LHA-1 Tarawa class Weapons
The LHA normally will operate in combat areas as part of an amphibious task group, supported by escort ships to provide anti-air and anti-submarine defense. However, the LHA is provided with a terminal defense capability to intercept any enemy aircraft or anti-ship missiles that may penetrate area defenses.
These terminal defenses consist primarily of three 5-inch guns and two launchers for the Sea Sparrow guided missile. The 5-inch gun mounts, at three corners of the flight deck, can fire against either air or surface targets. They have automatic control, meaning that no men are required within the gun mount and one man at a remote console can aim and fire the gun at a moment's notice. For sustained firing four additional men serve as ammunition loaders. The guns can be aimed by radar or optical systems. The two missile launchers are mounted at the forward end of the island structure and at the stern of the LHA. These eight-cell launchers fire the Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missile, a radar-guided weapon with a range of more than five miles.
A very close-in defense also is provided by six 20-mm guns mounted on the walkways alongside the flight deck.
These weapons, coupled with the ship's electronic warfare capability and the use of chaff rockets that can be launched to provide false targets for enemy missiles, provide the LHA with a viable terminal defense capability.
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