The US Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Tripoli, the newest aircraft focussed America class amphibious assault ship, from Huntington Ingalls Industries.

Amphibious assault ships project power and maintain presence by serving as the cornerstone of the amphibious ready group or expeditionary strike group. These ships transport elements of a US Marine expeditionary unit or expeditionary brigade with a combination of aircraft and landing craft.

Unlike vessels to be built after her, the Tripoli and her sister America have been designed with the well deck removed to allow more room for aircraft and aviation fuel. Many have likened these vessels to ‘light carriers’ or ‘Mini F-35 carriers’.

The removal of the well deck for landing craft allows for an extended hangar deck with two significantly wider high bay areas, each fitted with an overhead crane for aircraft maintenance.

Optimised for aviation capability, Tripoli will enhance US Marine Corps aviation with an enlarged hangar deck, greater maintenance capability, and JP-5 fuel capacity.

“On behalf of the entire team, I am grateful to take delivery of this versatile warfighting asset,” said Tom Rivers, amphibious warfare program manager for Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships.

“The Navy and industry team has worked persistently to deliver this platform, ready to integrate the Marine Corps air combat element, including the Joint Strike Fighter, to our combatant commanders.”

Image result for uss tripoli

LHA 7 incorporates the fuel efficient gas turbine propulsion plant, zonal electrical distribution, and electric auxiliary systems first installed on USS Makin Island, say the builders.

“LHA 7 will be 844 feet in length, will have a displacement of approximately 44,971 long tons, and is capable of operating at speeds of over 20 knots.”

With Tripoli delivered, the ship will focus on moving crew aboard and preparing for commissioning and sailaway later this year.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
53 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
expat
expat
6 months ago

Only the US can call these mini carriers lol. For every other nation they’re full blown carriers.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 months ago
Reply to  expat

Yeh, looking at Wikipedia USS Tripoli is a couple of thousand tons heavier than the Charles de Gaule! Interesting development for the USMC / USN.

Rob
Rob
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

You’d think they would add a ski ramp to increase weapon load if this is an F35B carrier. We could maybe do a deal to pass on some of the QE class tech.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Given that there is a Ski-jump already installed in the US to test the F-35b for UK operational doctrine I suspect the US already have all of the necessary technical capability. The only thing that appears to be stopping the deployment of smaller carriers in the USN is the political risks associated with the effective deployment of smaller, cheaper vessels. Why do you need big nuclear powered aircraft carriers, when you can use smaller cheaper ones? Not an easy question to answer, despite all of the historical support for big ships, because to be fair past performance is no guarantee… Read more »

Helions
Helions
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I think a lot of eyes are looking at the viability of CVNs right now, both within and without the USN. It’s interesting that the latest testimony by the acting U.S. Navy Secretary is fairly noncommittal about the procurement of more GRF class beyond the 2 ordered under the multi hull buy (Enterprise and Miller). I posted this link in another discussion but reading into it, I stand by my opinion that we may never do a one for one replacement buy of the GRFs.

https://news.usni.org/2020/02/28/secnav-modly-says-nation-needs-larger-distributed-fleet-of-390-hulls

Cheers!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 months ago
Reply to  Helions

Hi Helions, An interesting article, thanks. Two things jump out at me. Firstly, Modly’s final statement that he is not concerned about the survivability of CVN’s in battle, rather that they may not survive fiscally, “we can only afford so many of these.” To me that suggests a different force mix, don’t give up on big ships they are more survivable and pack a huge punch, but support them with smaller vessels that can operate differently and allow greater dispersion of forces. The other thing that struck me was the suggestion of a move towards smaller vessels, which I took… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

You’ve posted some thought provoking stuff on this thread CR (over a couple of posts…. so far… thank you). I think the ‘fashion’ is for the larger platforms and I totally get the logic for that, especially if we can ‘lean man’ them due to advances. The UK is trying the 31’s as a different approach, still going with as much ‘general purpose’ as they can, we can’t really specialise on these cheaper platforms as we don’t have the numbers but the US might. Its just a pity that we can’t do more ‘multi buy deals’ with other countries, for… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Hi Andy, ‘Pimp’ made me smile, but sums it up perfactly 🙂 Everyone wants to go their own way for two basic reasons. The first is political in nature, namely, maintaining their own defence industries for high tech jobs but also it is seen as contributing to maintaining national independence. Then there are often operational differences. There was an article on here about the Italian Navy being bigger then and Royal Navy (allegedly). The article explained the misconceptions around the relative capabilities by highlighting that the Italian Navy is very Mediterean focus, able to deploy out of threat from time… Read more »

Helions
Helions
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Excellent points CR! We did much the same with our wartime destroyer force with the FRAMM I and II modernization programs during the 60s. I’m looking forward to the USN’s decision on the FFGX – It’s been pulled forward and is expected in the next couple months. If you can get 2/3s of the capability of an AB for half the price. It’s a no brainer IMHO to max the numbers out there and cut back on DDGs.

