USS America Powered by GE Gas Turbines
U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA6) recently complete Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico near HII’s Pascagoula, Mississippi shipyard.
LHA6 is the fourth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name America, and is the first of the Navy’s new America-class amphibious assault ships.
America was built in Pascagoula, Miss. by Ingalls as part of a $2.4 billion fixed-price incentive contract for the detailed design and construction of LHA-6. The production decision was made in January 2006 and construction of LHA-6 began in December 2008.
GE Marine was chosen to provide the ship’s hybrid mechanical-electric propulsion system consisting of two LM2500+ gas turbines and two, 5,000 horsepower auxiliary propulsion motors, which allows the ship to reach speeds in excess of 20 knots.
“The selection of the LM2500+ gas turbines offers propulsion commonality for this first-in-class ship with the U.S. Navy’s USS Makin Island LHD 8 amphibious assault ship. The LHD 8 was the first U.S. Navy ship to use this hybrid propulsion system configuration, as well as the first military application of the LM2500+ gas turbine,” said Brien Bolsinger, Vice President, Marine Operations, GE Marine, Evendale, Ohio.
According to GE Marine, the hybrid propulsion system enables the ship's propellers to be driven either by the gas turbines or by the electric motors, which are powered from the ship service electrical system. The hybrid propulsion system allows the ship to operate in a more fuel efficient mode throughout its speed range. The LM2500+ gas turbines were manufactured at GE’s Evendale, Ohio, facility.
America-class ships are 844 feet long,106 feet wide and displace 44,971 long tons, and can accommodate a crew of 1,204 (102 officers) and 1,687 troops.
The keel-laying ceremony was held on July 17, 2009 with delivery originally planned for August 2012. The ship was launched on June 4, 2012, and christened on October 20 the same year. LH6 is scheduled for delivery in spring of 2014, and will be homeported at Naval Base San Diego.
“The newest America will provide presence and power projection as an integral part of joint and multinational maritime expeditionary forces,” the Navy said. “The ship will support Marine Corps aviation requirements across a wide spectrum of operations, from small-scale contingency operations as the centerpiece of a forward-deployed expeditionary strike group, to forcible entry missions in a major theater war.”
LHA 6 also has an extended hangar deck with two higher hangar bay areas, each fitted with an overhead crane for aircraft maintenance, the Navy explained. LHA 6 offers increased aviation fuel capacity, stowage for aviation parts and support equipment and will be able to embark and launch the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, cargo and attack helicopters, the AV-8B Harrier and the short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) variant F-35B Lightning II Strike Fighter.
Photos courtesy GE Marine