Tarawa class Amphibious Assault Ship - LHA

 

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship LHA Saipan Belleau Wood Nassau Peleliu Ingalls Pascagoula

 

 

 

 

The primary war-fighting mission of the LHA-1 Tarawa class is to land and sustain United States Marines on any shore during hostilities. The ships serve as the centerpiece of a multi-ship Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG). Some 3,000 Sailors and Marines contribute to a forward-deployed ARG composed of approximately 5,000 personnel.

The ships are designed to maintain what the Marine Corps calls "tactical integrity" - getting a balanced force to the same place at the same time. One LHA can carry a complete Marine battalion, along with the supplies and equipment needed in an assault, and land them ashore by either helicopter or amphibious craft. This two pronged capability, with emphasis on airborne landing of troops and equipment, enables the Navy and Marine Corps to fulfill their present-day mission. Whether the landing force is involved in an armed conflict, acting as a deterrent force in an unfavorable political situation or serving in a humanitarian mission, the class offers tactical versatility.

The Tarawa class is designed to operate independently or as a unit of a force, as a flagship or individual ship unit in both air and/or surface assaults, these ships are key elements of the amphibious assault forces for the Navy. They incorporate the best design features and capabilities of several amphibious assault ships currently in service: the Amphibious Assault Ship (LPH), Amphibious Transport Dock (LPD), Amphibious Cargo Ship (LKA), and Dock Landing Ship (LSD).

A capital ship, the Tarawa class can simultaneously fulfill six war-fighting requirements: flagship for embarked amphibious squadron, flag or general officer staff; aircraft carrier, with a 35-aircraft complement including AV-8B fighter/attack V/STOL Harrier jets, AH-1 helicopter gunships, CH-53E Super Sea Stallion "heavy lift" and CH-46D/E Sea Knight helicopters; amphibious assault launching platform, employing a variety of surface assault craft including the Navy's newest 40+ knot LCAC, 135-foot Landing Craft Utility (LCU), and other amphibious assault vehicles; hospital ship, equivalent to the nation's finest local hospitals with 17 ICU beds, 4 operating rooms, 300 beds, a 1,00-unit blood bank, full dental facilities, and orthopedics, trauma, general surgery, and x-ray capabilities; command and control (C4I) ship, with the Navy's most sophisticated SHF and EHF satellite communications capability; and assault provisions carrier able to sustain embarked forces with fuel, ammunition and other supplies.

The LHA's full length flight deck can handle ten helicopters simultaneously, as well as the AV-8 HARRIER jump-jet aircraft and OV-10 BRONCO fixed-wing turboprop reconnaissance aircraft. There is also a large well deck in the stem of the ship for a number of amphibious assault craft, both displacement hull and air cushion. Although the LHA usually doesn't carry Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCAC) boats onboard, they frequently operate with them and control them.

The ships have an extensive command, communication and control suite. These electronic systems give the amphibious task force commander nearly unlimited versatility in directing the assault mission. The heart of the LHA's electronic system is a tactical amphibious warfare computer which not only keeps track of the landing force's positions after leaving the ship, but tracks enemy targets ashore. With current information on troop positions in relation to enemy targets, the tactical data system can also direct the targeting of the guns and missiles from the ship as well as the support ships. Additionally, the system maintains air and surface traffic control during the landing not only for her own helicopters and assault craft, but for the combat air control and task force support ships as well.

Nearly three football fields in length and 20 stories high, these ships are capable of embarking 3,000 Sailors and Marines when deployed. The ship's two-acre flight deck, 18,519 square-foot hangar deck, and 250-foot well deck enable an embarked landing force to accomplish its mission around the globe. Two-marine boilers provide steam to the turbines which drive the twin screw ship, providing 70,000 total shaft horsepower. The ships have a range of 10,000 miles at a speed of 20 knots.

The ships have an extensive mechanical system for vertical and horizontal movement of containerized and palletized supplies from deep cargo holds to assault craft or helicopters. A system of five centerline elevators, conveyor lines and a monorail system move cargo and supplies. Two large elevators, one aft and one portside, move aircraft and equipment from the hangar deck to the flight deck. Wheeled vehicles, trucks, jeeps and tanks can be driven or pulled from any deck level storage position via inclined ramps to either awaiting craft in the well deck or helicopters on the flight deck.