Cheers

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 months ago
Reply to  Helions

Hi Helions, I used to have 3 books that cover the main equipment of the worlds armed forces as a kid. One for each branch, with a brief of the main powers. There were loads of pictures and lots of detailed notes on the equipments and the FRAMM ships figured in many navies back in the 70’s. I always thought they looked really cool. The difference between the RN destroyers and USN destroyers perfectly reflecting the difference in operational requirements. Big ships for the Pacific with plenty of AA guns and smaller number numerous ASW focused ships for the Battle… Read more »

Helions
Helions
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

It was a big program and some of the vessels operated in foreign navies until fairly recently. There was a lot of emphasis on ASW as well after WWII as the threats changed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gearing_class_destroyer

Cheers!

spyintheskyuk
spyintheskyuk
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Just read the other day that the US Navy added around a thousand sailors to their battleships going to the Pacific later war, just for anti Aircraft duties against Kamikazes. You can see why thy might have a big ship mentality when the Pacific is your playground rather than the Atlantic.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 months ago
Reply to  spyintheskyuk

Yeh, the USN managed to adapt remarkedly quickly. Churchill was entirely justified to put his faith in the New World. Remarkable national achievement for the USA. HMS Nelson and Rodney spent quite a bit of time escorting Malta convoys and one of them came back from a refit in the US with dozens of extra AA guns. I have seen a picture somewhere of the superstructure and the quarterdeck and it was like looking at a forest there were so many barrels sticking up! Bearing in mind that most Navies didn’t think aircraft could sink a moving Battleship before the… Read more »

Sean
Sean
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I believe any aircraft attacking the refitted Nelson class battleships would be looking down 148 barrels in total!!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Hi Sean,

148!!! Seriously! They weren’t even that big as WW2 battleships went. I bet a few fillings fell out when that lot opened up!

Like I said Malta conveys. The RN took some very heavy losses fighting that battle alone and mostly to air power. Also both Nelson and Rodney were earmarked for D-Day and I bet the during 1943 planning the allies expected a far more powerful Luftwaffe response than actually materialised.

Sean
Sean
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Yes 148, when you count up all the double and four barrel units that were shoe-horned aboard the Rodney after its refit Stateside after it’s demolition of the Bismarck. Fillings probably already at risk when she fired all 9 of her 16” guns together: which happened at least once against the Bismarck. Certainly it could cause concussion if you were still in the areas beneath the guns that were meant to be evacuated during combat. As Treaty battleships they weren’t the biggest but they were cleverly designed and packed the biggest punch in the RN. It’s a shame that neither… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Hi Sean, I read that Rodney split a number of seams under the weight of her broadsides. The process has a technical name that I cannot remember, but it was not uncommon for rivetted battleships. One of the resulting leaks was quite severe and the crew ended up making welded repairs that were never replaced by a dockyard. I understand they opened up again later in the war. Also, Battleships could do a lot of damage to themselves when firing across the decks or on extreme bearings e.g. X and Y turrets firing on forward bearings – would not want… Read more »

Sean
Sean
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

When Rodney fires broadsides it apparently broke every plate, glass, etc for decks. Originally it also used to blow out all the bridge windows until they fitted blast deflectors. Perhaps one of the most amazing things about the Bismarck incident was that she was clapped out and heading for a refit when Hood was sunk. She pulled a u turn and sped back across the Atlantic exceeding her original design speed and correctly guessing – unlike KGV – Bismarck’s direction. I’d choose Rodney to preserve partly because of sinking the Bismarck, but also because her design best illustrates the sheer… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

@CR – The “move towards smaller vessels” isn’t just escorts, the USMC Commandant made a similar statement wrt the large amphib vessels. I’d also hesitate to say its “a move” as that implies moving away entirely from larger vessels and I doubt that is the USN plan, at least in the short to medium term. It is simply a recognition of the increasing threat to large vessels, that hasn’t existed before in recent times, and the desire to spread the risk, in part by developing larger numbers of smaller ships, capable of performing similar roles. Indeed in the SECDEF’s letter… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 months ago

