The US Navy has announced that the future San Antonio-class amphibious landing ship USS John P Murtha (LPD 26) will be homeported at the San Diego naval base after it is commissioned in the second quarter of 2016.
According to the US Navy, the purpose of stationing such amphibious landing ships in a west coast port is to support the rebalance of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region by integrating the navy's capabilities and equipment in the area.
Around 60% of navy ships and aircraft will be docked in that region by 2020.
Built at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Shipyard, John P Murtha is the tenth ship of the San Antonio (LPD 17) class, which will replace more than 41 vessels across four ship classes.
The 208.5m-long and 31.9m-wide vessel has a displacement of 25,000t, will be propelled by four Colt-Pielstick diesel engines, and can achieve a speed of 22k.
The vessel is armed with Bushmaster II cannons to combat surface threats and Rolling Airframe missile launchers to destroy airborne targets.
The amphibious landing ship will serve as a launch pad for two CH53E Super Stallion helicopters, two MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft, or up to four CH-46 Sea Knight, AH-1, H-60, or UH-1 helicopters.
It is equipped to ferry a force of up to 800 marines and their equipment.
The ship will serve as an important element in the navy's seabase transformation, enabling the deployment of the combat and support elements of marine expeditionary units and brigades.
USS Portland (LPD 27) is the final ship of the San-Antonio class that is currently being built at HII.
Image: The USS John P Murtha amphibious landing ship will be homeported at Naval Base San Diego. Photo: courtesy of US Navy / Huntington Ingalls Industries.