AMERICA CLASS

USS America (LHA-6), amphibious assault ship, navy,
131109-N-ZZ999-330 PASCAGOULA, Miss. (Nov. 9, 2013) - Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) America (LHA 6) returns to Huntington Ingalls Shipyard Nov. 9 after completing Builder's Sea Trials. During the trials, the ship's main propulsion, communications, steering, navigational and radar systems were tested for the first time at sea. America will be the first ship of its class, replacing the Tarawa class of amphibious assault ships. As the next generation "big-deck" amphibious ship, America will be optimized
 for aviation, capable of supporting current and future aircraft such as the tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey and Joint Strike Fighter. The ship will provide flexible, multi-mission capabilities spanning from forward deployed crisis
 response to maritime security operations. The ship was christened on Oct. 20, 2012 and is currently undergoing construction in Pascagoula, Miss. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Lawrence Grove/Released)

America class (formerly the LHA(R) class) is a ship class of landing helicopter assault (LHA) type amphibious assault ships of the United States Navy (USN).

America class is designed to put ashore a Marine Expeditionary Unit using helicopters and MV-22B Osprey V/STOL transport aircraft, supported by AV-8B Harrier II or F-35 Lightning II V/STOL aircraft and various attack helicopters.

The first of these warships was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 2014.

The design of the America class is based on that of USS Makin Island, the last ship of the Wasp class, but the “Flight 0” ships of the America class will not have well decks, and they have smaller on-board hospitals in order to give more space for aviation uses.

Although they only carry helicopters and V/STOL aircraft, USS America, with a displacement of about 45,000 long tons (46,000 t), is similar in size to the French Charles de Gaulle and the Indian Vikramaditya fixed-wing aircraft carriers. Also, while more than 124 feet (38 m) shorter, they are of comparable displacement to the former US Navy Midway-class aircraft carriers.

USS America can be used as a small aircraft carrier with a squadron of jet fighters plus several multipurpose helicopters, such as the MH-60 Seahawk.

America class can carry about 20 to 25 AV-8B, F-35Bs, or a mixture of the two, but the future ships of this class, starting with USS Bougainville (LHA-8), will have smaller aircraft hangars to leave room for larger amphibious warfare well decks.