 

 

 

interesting facts:

TARAWA stands 20 stories high, measures 820 feet in length and 106 feet in width, displaces 40,000 tons of seawater when fully loaded and has a flight deck that measures more than two acres square.

TARAWA has 1,400 compartments - about the same number as a large hotel.

TARAWA has nine elevators and two horizontal conveyors - more than most department stores.

TARAWA has 2 boilers - the largest ever manufactured for the United States Navy. They can generate a total of 400 tons of steam per hour and develop 140,000 horsepower - equivalent to the horsepower of more than 700 average automobiles.

TARAWA has electrical power subsystem creating 14,000 kilowatts to provide electrical power for the ship - adequate electrical power to light 11,500 homes for 50,000 people.

TARAWA has 1,500 tons of air conditioning equipment - sufficient to environmentally control a 32-story office building or 500 average homes.

TARAWA can ballast 12,000 tons of seawater for trimming the ship to receive and discharge landing craft from the well deck.

TARAWA was constructed with more than 20,000 tons of steel, 3,000 tons of aluminum, 400 miles of cable and 80 miles of pipe.

TARAWA has a 300 bed hospital, 4 medical operating rooms and 3 dental operating rooms.

TARAWA has a 900-horsepower bow thruster for lateral movement at low speeds that can move the bow with 20,000 pounds of force - equivalent to half the pulling power of a diesel/electrical locomotive.

 

 

 

Ships:

 

unit

in service

builder

fate

LHA 1 USS Tarawa

1976

Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi

decommissioned 2009

 

LHA 2 USS Saipan

1977

Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi

decommissioned 2007

 

LHA 3 USS Belleau Wood

1978

Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi

decommissioned 2005 / sunk as target

 

LHA 4 USS Nassau

1979

Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi

decommissioned 2011

 

LHA 5 USS Peleliu

1980

Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi

active

 

 

 

Specifications:

 

Displacement:

light: 26255 tons

full: 39925 tons

 

Length:

820 feet / 249,90 meters

 

Beam:

106 feet / 32,30 meters

 

Draft:

27 feet / 8,20 meters

 

Max Speed:

24 knots / approx. 44,5 km/h

 

Propulsion:

2 600 psi boilers; 2 geared steam turbines; 2 shafts; 2 propellers; approx. 70000 shp;

 

Aircraft:

up to 35 aircraft (mix depends upon mission):

i.e.:

6 AV-8B Harrier

4 AH-1W Super Cobra

12 CH-46 Sea Knight

9 CH-53 Sea Stallion

4 UH-1N Huey

 

Boats:

2 LCU or

1 LCAC

 

Elevators:

1 deck-edge (40000 pound capacity)

1 stern (80000 pound capacity)

 

Armament:

as built:

3 Mk-45 5/54 caliber guns (127mm) (later removed)

2 Mk-25 box launchers for RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missiles (2 x 8 missiles) (later removed)

4 Mk-38 25-mm machine gun systems

 

2 Mk-15 Phalanx Close-In-Weapon-Systems (CIWS) (installed in the late 1980s)

2 21-cell Mk-49 launchers for RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM)

6 Mk.36 SRBOC - Chaff & Decoy Launching System

 

Complement:

ship's company: 964

Marine detachment: more than 1900

 

 

 

Armament:

 

 

Tarawa class LHA armament Mk-49 missile launcher for RIM-116 rolling airframe missile Mk-15 Phalanx close-in weapon system CIWS

latest confguration with Mk-49 launcher for RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile and Mk-15 Phalanx Close-in Weapon System (USS Saipan - 2005)

 

Tarawa class LHA armament Mk-45 gun Mk-25 missile launcher for RIM-7 Sea Sparrow SAM

1980s configuration with Mk-25 missile launchers and Mk-45 5/54 caliber guns (USS Peleliu - 1986)

 

