Large Amphibious Assault Vessels

Jeff Head

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These ships are certainly cost effective means of providing carrier capability, for less money, and oftentimes in a more appropriate manner for today's low intensity conflicts.
Many nations are building them for precisely this reason. They are multi-role vessels, giving more bang for the buck, able to conduct Sea Control, Limited close air support, air assault, amphibious assault, and significant humanitarian support in advancement of the respective nation's national interests.

But I have to wonder, will these ships ever be used for what they were truly designed for? Will we ever see a large scale amphibious operation onto hostile territory ever again? The closest only time it's happened in the last several decades was the Falklands, and I suppose the AU assault on that island in the Comoros. Although that doesn't really count :nana:.
Actually, between the Falklands war in 1982 and the AU assault on Comoros in 2008, there have been several other ignificant uses of these vessels.

1983 - Operation Urgent Fury in Granada by the USS (USS Guam)

1989 - Operation Just Cause in Panama by the US (US Marine support by helo)

1991 - Operation Desert Strom in Kuwait and Iraq, the US used a huge amphibious demonstration of over 40 amphibious vessels (the largest such force since Inchon in Korea) to hold in place 6 Iraqi divisions to guard against an amphibious invasion while the main thrust occured on land.

2003 - Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. USS LHA and LHD and UK vessels vessels supported the operation throughout, including the USMC and UK amphibious air assault of Al Faw peninsula as the first conventrional attack of the war.

There may be more by other nations, but these are some of the ones I am familiar with.

I believe the days of the possibility for the need of both air assault of the decks of such vessels and amphibious assault from their well decks are not over. Many nations agree because they are building many, many such vessels with this capability all around the world.

To the extent that the possession of such capabilities deters their use...perhaps we can all hope and pray that this in fact becomes the case.
 

Scratch

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Regarding the need for large amphibs in the future:

While currently the possibility for a large, high intensity attack is rather remote, I think the role of those ships may well expand. Those ships present a very good platform to transport all kinds of military force to many places in the world where a low intensity, peace keeping / stabilizing operation is ramping up.
Starting a new such mission is alway difficult, especially when it is of a time critical nature. Standard sealift may need more time to move up, airlift lacks the capacity, amphibs can do the job here. May it only be a lot of jeeps, trucks, small arms, ammo, and supporting equipment; food, water, etc ...

Another role would be as a mothership in operations like those off Somalia.
Those amphibs can hold Helos (and also UAVs I guess) to obtain wide area situational awareness, and for quick reaction missions.
Furthermore, the amphid could also host several small FACs / armed speedboats with marines on board to patrol the area, make arrests etc ...
That might also be a good starting point for some kinds of covert operation.

And finally there's of course the humanitarian relief role.
 

bd popeye

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2003 - Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. USS LHA and LHD and UK vessels vessels supported the operation throughout, including the USMC and UK amphibious air assault of Al Faw peninsula as the first conventional attack of the war.
These are awesome photos below..SIX USN LHA/LHD ships in the Gulf region during the opening rounds of the Iraq War..Two of the ships below are outfitted as "Harrier Carriers"..


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( U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Larry S. Carlson. (RELEASED)


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North Arabian Gulf (Apr. 20, 2003) – The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) moves into position as the amphibious assault ships of Commander, Task Force Fifty One (CTF-51) come together in an unprecedented formation during operations in the North Arabian Gulf. This marked the first time that six large deck amphibious ships from the East and West coasts have deployed together in one area of operation. Led by the flag ship USS Tarawa (LHA 1), the ships in the second row from bottom to top are USS Saipan (LHA 2) and USS Kearsarge (LHD 3); and the third row of ships are USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS Bataan (LHD 5) and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). CTF-51 led Navy amphibious forces in the Arabian Gulf region during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 32 ships of CTF-51 composed the largest amphibious force assembled since the Inchon landing, during the Korean War. Operation Iraqi Freedom is the multinational coalition effort to liberate the Iraqi people, eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and end the regime of Saddam Hussein. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Tom Daily. (RELEASED)
 
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Jeff Head

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These are awesome photos below..SIX USN LHA/LHD ships in the Gulf region during the opening rounds of the Iraq War..Two of the ships below are outfitted as "Harrier Carriers"..

