- Wasp Class Page
SPECIFICATIONS PHOTOGRAPHS (Click on the pictures for an enlarged photo)

Designation: LHD
Length: 844 ft
Width: 200 ft
Beam: 106 ft
Displacement: 40,500 tons
Propulsion: 2 GE LM 2500+ gas turbines, 2 shafts
Speed: 24 knots
Crew: 1,000
Troops: 2,000
Airwing: 40 rotary, vstol
- 2 × RAM launchers (42 missiles)
- 2 × NATO ESSM launchers (16 missiles)
- 2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
- 3 × 25 mm Mk 38 cannons
- 4 × 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns
Elevators: 2
Ships in class: 8
LHD-1 USS Wasp
LHD-2 USS Essex
LHD-3 USS Kearsarge
LHD-4 USS Boxer
LHD-5 USS Bataan
LHD-6 USS Bonhomme Richard
LHD-7 USS Iwo Jima
LHD-8 Makin Ilsand
The Wasp Class LHDs are the largest amphibious assault vessels ever built. Displacing over 40,000 tons when fully loaded, the vessels are larger than most other nations aircraft carriers, which they closely resemble. These amphibious warships are uniquely designed to support assault from the sea against defended positions ashore. The 844-foot ship carries a crew of approximately 1,000 Sailors and 1,900 Marines. Aircraft carried by this class of ship include a mix of Marine Corps helicopters and attack aircraft.

The United States maintains the largest and most capable amphibious force in the world, and the Wasp-class ships are built to be multi-functional, and adding to the experience gained from the predecessor Tarawa class, the Wasps can serve in either the amphibious assault, or sea control mode, adding significantly to America's ability to project power and defend freedom across the globe.

Capable of embarking 1,900 US Marines and all of the equipment to support them, the Wasp class also carries all of the equipement necessary to provide either air (via helicopter and V-22 Osprey aircraft) or sea assault (via well-docked air cushion or landing craft) on the objectives of those marines, while giving them the logistical, command and control, close-air support (through its embarked wing of VSTOL fighter bombers), and the hospital support they require while doing so.

In the Sea control role, the Wasp class can embark an air wing made up of Harriers, or the future, very capable Joint Strike fighter, for fleet defense or offense, and the numnerous ASW helicopters for defending against and prosecuting sub surface threats.

Originally intended to be a class of six, with the decommissioning of the Iwo Jima class which were the first ships built to be dedicated large-deck Amphibious assault vessels, the Wasp class has been expaned to eight vessels, the eighth of which was christened in 2006.

That vessel, the Makin Ilsand, provides a transformational bridge into the future development of the LHA(R) vessels, and replaced one of the Tarawa class when she was commissioned in October of 2009. She is the first Wasp vessel to have Gas turbine engines and an all electric drive like the LHA(R) vessels will have. In addition, she will use a fiber optic network for machinary control, intergrated into her damage control system, the more capable SPQ-9B radar and the US Navy's Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC).

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Last Page Update : 6-JUN-2012
Jeff Head is an engineering consultant with many years experience in the power, defense, and computer industries. He currently works for the federal government helping maintain and protect regional infrastructure. He is a member of the U.S. Naval Institute, and is also the author of a self-published and best-selling series of military techno-thrillers called the Dragon's Fury that projects a fictional third world war arising out of current events. You can learn more about that series by clicking on the pictures of the novel covers below:


Copyright © 2005-2012 by Jeff Head


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