The technical changes of LDHs add versatility to the ship's operation. The deck can now load the AV-8B Harrier jump jet (cited Military) and LCAC hovercraft in a specialized section to house it. But it can operate a wide range of helicopters as needed.
Another aspect is that it has a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) of 2,000 Marines onboard to fight anytime. They use helicopters, LCAC, and Harrier jets in joint missions for complete maritime military missions. Coordinating Marine Corps missions are sophisticated communications, command and control capabilities afloat, including electronic systems and defensive weaponry in the package, reported Fas Org.
The ship might replace aircraft carriers
Its length of a WASP class is 844 feet long with a beam of 106 feet, only second to an aircraft carrier in size. It is powered by dual steam propulsion plants that are the largest installed, with 70,000 shaft horsepower for each driveshaft.
It features a decent 20 knots in speed, should the two steam boilers convert the energy to electricity, it can energize a city of 160,000 people. The electrical power for the ship's systems is 16,000 kilowatts in total.
LHD-1 Wasp-class can carry about 450,000 gallons of fuel for aircraft and other vehicles during deployments. It provides about 200,000 gallons of freshwater each day via distilling stations for personnel. A total passenger capacity of 3,000 troops and ship crew are onboard per voyage. It can even provide 600 beds for patients while at sea for self-contained community at sea.
The Marine Expeditionary Unit concept
Capable of supporting maritime combat at sea for more extended periods, housing the Marine Landing Force can assault via air and amphibious vehicles, noted Navy Mil. Marines will be supported by helicopters, Harrier II (AV-8B), Jump Jets, hovercraft (air-cushion landing craft), and a mix of conventional landing craft and light attack vehicles (LAVS). The well deck is used for launch and recovery ops from the landing beach.
LHDs are an alternative for the command and control and aircraft facilities for sea control missions with an aircraft carrier battle group. The navy needs this ships' amphibious operations capability that an aircraft carrier cannot achieve because of its purpose.
They are basically mobile maritime launch bases on the water and support platforms for mobility of the Marine Corp and providing various supplies necessary to support the amphibious assault mission for long-term and short term. Recent naval tactics emphasize the versatility of the amphibious ships that are even adopted by other naval forces.
Already these ships have been deployed as alternatives to supercarriers because they carry enough forces and defensive armament on their deployment missions. The f-35 has been seen operating on the LHD-1 Wasp-class with updated landing decks to accommodate them.
To a certain degree, others see more of the amphibious ships added to the navy as alternatives to larger aircraft carriers at 800 feet-plus compared to almost 1000 feet long.
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