Ingalls Begins Building LHA 8 for the US Navy
U.S. shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced its Ingalls Shipbuilding division started building the next America-class amphibious assault ship for the U.S. Navy, on Monday.
The official start of fabrication on Bougainville (LHA 8) signifies that the shipyard is ready for sustained production and ready to move forward with the construction of the 257-meter warship.
“The start of Bougainville, our 16th large-deck amphib, allows us to continue the serial production of these great ships,” said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. “Working with the Navy and Marine Corps, we will take advantage of our hot production line and a healthy nationwide supplier base to continue providing these much-needed ships for the defense of our nation and the world’s sea lanes.”
Bougainville will retain the aviation capability of the America-class design while adding the surface assault capability of a well deck. The well deck will give the U.S. Marine Corps the ability to house and launch two landing craft air cushion (LCAC) hovercraft or one landing craft utility (LCU) as needed during their maritime missions. Other additions to Bougainville include a larger flight deck configured for Joint Strike Fighter and Osprey V-22 aircraft, which can be used for surface and aviation assaults. The additional area on the flight deck comes in part from a smaller deck house and an additional sponson.
Each America-class amphibious assault ship takes approximately five years to build. The first vessel in the class, America (LHA 6), was commissioned in October 2014, and the second ship, Tripoli (LHA 7), was launched in May 2017 and is scheduled to deliver in 2018.
LHA 8 will be the second Navy vessel to bear the name Bougainville. The name commemorates the Bougainville Campaign that took place during World War II. During the campaign, which lasted from 1943 to 1944, Allied forces secured a strategic airfield from Japan in the northern Solomon Islands, helping the allies break the Japanese stronghold in the South Pacific.