The US Navy has commissioned its new America-class USS America (LHA 6) amphibious assault ship in San Francisco, US.
Powered by a hybrid electric propulsion system, the navy's first in a new class of aviation centric amphibious warships will replace the last Tarawa-class amphibious vessel, USS Peleliu (LHA-5), which is scheduled to be decommissioned next year.
The 44,971t USS America comes with additional aviation capacity, including an expanded hangar deck, realigned and expanded aviation maintenance facilities for the navy and marines' aviation detachment, and the inclusion of the short take-off and vertical landing aircraft.
US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said: "This ship, forged in America, with components and systems manufactured all across America, shall remind us of the long and historic links between our communities and our navy and marine corps.
"Having a ship named America, sailing the world's oceans, always present in defence of our freedoms and ready to respond, is yet another extension of our American spirit."
The vessel's multi-mission platform can execute a range of military operations, from forward deployed crisis response to forcible entry operations.
USS America, which is an integral part of joint, interagency and multinational maritime expeditionary forces, will deliver forward presence and power projection.
The vessel will be deployed to carry out sustained periods in transit and operations, including embarking, transporting, controlling, inserting, sustaining and extracting elements of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force. It will also support forces via helicopters and tiltrotors held by F-35Bs.
Image: USS America (LHA 6) during its commissioning. Photo: courtesy of mass communication specialist 1st class Michael McNabb.