LHA-1 Tarawa class Propulsion
The propulsion plant of the LHA is required to drive the ship at a sustained speed over 20 knots for several thousand miles and enable the ship to remain underway, if necessary, for several months at a time.
The main engines of the propulsion plant are two steam turbines that each turn two propeller shafts. Steam to power the turbines is provided by burning distillate fuel in two boilers which change water to high-pressure steam which is then carried through pipes to the twin turbines which produce a total of 70,000 shaft horsepower.
During an amphibious operation the LHA may require slow speed maneuverability to permit the launching and recovery of landing craft from the docking well. Precise maneuverability is provided for this situation by an 800-horsepower bow thruster, a motor-driven propeller mounted in an open tunnel that runs from side to side through the bow of the ship.
All of the machinery is highly automated in an effort to reduce personnel and improve efficiency. There are central control consoles to permit technicians in central positions to operate and monitor machinery in a number of spaces. A high degree of safety is maintained by a comprehensive fault detection and warning system with fail/safe features to insure that variations from normal operating conditions are immediately detected. The LHA probably has the smallest Engineering Department ever required for a ship of its size.
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