HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division has launched the America-class amphibious assault ship Bougainville (LHA 8) into the Pascagoula River.

This launch adds a new vessel to the US Navy’s fleet.

The LHA replacement programme is intended to replace the original five Tarawa-class LHAs, which have all been decommissioned.

“This launch is a significant accomplishment for our entire LHA shipbuilding team, and we are honoured to be building such a versatile ship for our Navy and Marine Corps partners,” said Gene Miller, Ingalls Shipbuilding Amphibious Ship Programme Manager. “It is also a testament to the outstanding teamwork we see every day as our shipbuilders continue the critical work of preparing Bougainville for delivery.”

The significance of Bougainville’s launch extends beyond the typical ship christening. The vessel is the first in the America class to feature a well deck, providing a unique combination of aviation capabilities and surface assault capability. HII started fabrication of the ship in 2018 and laid the keel of the USS Bougainville in March 2019.

Its larger flight deck accommodates F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and MV-22 Osprey aircraft, enhancing its operational flexibility. These large-deck amphibious assault ships have medical facilities with complete operating suites and triage capabilities.

The America-class ships are multi-functional assets designed to perform well in high-density, multi-threat environments. They integrate into expeditionary strike groups, amphibious task forces, and amphibious ready groups, further bolstering the capabilities of the US Navy.

Ingalls Shipbuilding has a history of delivering large-deck amphibious ships to the US Navy, with Bougainville marking the 15th. This journey began in 2014 with the delivery of the first America-class amphibious assault ship, LHA 6.

USS Tripoli (LHA 7) entered Navy service in early 2020. Fallujah (LHA 9) is currently under construction, with the company recently commemorating the keel authentication ceremony in September 2023.

The addition of this amphibious assault ship represents a step forward in safeguarding the nation and its interests, ensuring a presence in an ever-evolving global landscape.