Tarawa class LHA amphibious assault ship Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS Mk-49 RAM launcher RIM-116

stern view with Mk-15 CIWS (left) and Mk-49 RAM launcher (right) - (USS Tarawa - 2007)

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship LHA armament Mk-25 missile launcher RIM-7 Sea Sparrow BPMDS and Mk-45 5"/54 caliber gun

stern-view with Mk-25 RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missile launcher (left) and Mk-45 5/54 caliber gun (right) - (USS Nassau - 1984)

 

Tarawa class LHA amphibious assault ship armament Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS and Mk-49 launcher for RIM-116 rolling airframe missile RAM

bow view with Mk-15 CIWS and Mk-49 missile launcher for RIM-116 RAM (Tarawa - 2007)

 

 

 

 

class images:

 

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship LHA Saipan Belleau Wood Nassau Peleliu LCU well deck

USS Tarawa (LHA 1)

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship LHA-2 USS Saipan

USS Saipan (LHA 2)

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship LHA-3 USS Belleau Wood

USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3)

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship LHA-4 USS Nassau

USS Nassau (LHA 4)

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship LHA-4 USS Nassau

USS Nassau (LHA 4)

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship LHA-4 USS Nassau

USS Nassau (LHA 4)

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship LHA-4 USS Nassau

USS Nassau (LHA 4)

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship LHA Saipan Belleau Wood Nassau Peleliu

USS Nassau (LHA 4)

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship

USS Nassau (LHA 4)

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship LHA-4 USS Nassau

USS Nassau (LHA 4)

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship LHA-5 USS Peleliu

USS Peleliu (LHA 5)

 

 

 

 

detail images:

 

 

Tarawa class LHA superstructure island

USS Nassau (LHA 4) - superstructure

 

Tarawa class LHA stern gate well deck LCU

USS Nassau (LHA-4) - with opened stern gate and well deck flooded

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan flight operations

USS Saipan (LHA 2) - flight operations with well deck flooded

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan stern view well deck landing craft

USS Saipan (LHA 2) - well deck operations

 

Tarawa class LHA Nassau LCAC well deck

a LCAC approaches the well deck of USS Nassau (LHA 4)

 

Tarawa class LHA Peleliu LCAC well deck

a LCAC approaches the well deck of USS Peleliu (LHA 5)

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship well deck LCAC

a landing craft air-cushion (LCAC) in the well deck

 

Tarawa class LHA LCU well deck

landing craft utility (LCU-1633) approaches the well deck of USS Tarawa (LHA 1)

 

Tarawa class LHA-2 USS Saipan well deck LCU-1660

LCU-1660 inside the well deck of USS Saipan (LHA 2)

 

Tarawa class LHA-5 USS Peleliu well deck LCU-1635

LCU-1635 on the stern ramp of USS Peleliu (LHA 5)

 

Tarawa class LHA-2 USS Saipan well deck LCU

LCU-1660 in the well deck of USS Saipan (LHA 2)

 

Tarawa class LHA landing craft well deck USS Nassau

various landing craft inside the well deck of USS Nassau (LHA 4)

 

Tarawa class LHA amphibious assault vehicle AAV approaches the well deck of USS Peleliu LHA-5

an Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) approaches the well deck of USS Peleliu (LHA 5)

 

Tarawa class LHA amphibious assault vehicle AAV well deck USS Peleliu

an Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) approaches the well deck of USS Peleliu (LHA 5)

 

Tarawa class LHA hangar deck

USS Peleliu (LHA 5) - hangar deck

 

USS Nassau LHA-4 combat information center CIC Tarawa class

Combat Information Center (CIC) - USS Nassau (LHA 4)

 

Tarawa class amphibious assault ship LHA combat information center cic

Combat Information Center (CIC) - USS Nassau (LHA 4)

 

Tarawa class LHA combat information center cic

Combat Information Center (CIC) - USS Nassau (LHA 4)

 

combat information center cic tarawa class amphibious assault ship lha

Combat Information Center (CIC) - USS Nassau (LHA 4)

 

 

 

 

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