Thursday, July 1, 2010
The USA’s America Class: Carrier Air + Amphibious Assault
Modern U.S. Navy Amphibious Assault Ships project power and maintain presence by serving as the cornerstone of the Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) / Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG).
LHA/LHD are a key element of the Seapower 21 doctrine pillars of Sea Strike and Sea Basing, transporting, launching, and landing elements of the Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) via a combination of LCAC hovercraft, amphibious transports and vehicles, helicopters, and aircraft.
Designed to project power and maintain presence, LHA-Replacement (LHA-R, aka. LH-X and now the America Class) large deck amphibious assault ships will replace the LHA-1 Tarawa Class. They’re based on the more modern LHD Wasp Class design, but initial ships will remove the LHD’s landing craft and well deck. While its LHA/LHD predecessors were amphibious assault ships with a secondary aviation element, it’s fair to describe the LHA-Rs as escort carriers with a secondary amphibious assault role.