[qimg]http://i43.tinypic.com/okx6ir.jpg[/qimg]
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( U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Larry S. Carlson. (RELEASED)

[qimg]http://i43.tinypic.com/2jaja7t.jpg[/qimg]
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Excellent dig Popeye. Those six together was unprecedented, and the role they played was pivotal.

And, seeing the Wasp Class, Bataan, LHD-5, and Bonhomme Richard, LHD-6, outfitted for full VSTOL fighter configuration is awesome. Here's a closer view, showing each with 15 Harriers on deck.

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Scratch

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Once again, digging out an older thread to revive it a little.

While construction of the LHA-6 is underway (33% complete right now), the navy contracted advanced procurement items for the follow on ship, LHA-7.

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Navy Awards Northrop Grumman $48 Million Advance Procurement Contract for Multi-Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship LHA 7

Oct. 28, 2010, 5:33 p.m. EDT

PASCAGOULA, Miss., Oct 28, 2010 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- The U.S. Navy has awarded a $48 million cost-plus fixed-fee contract modification to Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC 64.38, +1.16, +1.84%) for advance procurement of long-lead materials and performance of engineering/planning efforts for LHA 7, the second in the Navy's newest class of large-deck amphibious assault ships. The first ship, America (LHA 6) is being built in Pascagoula and is currently 33 percent complete.
With this award, Northrop Grumman will provide additional engineering, planning and technical support for the current contract. The Navy issued the initial contract in June for $175 million. The work will be performed at the company's Pascagoula facility. ...
A few days ago, the navy also issued a contract to NG for long lead time materials to built the 11th LPD-17 class ship.
The first in class, USS San Antonio is still being plagued by problems, it appears. LPD-17 will not go on a deployment next summer, but will instead be replaced by LPD-19 in the Batan ready group.
 

Jeff Head

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USS America, LHA(r)-6 is coming along nicely. Latest construction pics shows her taking fomr:

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If a EV-22 AEW aircraft were produced,, along with an ASW vairant of the V-22, these vessels (LHAs, LHDs, CVLs, CVHs) that embark them will become very powerful in the sea control, close support, and general aircraft carrier roles.

Outside of the US Super Carriers, when escorted by AEGIS DDGs, CGs, or FFGs (like the Spanish have and the Australians are building) they would become a good match for almost any other carrier group out there.
 
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Scratch

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A new development that may perhaps best fit here. With the new alignment of US naval strategy, the concept of an "Afloat Forward Staging Base" seems to gain momentum again. Nothing official yet, but indications are there. A test conversion of an old transport dock, USS Ponce (1st pic below), to be started this spring will be the first try in that direction.
New "Mobile Landing Platform" designs (2nd pic) have already been funded and one or two may be converted for the above mentioned role as well.
The initiative seems to be coming from CENTCOM, wich makes sense. Specialized Marine / Navy personal may be stationed in that region on such a platform along with fast craft and helicopters to tackle the piracy and CT / hostage rescue missions along the Somali cost. Having such a platform supporting mine clearing H-53 in the Strait of Hormuz is probably also pretty helpfull.
I'm waiting to see what materializes from that.

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New Floating Base Ships Coming for U.S. Navy
Jan. 27, 2012 - 07:51PM | By CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS

Decades after the idea was broached for a floating, mobile base to support operating forces in the Persian Gulf, the concept has suddenly shifted into high gear, and a sense of urgency is driving both new U.S. ship construction and conversion of an existing vessel.
A new Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) is mentioned almost in passing within the Pentagon budget briefing document made public Jan. 26. Development funding will be provided, the document said, for a new AFSB “that can be dedicated to support missions in areas where ground-based access is not available, such as countermine operations.”
Elsewhere, under “industrial base skills,” the documents noted that, “for example, adding the afloat forward staging base addresses urgent operational shortfalls and will help sustain the shipbuilding industry in the near-term and mitigate the impact of reducing ship procurement in the” budget.

What is all this verbiage code for?

“This fulfills a long-standing requirement from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), going back to the Tanker Wars of the late 1980s,” said Capt. Chris Sims, a spokesman for U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.

