an argument concerning Marine ground elements and how its been wrongly put in the backburner.

          • Duane

            F-35 is not the only thing worthwhile. Amphibious assault still requires boots on the ground. But it is the F-35 that effectively gets more boots on the ground safely, and keeps them from getting killed once on the ground. F-35 is a humongous force multiplier, because it does fantastically more than just drop bombs on bad guys.

            The Marines have made it emphatically clear that they believe the F-35 is the greatest game changer the Marines have ever had, and that it has already completely transformed amphibious warfare.

          • RunningBear

            The ARG/MEU is not an LHA and 1,600 Marines; it also includes the LPD and LSD and the other 600+300 Marines not on the LHA. What is lost? with the LHA is made up with the LPD and LSD, with the “gear in the rear”.

            The LHA provides their 1,600 Marines;
            1- 10 – MV-22B (280kts) to carry 24 Marines anywhere “but” the defended beachhead or 20klb. or 15klb. sling.
            2- 4 – CH-53E (150kts) to carry supplies, artillery, and 24 Marines or 30klb or 36klb sling.
            3- 10 – F-35B (1.4mach) to provide air superiority and SEAD/DEAD and CAS for the Marines.
            4- 4- UH-1Y or AH-1Z (220kts)either utility support or CAS.

            The LPD provides their 600 Marines;
            1- 2-LCACs or 1-LCU or 14-Amtracs.
            2- M1A2 Abrams
            3- LAV-25
            4- HMMWV

            The LSD provides their 300 Marines;
            1- 4-LCACs or 3-LCU or 36-Amtracs
            2- M1A2 Abrams
            3- LAV-25
            4- HMMWV

            So in summary; I’m not seeing what you feel is a diminished MEU when, in my opinion the 36+14 Amtracs (8kts.) are not bobbing around in the ocean; attacking a defended beachhead but arriving to meet the 1,600 Marines that were delivered by vertical lift in the rear of the defeated beachhead.
            IMHO
            Fly Navy
            🙂

          • Rocco

            1.6 Mach!!

          • RunningBear

            Wow the second mistake today!
            IMHO
            Fly Navy
            🙂

        • Rocco

          Never intended to be an Amphibious !! Only by air!! In my opinion it should be called a fast response air assault ship! I also take offense that you call them useless!!

          • Rexford L

            Amphibious Ready Group.. the America isn’t capable of handling anything amphibious. To do what a Wasp ARG can do, you would need a 4th ship in the ARG. Might as well have built a ship like the HMS Queen Elizabeth, at least it has a ski jump.

          • Rocco

            What part don’t you understand!! It’s not an Amphibious element ship!! Dude! These don’t normally go out alone anyway. FYI the Queen Elizabeth doesn’t have a well deck! & It’s the only class the UK operates currently! Plus that can’t go through the Panama canal!!

          • Rexford L

            The America doesn’t have a well deck either..

          • Rocco

            No sh…T Sherlock!

          • Aj jordan

            The brits are going to use one of the two in the “commando carrier” role to fill the gap left when they decommisioned the HMS Ocean aviation amphib.

          • Rocco

            OK interesting

        • Mk-Ultra

          Wasn’t that the point? Removing well deck to allow more aircraft and aviation fuel, for the perpetual configuration of V-22s and F-35s.

          I think the Navy actually wanted to test the feasibility of baby carriers.

          • Rexford L

            True, but that’s not the job of an Amphibious Ready Group. It’s to get a MAGTAF ashore with their equipment.

          • Mk-Ultra

            Obviously, and that’s the sacrifice the Navy was willing to make

        • RunningBear

          If they only carried the F-35B, yes. But….the 1,600 Marines with the MV-22B, H-53, H-1; not hardly.

    • Rocco

      I think the Tripoli should be based out of the east coast once it’s commissioned !

      • Curtis Conway

        Ideally we would build five more with two on each coast, and a pair for the Central/South America rotation. That latter bunch would rein from West Africa to the Eastern Pacific. I have a feeling our presence in the that area is due to grow, and not just for Anti-Piracy, but the Antarctic as well. The 2nd/3rd Fleets would have to rotate them in and out of Arctic Exercises as well.

        • Rocco

          Agreed! I’d like to see 20 total of these ships but built to my specifications of 900′ mix well deck with/ without, no angel deck to reduce complexity unless we do without supper carriers in the future! …. Not!

      • RunningBear

        With the Makin Island coming out of maintenance in San Diego now, it will fly the F-35B.
        IMHO
        Fly Navy
        🙂

        • Rocco

          Cool! The more the better!!⚓

  • Duane

    Great ship … but we need more than two of these aviation-centric LHDs with large numbers of F-35s embarked (as many as two squadrons, or less with some Ospreys and MH-60s mixed in). With just two we can’t keep one on station continuously … at least three hulls are needed to do that.

    • Rocco

      OMG …. Agreed!!

  • RunningBear

    The balance of the Wasp Class LHDs should be scheduled for their F-35 upgrades at their next 2019 maintenance availability;

    Kearsarge/ LHD-3
    Boxer/ LHD-4
    Bataan/ LHD-5
    Bonhomme Richard/ LHD-6
    Iwo Jima/ LHD-7

    Makin Island/ LHD-8 – “The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island/LHD 8 entered a floating dry dock at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company/NASSCO, 25Aug17. The depot-level planned maintenance availability/DPMA will last 14 months and will outfit the ship with the latest war fighting capabilities.” “The overhaul will take place in San Diego, California and is expected to be completed by September 2018.”

