Wasp class Amphibious Assault Ship - LHD



Wasp class amphibious assault ship LHD-3 USS Kearsarge





USS WASP (LHD-1) is the lead ship of an all-new class of multipurpose amphibious assault ships built by the Ingalls Shipbuilding division of Litton in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The Navy-Marine Corps team's newest amphibious warship has as its primary mission the support of a Marine Landing Force. USS WASP and her sister ships are the first specifically designed to accommodate new Landing Craft, Air Cushion for fast troop movement over the beach and AV-8B Harrier II Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing (VSTOL) jets which provide close-in air support for the assault force. LHD-1, which is 844 feet long with a beam of 106 feet, also accommodates the full range of Navy and Marine Corps helicopters, conventional landing craft, and amphibious vehicles.

To carry out its primary mission, USS WASP has an assault support system that synchronizes the simultaneous horizontal and vertical flow of troops, cargo and vehicles throughout the ship. Two aircraft elevators service the hangar bay and flight deck. Six cargo elevators, each 12 by 25 feet, are used to transport material and supplies from the 100,000 cubic foot cargo holds throughout the ship to staging areas on the flight deck, hangar bay and vehicle storage area. Cargo is transferred to waiting landing craft docked within the ship's 13,000 square foot, 266 foot long, well deck. Helicopters in the hangar bay or on the flight deck are cargo-loaded by forklift.

LHD-1 has medical and dental facilities capable of providing intensive medical assistance to 600 casualties, whether combat incurred or brought aboard ship during humanitarian missions. The corpsmen also provide routine medical/dental care to the crew and embarked personnel. Major medical facilities include four main and two emergency operating rooms, four dental operating rooms, x-ray rooms, a blood bank, laboratories, and patient wards. In addition, three battle dressing stations are located throughout the ship, as well as a casualty collecting area at the flight deck level. Medical elevators rapidly transfer casualties from the flight deck and hangar bay to the medical facilities.

For the comfort of the 1,075 crewmembers and 1,600 embarked troops, all manned spaces and berthing areas are individually heated and air conditioned. Crew and troop berthing are on the same deck level, with galleys and mess facilities nearby. Berthing areas are subdivided to provide semi-private spaces without adversely affecting efficiency. Deck and wall coverings are decorative but also serviceable and easy to maintain. Messing areas facilitate rapid feeding in a restaurant atmosphere. Onboard recreational facilities include a state-of-the-art Library Multi-Media Resource Center with Internet access, a weight room, arcade machines and satellite television capabilities.

USS WASP's two steam propulsion plants - the largest currently in operation in the U.S. Navy - generate a total of 400 tons of steam per hour. The propulsion system develops 70,000 shaft horsepower, powering the ship to speeds in excess of 22 knots. USS Wasp was built using more than 21,000 tons of steel, 400 tons of aluminum, 400 miles of electrical/electronic cables, 80 miles of piping and tubing of various types and sizes, and 10 miles of ventilation ducting. WASP weighed more than 27,000 tons when moved onto the Ingalls floating dry-dock on July 30, 1987 for launch on August 4, 1987, becoming the largest man-made object rolled across land.


USS MAKIN ISLAND (LHD 8) will be the last LHD built in the WASP class but will be the only one powered by LM 2500+ Gas Turbine Engines and Electric Drive. Additionally, MAKIN ISLAND is the only LHD to feature an all electric design - no steam is used onboard MAKIN ISLAND. As the final member of the WASP class LHD's, MAKIN ISLAND is transforming the U.S. Navy Amphibious Forces and setting the stage for the under-development successor to the Wasp class, the LHA(R) class of Amphibious Landing Ships (see America class LHA)




Wasp is composed of many Departments.  The following are brief outlines of each department and their responsibilities

The mission of the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department is to provide intermediate level maintenance, inspect, test, check, calibrate, lubricate and provide component repair to aircraft and support equipment, enhancing the effectiveness of embarked surface and aviation units.  AIMD has the capability to test, repair, service and manufacture a large variety of aircraft and non-aircraft components.  The level of this capability ranges from the small, delicate work performed by micro miniature repair technician to complex work performed by jet engine mechanics.  In short, AIMDs four divisions are committed to unparalleled support, ensuring Wasp lives up to its reputation as the world's greatest warship. 

The Air Department is responsible for the execution of flight operations that support Wasp's primary mission of landing elements of a Marine landing force in amphibious assault operations and is comprised mostly of Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels) and Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handler) personnel.

Combat Cargo is responsible for the preparation of operation orders, plans, directives, and correspondence in matters pertaining to the embarkation, loading, stowage, unloading, and debarkation of personnel, supplies, equipment and LFORM/cargo from ships under the control of the strike group commander.

The Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Combat and Information department is responsible for the operation and maintenance of command, control and communications systems, sensors, weapons and ship systems in support of amphibious and sea control missions. In essence, the C5I Department is responsible for ensuring the ship can fight and defend itself when called upon to do so.

The mission of the Chaplain Department is to provide and facilitate worship services, bible studies and religious education for Sailors of all faith groups.  The Department also provides pastoral counseling to Sailors, visits Sailors in the workspaces throughout the ship and operates the library and multimedia resource center for Sailors and Marines.

Hard working, dedicated, motivated.  The department is divided into three divisions and is led by the First Lieutenant and the Ship’s Bos’n.  Deck always takes pride in its work. Major evolutions include manning stations during underway replenishment and connected replenishment, well-deck operations featuring Landing Craft Air Cushions, Landing Craft Units, small boat operations as well as playing an important role in mooring and anchoring the ship.  Deck Department personnel report to quarters every morning knowing that “it’s a great day to be in deck.”

The Dental Department provides primary dental care and emergency capabilities to the ships crew and embarked troops. Consisting of three treatment rooms, LHD-1 has the most extensive dental support capability of any combatant in the world.

The Engineering Department is composed of the Damage Controlmen, Electrician's Mates, Engineman, Hull Maintenance Technicians, Machinery Repairmen and Machinist Mates. Engineering is responsible for the ship's propulsion plant as well as providing water for the crew and embarked Marines. Engineering also produces all the ship's electricity, maintains and operates the air conditioning and refrigeration plants, and maintains the ship's laundry facilities and galley equipment. Engineering is also responsible for firefighting and damage control efforts on board Wasp.

The Executive Department is responsible for providing administrative support, legal assistance, security, personnel and career counseling services.

With six operating rooms, state-of-the-art digital X-ray capabilities, fully functional laboratory, blood bank, 14-bed intensive care unit, 46-bed patient care ward, four battle dressing stations and the best trained medical staff in the fleet, the Medical Department is ready to support any mission Wasp undertakes.  Medical maintains a high level of readiness through continual training of medical personnel in their respective areas of expertise, and the training of ship’s company in basic first aid and life-saving techniques.  LHD-1 has the most extensive medical support capability of any combatant in the world.

Quartermasters are responsible for safely navigating the ship.  They are involved in all aspects of voyage planning and advise the commodore, his staff, and the commanding officer in matters relating from open ocean transits to harbor piloting.   The Quartermaster of the Watch stands watch on the bridge and meticulously ascertains the ship’s position using Global Positioning System, radar, celestial, and visual navigation aids.  They are the primary assistant to the Officer of the Deck on all matters related to safely navigating the ship.

Operations Department is the purpose of Wasp.  Any mission that Wasp undertakes is organized and planned out by the Operations Department.  Air Traffic Control, Combat Information Center, Joint Intelligence Center, Cryptological Information and Meteorology as well as Public Affairs, shipboard television programming and photographic and print shop services are all part of each and every mission performed by Wasp and provided by the Operations Department.

The Safety Department is dedicated to the premise that although Sailors operate in an inherently dangerous environment, they can eliminate or reduce the hazards associated with their work by following established guidelines and safety precautions and ensuring all hands are properly trained.  Safety also coordinates interdepartmental safety education, training and General Military Training through the Shipboard Information Training and Entertainment System.

The mission of Supply Department is to provide the ship with the tools and parts necessary to complete any mission.  This equipment includes food, fuel, office supplies, repair equipment and many other necessities.  Supply Department is the 'oil' that keeps the 'gears' turning on board Wasp.

The Training Department strives to enable Sailors to properly manage, coordinate and monitor professional and personal training in order to increase the overall readiness of Wasp.  This is accomplished by ensuring all schools, Personnel Qualification Standard, GMT and command indoctrination requirements are scheduled, completed and documented.  Additionally, Training provides counseling and sound advice to assist Sailors in earning or working toward a college degree while ashore or deployed through the Navy College Program for Afloat College Education and the use of a video teletraining  system.




some interesting facts:

Number of compartments: 1,426
Number of Anchors: 2 standard Navy stockless
Weight of each anchor: 40,000 lbs
Length of each anchor chain: 1,170 Feet (356 meters)
Weight of each anchor chain link:155 lbs
Gallons of water made each day: 200,000
Cargo storage space: 100,000 Cubic Feet
Vehicle storage space: 22,000 Square Feet
Well deck: 13,000 Square Feet
Number of Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC): 3
Number of Landing Craft Utility (LCU): 2
Number of meals served each day: 7,620
Sodas consumed each day: 1,920
Number of eggs consumed each day: 770 fresh - 300 lbs frozen
Fresh vegetables consumed each day: 125 lbs
Fresh fruit consumed each day: 370 lbs
Meat consumed each day: 2,200 lbs







in service


LHD 1 USS Wasp




LHD 2 USS Essex




LHD 3 USS Kearsarge




LHD 4 USS Boxer




LHD 5 USS Bataan




LHD 6 USS Bonhomme Richard




LHD 7 USS Iwo Jima




LHD 8 USS Makin Island




all 8 units were built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems - Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi / (now Huntington Ingalls Industries)