Hi Glass Half Full, I take it your an optimist 🙂 I am aware of the ballistic missile threat and I agree it is potentially very significant. Making ships smaller and stealthier, plus lots of other counter measures will help is certainly part of the mix. However, a mixed fleet will also allow the carrying of bigger SAM’s capable of engaging ballistic missiles earlier and of course it will be necessary to get the radars as high as possible to give the earliest possible warning. Some may argue that a smaller radar picket ship deployed at distance would provide early… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Hi CR. Actually chose the screen name because of the constant negativity about UK defence, here and elsewhere. Off topic, but you kinda asked about my optimism 🙂 Fact is the UK cannot entirely dig itself out overnight from 2 decades of peace dividend under-spending, followed by a decade of Great Recession recovery, while in parallel carrying the costs of fighting in Iraq/Afghanistan. Constant discussion about ~2% of GDP spending limits is IMO irrelevant and frankly boring. Shifting CASD spend elsewhere doesn’t mean Defence gets to still keep the same budget, it would reduce commensurately because NATO would still capture… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 months ago

Hi Glass Half Full, Sorry for the slow response wanted to think about what you wrote – nice reason for the screen name by the way. Firstly, nice summary of woes that have hit defence spending over the last 30 years, when listed like it is hardly surprising that we are where we are… As for being wedded to past ways of doing things, as an engineer and former researcher I’d tend to agree, but I caution about ignoring the lessons of the past – history repeats because we forget or ignore. Fortunately the RN has not forgotten the lessons… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Hi CR. Funny that you mentioned learning lessons. Just the other day I was thinking that a good guiding principle should be to retain all the lessons on what went wrong in the Falklands (and elsewhere), but question very hard whether what went right is still relevant in a rapidly changing combat environment. Partly because there are very different weapon capabilities today, partly because others can learn lessons too. Early on in my career someone berated me for assuming a situation, I hadn’t, but the lesson stuck nonetheless. Interesting experience. Agree with your points in that paragraph. Continuing spec. creep… Read more »

Andy
Andy
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

The LCS program was a classic example of congress pork barrel politics. The USN never wanted them but Congress kept voting funds for them , end result 27 LCS that have no definable purpose, virtually non existent fighting ability and have never been deployed but cost $30 billion to build and maintain so 4 congressional members kept there seats . Like wise with the nuclear carriers the navy by law are committed to 12 but actually lack the funding meaning other parts of the fleet are suffering to maintain the numbers . The USN has several serious problems at the… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy

Hi Andy, Hmm, your points about political interference in what is in effect the operational force structure of the USN is seriously depressing even for me as a Brit. I’ll assume you are American for the moment, if that is not case then I’ll apologise now. The situation is not dissimilar in the UK in that Members of Parliament (PM’s) can lobby for defence £’s to be spent in their constituency, but they cannot veteo spending plans or force any Government Department into certain projects that benefit their constituency. Only the Cabinet can make those detailed decisions. Parliment does vote… Read more »

Andy
Andy
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

How department spending is decided in USA government is a very convoluted process. The President asks for X , congress proposes Y the senate says Z and then Congress person A adds a rider to the proposed bill saying 5 billion must be spent on flying turkeys ,Congress person B seconds it and then the rest of Congress agree and the senate approved the bill and the president signs it into law . Hence you get a class of warships built that the navy never wanted , Abraham tanks the army dose not want and A10 warthogs still flying that… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy

Thanks for the explanation Andy.

I think I followed it.

Although I think our way of wasting money is much more efficient! 🙂

Andy
Andy
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Ah the American way is designed to spread the blame across the who swamp .
The UK way is indeed very efficient.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy

Ah being efficient at being inefficient. Only in politics!

Fun exchange mate… 🙂

Cheers CR

Sean
Sean
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy

Sadly I think NASA suffers similarly. The SLS is essentially a jobs programme to ensure that jobs weren’t lost in the congressional districts that manufactured the SRBs, fuel tanks, and engines for the Shuttle programme.
Space X and Blue Origin can meet all of NASAs launch needs.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
6 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Adding a ski ramp would probably cost two helicopter/tilt-rotor landing spots, which is probably one reason why there’s no ramp.

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
6 months ago
Reply to  Rob

My understanding of ski-jumps is that any ramp will have some benefit, the steeper it is, the more the benefit. A steep ramp will reduce the deck space available to land helicopters/ V22s, which is their primary mission but I should think that any helicopter could cope with 6deg. This would give a valuable increase in sto payload/safety, without adversely affecting deck space.

spyintheskyuk
spyintheskyuk
6 months ago

We discussed this last year didn’t we and back then I looked at those ships that had ramps mostly Italian and Australian which are much, much smaller than these large ships. Can never be definitive but if designed properly you would at most lose one heli position, the Aussies certainly didn’t seem to worry about having a ski jump they never originally planned to use despite any space concerns. Meanwhile unlike the QE Class the America/Tripoli Class persist with a Port lift which itself loses one true position. Then they have that structure in front of the island (mainly due… Read more »

Dern
Dern
6 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Putting a ski jump on it would remove some of the helicopter pads, just different priorities. At the end of the day the LHAs job is to use airpower to put troops ashore, with only a secondary role of providing fast air.

