The Navy’s newest class of large-deck amphibious assault ship, LHA 6, will bear the name USS America, Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter announced June 27, while speaking at the USS America Carrier Veterans Association reunion in Jacksonville, Fla.
This ship will inherit a proud tradition, explained Winter. From the American Revolution through the first Gulf War, three warships have sailed with the name America.
“To serve in a ship named after our country adds to the pride one feels in being part of the Navy and adds to the feeling that when America pulls into port, there is no more powerful symbol of the power, the ideals, and the greatness of the United States of America,” said Winter.
LHA 6 will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name America.
I would have preferred that CVN 78 be named America, but this isn’t too bad, either.
The LHA 6s will be even more capable as light aircraft carriers than today’s amphibs:
LHA 6 replaces the aging Tarawa-class and represents a conscious decision to increase the aviation capacity of future big deck amphibious ships in order to maximize the Navy’s investment in future aircraft.
LHA 6 will have an extended hangar deck with two higher hangar bay areas, each fitted with an overhead crane for aircraft maintenance. LHA 6 will also provide increased aviation fuel capacity, stowage for aviation parts and support equipment. LHA 6 will be able to embark and launch the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, cargo and attack helicopters, the AV-8B Harrier and the short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) variant F-35B Lightning II Strike Fighter.
This increased aircraft capability comes at the expense of the well deck for landing craft. Basically, this means they’re betting the farm on landing Marines with the V-22.