USS Wasp

The US Navy has selected BAE Systems to perform maintenance and modernisation in support of the first Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding-built Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, USS Wasp (LHD 1).

Under the $110m modification contract, BAE will provide the USS Wasp fiscal 2013 drydocking planned maintenance.

The contract includes planning and execution of depot-level maintenance, alterations and modifications that will update and enhance the military and technical capabilities for the aircraft carrier.

Capable of accommodating a crew of 1,292, the 844ft-long USS Wasp has been designed to support missions such as emergency communications assistance, air traffic control and carrying aircraft and equipment.

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"The USS Wasp was the navy’s vessel of choice in responding to Hurricane Irene in 2011, as well as Super Storm Sandy in 2012."

Accommodating aircraft and amphibious vehicles, the USS Wasp was the navy’s vessel of choice in responding to Hurricane Irene in 2011, as well as Super Storm Sandy in 2012.

To provide anti-air warfare protection, the 40,500t Wasp-class ships are armed with semi-active radar-guided Nato Sea Sparrow missile systems (NSSMS), rolling airframe missile (RAM) systems, and Phalanx close-in weapon-systems (CIWS).

Additional features of the vessel include AN/SPS-67 G band primary navigation radar, AN/UPX-24 interrogator friend-or-foe (IFF), Mk23 target acquisition system (TAS) for sea-skimming missiles and AN/SPS-49(V)9 C/D band secondary air search radar.

In addition to performing amphibious operations and secondary mission roles, the Wasp-class ships can employ air-cushion landing craft (LCACS) as well as a squadron of Harrier II (AV-8B) short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) jets.

Scheduled to be completed by May 2014, work under the contract will be carried out in Norfolk, Virginia, US.

The USS Wasp is also being used by the US Navy as the test platform for the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighters (JSF).

Image: USS Wasp stationed at a shipyard. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.

Defence Technology