The amphibious assault ship America (LHA 6) returned to Huntington Ingalls Industries' (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division Friday following successful acceptance sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico. Ingalls' test and trials team successfully demonstrated more than 220 test events to the U.S. Navy's board of inspection and survey (INSURV).
"It was a proud three days at sea, and America proved she is a quality ship," said LHA 6 Program Manager George Jones. "The LHA 6 team's tireless and diligent effort paid off as our scores from INSURV indicated. We will continue this effort over the next several weeks to have LHA 6 ready for the sailors and Marines who will man her as part of the U.S. Navy fleet."
During acceptance trials, America performed all required sea trial evolutions, including the operation of the hybrid gas turbine/electric-drive propulsion system. Other tests included anchor handling, steering demonstration, flight deck operations, and combat systems' evaluations.
"The Ingalls/Navy team did an outstanding job in presenting the ship to the Board of Inspection and Survey," said Richard Schenk, Ingalls' vice president, test and trials. "It is a tribute to all involved in proving the capabilities of such a large and complex ship."
When America enters the fleet, she will be the flagship of an Expeditionary Strike Group, strategically positioning Marine Expeditionary Units ashore across a full spectrum of missions, including humanitarian, disaster relief, maritime security, antipiracy and other operations while providing air support for ground forces.
America-class ships are 844 feet long and 106 feet wide and displace 44,971 long tons. The gas-turbine propulsion system will drive the ships in excess of 20 knots. They will accommodate a crew of 1,059 (65 officers) and 1,687 troops. The America-class will be capable of carrying a Marine Expeditionary Unit, including Marine helicopters, MV‐22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and F‐35B Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.
The newest class has an increased aviation capacity to include an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity.