The US Navy’s aviation-centric amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) has become part of the US 7th Fleet forward-deployed amphibious force in Sasebo, Japan.
The ship arrived on December 6, after transiting the Pacific Ocean from its former homeport of San Diego.
As the first ship of its class, America was designed from inception to maximize the capabilities of the US Marine Corp’s F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. America is adaptive and flexible with superior aviation facilities; advanced communications, combat systems and command and control equipment; and incredibly capable medical facilities.
Compared to previous amphibious assault ships, America’s design features several enhanced aviation capabilities which include an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage of parts and equipment and an increased aviation fuel capacity.
America can accommodate F-35Bs, MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and a complement of Navy and Marine Corps helicopters.
“Our entire team is thrilled to welcome the crew and families of USS America, a ship that is exceptionally well suited to support the full spectrum of military operations conducted by our forward-deployed force,” said Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7.
America replaces USS Wasp (LHD 1) as the US 7th Fleet’s forward-deployed amphibious assault carrier. Wasp departed the US 7th Fleet area of operations as part of a scheduled transition September 4. and returned to Norfolk, Virginia Nov. 18.
Amphibious Squadron 11 also gained the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) on December 1 which also brings a host of warfighting capabilities to the 7th Fleet.