    “The flight deck will be resurfaced during the DPMA,” …. “The new flight deck will be able to accommodate the F-35B Lightning II aircraft and increase the capabilities and reach of Team Raider.”

    This is a good start;
    IMHO
    Fly Navy
    🙂

    • publius_maximus_III

      So assume it’s a thermal barrier resurfacing to resist the jet blast? Apparently these LHD’s were only for chopper and tilt-rotor before. Not sure about the (soon to be replaced) greyhounds, but probably not without cat & trap capability.

      • Duane

        Harriers too.

      • RunningBear

        The MV-22B also benefits from the Thermion coated Wasp, Essex landing spots 7&9 and as others have indicated the AV-8B Harrier has been launching from the LHDs for over a decade. BTW, America has 4 landing spots with Thermion, maybe more to come in the future.

        Humorously the often quoted “Blowtorch melted decking” has not materialized, perhaps because the lift fan exhaust happens to mix with the jet exhaust during the brief period of exhaust impingement on the flight deck.
        IMHO
        Fly Navy
        🙂

        • Rocco

          During Fleet Week 5 yrs ago I boarded the WASP & got to see spot 7 that had the new coating. It’s like a black 800 grit sandpaper smooth. Nothing like nonskid.

        • publius_maximus_III

          What I don’t understand is why you don’t have to worry about the rubber tires as much as the deck. Are they inside the blast radius?

          • Duane

            The exhaust does not impinge directly on the tires, but does impinge directly on the deck surface. Once the exhaust hits the deck surface, it spreads out and mixes with ambient air such that the heat does not damage the tires.

          • RunningBear

            No, the tires are forward of the lift from the jet engine exhaust. Also, the deck impingement is momentary in landing and it was found after testing that the downdraft from the forward lift fan mixes with the jet exhaust and reduces the heating effect to the deck.

            It has been demonstrated operationally with the deck coating, that a direct impingement of over 20min. from the MV-22B (at idle) had no effect on the Thermion or the steel decking underneath.
            Fly Navy
            🙂

    • Rocco

      Agreed! BTW Makin Island is the 1st hybrid electric drive LHA with turbine power!

      • RunningBear

        That led to the same good design of the follow-on LHAs.
        IMHO
        Fly Navy
        🙂

        • Rocco

          Yup!

    • RunningBear

      Bonhomme Richard/ LHD-6 – “General Dynamics, National Steel and Shipbuilding Co./ NASSCO, San Diego, California, was awarded a $218,717,565 firm-fixed-price contract for the execution of USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) fiscal year 2018 docking phased maintenance availability/ DPMA. This availability includes a combination of maintenance, modernization, and repair of USS Bonhomme Richard. …. Work will be performed in San Diego, California, and is expected to be completed by May 2020.

      ….and a good thing continues!
      IMHO
      Fly Navy
      🙂

  • Yamanote

    I’m calling this out as a major screw up – not Fat Leonard level, but up there. It’s incredibly disruptive to both the crews, their families, the support functions, host nation, and COST to swap ships out so suddenly. Clearly there is an undisclosed screw up somewhere and its time 7th fleet and the Navy gets it game straight in Asia. Oh, BTW, Trump and Kim are “In Love” so no need for an amphibious force in Sasebo anyway. Correct?

    • Rocco

      Go F….Y. S!!

  • USNVO

    No surprise here, as soon as they announced WASP was coming home in 2019, it was obvious that the AMERICA was going to Japan. I mean really,
    – AMERICA will complete PSA and be ready for service with F-35Bs.
    – The FDNF ARG includes an LPD and 2 LSDs, so the lack of a well deck isn’t an issue.
    – It is closer to the SCS and other hot spots
    – The USMC has a F-35 squadron forward deployed to Japan.

    • Rocco

      Copy that! Plus Japan is interested in the F-35B for their own possible use on their destroyer flattop & our ship!

    • Al L.

      Thought they had ended the 4 ship ARG in Japan a few years ago. Hadn’t seen 4 stationed there recently.
      If they go back to the 4 ship ARG in Japan then the 2 Aviation centric Americas rotating there makes a lot of sense. With 3 LPD-17 the ARG could probably carry 10-12 F-35, a set of UAVs to provide AEW and a reinforced or heavy MEU. At that point the ARG with a couple destroyers or frigates attached becomes independent of immediate carrier support and much more maneuverable. That would be a significant capability in the Pacific.

      • USNVO

        Not sure what it was before and/or when it changed but the current FDNF ARG includes 1 LHD, 2 LSD, and 1 LPD. Long term plan could be different as there are currently more LSDs and LPDs than LHA/LHDs but that will change over time.

        • Al L.

          Yup I checked and it looks like its currently 4. Seems to me it was cut down to 3 in the 2014/2015(?) time frame. Maybe that was temporary, but I do remember seeing reports of PHIBRON 11 back then with only 3 ships listed. I for one think that when enough LPDs are available, first priority should be 3 LPDs forward in Sasebo with either America or Tripoli.

          • USNVO

            Simple logistics makes sense to swap either the TRIPOLI next to FDNF or, more likely, one of the new LHDs. LHD-8/new LHAs have a significantly different engineering plant, so the Navy will be biting the bullet for a lot of billets in Japan when they swap AMERICA for WASP. They will not want to do that again, so the next ship that eventually gets sent to swap out for the AMERICA (probably 5 or more years in the future) will be one of the newer ships.

      • RunningBear

        2018: 1-LHD, 2-LSD,1-LPD at Sasebo
        Fly Navy
        🙂

  • Ed L

    Build a new and improved Landing Tank Ship. An this time put some ballistic shielding around the operators positions