The US Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) has set sail to conduct its contractor sea trials.

The ship left Norfolk naval station after a nearly one-year pierside following its maintenance availability.

Prior to departing, the vessel completed a fast cruise to help address potential knowledge gaps before the sea trials.

Contractor sea trials will test the reliability of the work done during the maintenance period.

USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) is the fifth vessel to be named in honour of the sloop-of-war, which became famous during the American Civil War.

The contract to build the warship was awarded in 1987 while the ship was launched in 1992.

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According to the US Navy, Kearsarge was under maintenance after completing a seven-month deployment to the fifth and sixth US Fleet areas of operations.

Kearsarge captain Neil Koprowski said: “The crew is excited to test themselves and the ship. This underway period will allow us to do both. We are going to sea to test all of the equipment we have worked on during the maintenance period and begin transition from being proficient to being experts.”

After the completion of the contractor sea trials, Kearsarge will enter a ‘brief maintenance’.

In addition, the staff will commence the initial phase to certify the warship for operational purposes.

In August last year, the US Marine Corps (USMC) conducted a load test of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) aboard the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3).