Ian
Ian
6 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Indeed. This got me pondering the merits of a ‘retractab;e’ ski ramp that could be flattened or raised depending on the mission requirements. But I suspect that would end up being as complicated as EMALS.

Dern
Dern
6 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Agreed, if you are going to go for something that big and complicated you might as well go for some for of CATOVL carrier.

spyintheskyuk
spyintheskyuk
6 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Yes some logic in that I think.

spyintheskyuk
spyintheskyuk
6 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Except that they have now decided that these ships will have to operate far farther offshore than originally planned which could certainly benefit from the extra range and bomb load each F35 can carry with a ski jump. To be honest only real time deployment will work out what the best compromise actually is as has made thinking on the Littoral ships change this past 20 years and the increasing lack of faith in them now.

Andy P
Andy P
6 months ago
Reply to  expat

According to wiki they have a crew of about a 1000, I’ll be curious to see how many aircraft they can pack in.

Helions
Helions
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Something along the lines of 20 F35 and associated rotary and tilt rotor support assets in a pinch from what I understand.

Cheers

Andy P
Andy P
6 months ago
Reply to  Helions

Aye, thanks, I had a wee neb on the Makin Island wiki page at the same time and they were saying 20 F35’s and 6 wocka wocka’s was one fit out, just wondered as this is a bit bigger if they were going to squeeze a few more in.

Helions
Helions
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

If memory serves me correctly – the America and Tripoli can max out at 23 F35Bs which is pretty much 2 squadrons of the type (at 10 each plus spares?). Don’t know about the upcoming Bougainville since it has a slightly smaller hanger deck.

Cheers

Bob Hodges
Bob Hodges
6 months ago

Those are inexcusably UGLY ships. I’m all for function, but a little form goes a long way.

The US really has beaten ALL their LHDs with the ugly stick since they invented them.

Crew size seems OTT as well.

Darren
Darren
6 months ago

So around 2.1 billion quid (2012) for a 45,000 ton ship. Around the same price for a QE without UK officialdom adding to the costs and delays.

Andy
Andy
6 months ago
Reply to  Darren

The single biggest cause to the cost of the QE class was the length of the build time due to political reasons , according to the NAO it added £800 million to the cost of the program.

Darren
Darren
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy

Yes, the extra two years which also took up UK shipbuilding capacity which spread cost over four years. The investigation in a smaller design then back to a bigger design without some items like armour etc was around 360 million, but also the earlier inflation and accounting worries led to the 2 year slow down and more cost along with catapult or ramp all around is at best 1.5 billion needless extra costs in (because of) the time of austerity. If we had just got on with the contract much of this would not have happened. I am not saying… Read more »

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
6 months ago

I don’t understand the USN’s logic in reverting to LHDs after Tripoli. If used in peer on peer action, then staying out of range of shore based ASMs means that air assault will be far more valuable than sea-effectors. If they do take part in a major assault that requires the logistical back-up of landing craft, then they would certainly be operating as part of Marine Task Force that would include vessels better equipped for the job. If you want a limited amphibious capability onboard for when operating alone in less threatening waters, a ramp to allow the new ACVs… Read more »

spyintheskyuk
spyintheskyuk
6 months ago

From what I read it is a matter of very confused strategic thinking over their gestation period. I tend to agree with you though it seems strange as I wrote it above that they will need these ships to sit far further off shore (because of the threat) which makes helicopter use far more logical than as you say seaborne delivery yet they then are reverting back to the latter for the rest of the class. I can see further changes of confused minds to come in the future. The fact that that decision to revert has led to these… Read more »

dan
dan
6 months ago

Given the smaller size of the USN they can’t afford to have a ship like this without LHD capabilities like a well deck. Fewer ships means less LSDs, LSTs, ect so they have to put the Marine’s landing craft, ect somewhere.

Edward L
Edward L
6 months ago

Horses for courses in a sense, when you see where the LHAs are currently stationed.
One as part of an ARG amphibious ready group with other troop carriers off Iran with a full aircraft carrier nearby.
The other is bouncing between North Korea and the South China Sea is loaded with-35s.

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
6 months ago
Reply to  Edward L

Exactly, and in neither case would having a well deck be advantageous.

Edward L
Edward L
6 months ago

The ship to shore function is such a big question. Their Harpers Ferry/Whidbey Island Class dock landing ships are ideal for where you can’t land tanks, troops and material at a port.
Multi role versus single purpose?