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LHD 8 to Begin Transformation of 'Big Deck' Amphibious Force

NAVSEA News Wire

Release Date: 12 May 2003

By Program Executive Office for Ships Public Affairs

WASHINGTON -- The Navy and Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (NGSS) Ingalls Operations in New Orleans are preparing for the start of fabrication of LHD 8, the warship that will lead the transformation of the Navy's next-generation "big deck" amphibious force. This milestone event will be heralded at a Start of Fabrication Ceremony at NGSS' shipbuilding facility in Pascagoula, Miss., on May 22.

LHD 8 will be a multi-purpose amphibious assault ship designed to transport and land a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), a force of almost 2,000 Marines, ashore by helicopter, landing craft and amphibious assault vehicle. LHD 8 will also have secondary missions of sea control and power projection by helicopter and fixed-wing vertical short take-off and landing (VSTOL) aircraft; command and control, and mission support, including a hospital with six operating rooms.

Although LHD 8 is the eighth ship of the Wasp class, it will feature noteworthy technological advances. Changes from the previous LHD design include: gas turbine main propulsion engines, all electric auxiliaries, an advanced machinery control system, water mist fire protection systems, and the Navy's most advanced command and control and combat systems equipment. The gas turbine propulsion plant, with all electric auxiliaries, is a program first for large deck amphibious assault ships and will provide significant savings in manpower and maintenance costs associated with traditional steam-powered amphibious ships.

Delivery of LHD 8 is planned for May 2007.

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