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U.S. Navy Large Deck Amphibious Assault Ships

The America-class LHA ships are a variant of the extremely successful Wasp-class LHD amphibious assault ships that are presently serving as workhorses in the U. S. Navy fleet.

Also known as “Large Deck amphibious ships,”  they are the centerpieces of amphibious ready groups and a U. S. Marine Corps Air-Ground Task Force. They provide unparalleled sea basing capabilities including unequaled command and control and hospital capacities.

Large deck amphibious assault ships launch forces from air and sea, utilizing interior well decks and flight decks to conduct missions across the spectrum of operations that range from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to full combat force.

The large deck amphibious ships are capable of supporting the most advanced Marine Corps aircraft, including the MV-22 Osprey and the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.

LHA Facts

Like their LHD predecessors, LHAs are 844 feet long with a 106-foot beam displacing more than 44,000 tons. These capital ships take more than five years to build. USS America (LHA 6) is the first ship in its class built without a well deck but with a larger hangar and aviation storage, focusing on purely aviation-related capacity.

The ships have a crew of 1,204 and can transport up to 1,800 troops and their equipment. America (LHA 6) is nearly three football fields in length and is 20 stories high from its keel to the top of her deckhouse. The flight deck dimension is more than two acres for launching, landing and stowing aircraft.

With a typical air combat element embarked, an LHA Amphibious Assault Ship can be equipped with:

  • 5 F-35B Joint Strike Fighters
  • 4 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters
  • 2 UH-1Y Venom attack helicopters
  • 4 CH-53E Super Sea Stallion helicopters
  • 12 MV-22 Osprey
  • 2 MH-60S Search and Rescue helicopters
  • Defensive weapons systems include .50 caliber machine guns, The Phalanx, Sea Sparrow and Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) anti-ship cruise missile weapon systems and decoy launchers.

Design & Construction

The 844-foot LHA 6 America class amphibious assault ship takes approximately five years to build. Its construction consists of 216 structural units, requiring 170 erection lifts, including grand blocks, plus two lifts to set the deckhouse on board (the main house, followed by smaller forward section). These blocks are built on land, starting with the ship’s midsection, and later moved to drydock for launch by translation cars.

Two main turbines provide 70,000 shaft horsepower. Additionally, LHA 6 has a separate source of propulsion, a unique electrical auxiliary propulsion system (APS) that was designed for fuel efficiency. The APS uses two induction-type auxiliary propulsion motors powered from the ship’s electrical grid. America -class ships include 1,000 miles of electrical cable, 431,000 feet of pipe and enough hull insulation to cover 40 acres.

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Delivered Ships

Ingalls has delivered 2 America-class amphibious assault ships to the U.S. Navy:

America (LHA 6) 4/10/2014
Tripoli (LHA 7) 2/28/2020