Sims was referring specifically to a recent decision to modify the amphibious transport dock ship Ponce — which had been scheduled to be decommissioned March 30 — into an interim AFSB able to support minesweeping MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters.
The ship will be operated jointly by active-duty Navy officers and sailors, and by government civilian mariners employed by Military Sealift Command (MSC) — a hybrid crew similar to those used on the Navy’s two submarine tenders and the command ship Mount Whitney.

Beyond the conversion, though, the Navy now plans to build at least one, and possibly two, AFSBs.
U.S. Navy officials would not publicly confirm the new construction, but sources confirmed the service plans to modify the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) design to take on the AFSB role.
Three MLPs have been funded for construction at the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding (NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego. The ships are large, 765-foot-long vessels able to float off small landing craft, tugs or barges.
For the AFSB role, a fourth MLP hull would be modified with several decks, including a hangar, topped by a large flight deck able to operate the heavy H-53s in the airborne mine countermeasures role.
But the AFSB will also be able to carry Marines, support patrol and special operations craft, and fuel and arm other helicopters.
The ship is expected to be requested in 2014.
Sources also said the Navy might be considering modifying the third MLP to the AFSB mission. Construction of that ship, funded in the 2012 defense bill, is being negotiated between NASSCO and the Navy.

Conversion of the Ponce, meanwhile, is proceeding with alacrity. MSC issued requests for proposal (RFPs) on Jan. 24 to upgrade and refit the ship. Bids are to be submitted by Feb. 3, with work to begin in mid-month. The RFPs state that sea trials are to be carried out in mid-April.
The work includes upgrading the ship’s navigation systems, bringing habitability up to MSC standards and general refurbishment. No flight modifications are planned at this time, said MSC spokesman Tim Boulay.
Fleet Forces Command also has begun solicitations for 50 Navy personnel to help man the ship in its special mission role.

The Ponce had returned to Norfolk from its final cruise Dec. 2, and crewmembers had already begun the inactivation process when the order came down to keep the ship running.
Use of the ship, Sims said, was “seen as an opportunity to fulfill that longstanding CENTCOM request.”

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Jeff Head

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America Class details LHA 6 & 7 no well deck, LHA 8 on with well decks

LHA 6, the USS America, and LHA 7, the USS Tripoli, will not have well decks, but will be, as I said, "Aircraft Centric."

LHA 8 and those built after her after will have a well deck, albeit a little smaller than the Wasp Class LHD well deck. They may end up calling them a new class because of this, but right now they are all intended to be called the "America" class.

As I said, their well deck from LHA 8 on will be slightly smaller than the well deck on the USS Wasp class, embarking two LCACs instead of three.

Here's the quote from US Marine Col. Weisz, the Deputy Commander of Expeditionaty Group Two.

Colonel Weisz said:
Both AMERICA and TRIPOLI will have 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 JP-5 aviation fuel capacity.

The AMERICA and TRIPOLI will use the same gas turbine propulsion plant, zonal electrical distribution and electric auxiliary systems designed and built for the USS MAKIN ISLAND, replacing the maintenance intensive steam plants of earlier ships. This unique auxiliary propulsion system is designed primarily for fuel efficiency.

Question: And the LHAs after 6 and 7 will have a well deck?

Col Weisz: Yes, but it is not planned to be the same size of the well deck that was built into the WASP Class amphibious assault ships (LHDs 1-8). The WASP Class warships can embark three LCACs (Landing Craft Air Cushion Vehicle) or two LCUs (Landing Craft Utility) in their well deck. LHA 8 is currently being designed to be able to embark two LCACs or one LCU; again, due to a smaller well deck than that of the WASP Class LHDs. A blue-green study was conducted by OPNAV-HQMC and validated that the smaller well deck of LHA 8 could still easily support the rapid build-up of landing forces ashore.
You can read the entire interview
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thecheeto

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Just read an article about HMS Ocean going in for some work. $105 million for radar, phalanx, plumbing and paint... Is it common to have a ship like this go in for year + work twice in 5 years?



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bd popeye

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Just read an article about HMS Ocean going in for some work. $105 million for radar, phalanx, plumbing and paint... Is it common to have a ship like this go in for year + work twice in 5 years?

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Yes...USN ships are constantly undergoing updates and repairs. I'm sure the RN has similar upkeep.
 
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