LHD 1-4: 40650 tons (41302 metric tons) full load

LHD 5-7: 40358 tons (41006 metric tons) full load

LHD 8: 41772 tons (42442 metric tons) full load



844 feet / 257,20 meters



106 feet / 32,30 meters



27 feet / 8,20 meters



from mast to waterline: 185 feet, 8 inches (56,60 meters)

from flightdeck to waterline: 64 feet (19,50 meters)


Max Speed:

24+ knots / approx. 44+ km/h



LHD 1-7: 2 boilers (600 psi); 2 geared steam turbines; approx. 70000 bhp;

LHD 8: 2 Gas Turbines; 2 shafts; 2 propellers; 70000 shp, 2 5000 hp auxilary propulsion motors;

LHD 1-8: 2 shafts; 2 propellers - 5 blades, 16 feet (4,88 meters) diameter; 2 rudders



full flight deck - 80000 square feet / 2 elevators / up to 42 aircraft (mix depends upon mission):

AV-8B Harrier

AH-1W Super Cobra

CH-46 Sea Knight

CH-53 Sea Stallion

UH-1N Huey

MV-22B Osprey


Landing crafts:

3 LCAC or

2 LCU or

40 AAV Amphibious Assault Vehicles (normal) or 61 AAV (stowed)



2 Mk-49 launchers for RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) (2 x 21 missiles + reload)

2 Mk-29 launchers for RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missiles (2 x 8 missiles + reload)

3 Mk-15 Phalanx Close-In-Weapon-Systems (CIWS) (2 on LHD 5-8)

4 Mk-38 25-mm machine gun systems (3 on LHD 5-8)

4 .50 cal. Machine Guns



AN/SLQ-49 Chaff Bouys
AN/SLQ-25 NIXIE Towed Torpedo Countermeasures
AN/SLQ-32(V)3 Electronic Warfare (EW) system
1 AN/SPS-48 radar
1 AN/SPS-49(V)7 radar
1 AN/SPS-64 radar
1 AN/SPS-67 radar
AN/SYS-2 Detection/Tracking System
1 MK-23 Target Acquisition System (TAS)
1 MK-36 Chaff Launcher
MK-91 Fire control system



ship's company: 66 officers, 1004 crew (LHD 8 = 65 / 994)

Marine detachment: 1687 (+ 184 surge)




Armament (defensive):



Wasp class amphibious assault ship LHD armament CIWS Sea Sparrow Rolling Airframe Missile RAM


Wasp class LHD amphibious assault ship armament


Wasp class LHD armament Sea Sparrow rolling airframe missile RAM CIWS launcher





class images:



Wasp class amphibious assault ship LHD-5 USS Bataan Ingalls shipbuilding


Wasp class LHD amphibious assault ship multi purpose Ingalls shipbuilding Pascagoula MS


Wasp class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge LHD-3


Wasp class amphibious assault ship LHD-4 USS Boxer


Wasp class amphibious assault ship LHD-2 USS Essex Northrop Grumman Ingalls NGSS


Wasp class amphibious assault ship LHD-4 USS Boxer



Wasp class LHD amphibious assault ship multi purpose Northrop Grumman Ingalls NGSS


Wasp class amphibious assault ship LHD-2 USS Essex


Wasp class amphibious assault ship LHD-2 USS Essex


Wasp class amphibious assault ship multi purpose LHD-7 USS Iwo Jima


Wasp class LHD-7 USS Iwo Jima Ingalls shipbuilding


Wasp class amphibious assault ship LHD-3 USS Kearsarge


Wasp class LHD-3 USS Kearsarge


Wasp class LHD-4 USS Boxer Northrop Grumman Ingalls shipbuilding Pascagoula Mississippi


Wasp class LHD-7 USS Iwo Jima


Wasp class LHD USS Kearsarge


Wasp class USS Bataan LHD-5


Wasp class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan LHD-5


Wasp class USS Essex LHD-2


Wasp class LHD-2 USS Essex NGSS Ingalls Litton



Wasp class amphibious assault ship USS Essex LHD-2


Wasp class LHD-2 USS Essex


Wasp class USS Iwo Jima LHD-7 well deck


Wasp class LHD amphibious assault ship well deck


Wasp class USS Boxer LHD-4


Wasp class amphibious assault ship multi purpose Northrop Grumman ship systems NGSS Ingalls





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