The British new QE carrier just completed its sea trials before receiving its first F-35B displacing about 65,000 tons. It will exclusively use the F-35B as its fighter aircraft from the deck. The USS America assault ship is about 45,000 tons and will carry a substantial number of F-35B's on deck. Somewhere in the middle of 45 to 65 thousands tons is the perfect small nation strike carrier for all occasions. It would be a flexible and can be replicated better than big nation carriers such as United States of America. The US Marines caught on early with its naval contingent of ships like the Wasp and America.
Long has the Marine debate of having an LHA with a well deck or hanger deck. It has smaller versions, with the LSD and LPD designation. The LSD has a well deck and the LPD has a Hanger deck starting from big garage doors near the middle of the ship.
A well deck version is what conflicts the Marines when defining its missions. The well deck area is a hollowed out area with an opening at the stern of the ship for landing craft egress and ingress to the ship. It can be flooded for landing craft making a direct entry into the ocean or store landing equipment during transition to a hot spot with a an ocean view. LSD's and LPD's would support an invasion with the LHA as the led ship of this Marine flotilla. It's a matter of F-35B applications in battle space that will change ship designs into the future.
Below are the acronym designations and equipment types from the ship.
LSD: Landing Ship Dock: Landing craft from well deck, Helicopters is less number than a LHA; a contingent of Marine troops would travel with the ship.
USS Tortuga (LSD 46) 16,500 Tons
USS Tortuga (LSD-46) in February 2001, off the coast of the Caribbean island of Curacao.
|Ordered:||26 November 1984|
|Laid down:||23 March 1987|
|Launched:||15 September 1988|
|Commissioned:||17 November 1990|
|Homeport:||Little Creek, Virginia|
|Motto:||Tough, Tall, Tenacious|
|Status:||in active service|
|Length:||610 ft (190 m)|
|Beam:||84 ft (26 m)|
|Draft:||21 ft (6.4 m)|
|Propulsion:||4 Colt Industries, 16-cylinder diesel engines, 2 shafts, 33,000 shp (25 MW)|
|Speed:||20+ knots (37+ km/h)|
|Boats & landing|
|5 LCACs or 21 LCM-6s|
|Troops:||Marine detachment: 402 + 102 surge|
|Complement:||22 officers, 391 enlisted|
LPD: Landing Platform Dock: Designed for Helicopters with hanger bay for Maintenance.
Landing Platform Dock, 25,300 Tons San Antonio Class, 10 Each built. Hanger Deck Top Mid Ship
|USS San Antonio and USS New York in June 2011.|
|Builders:||Huntington Ingalls Industries (formerly Northrop Grumman Ship Systems)|
|Operators:||United States Navy|
|Succeeded by:||N/A—current authorized amphibious transport dock line|
|General characteristics |
|Type:||Amphibious transport dock|
|Displacement:||25,300 t (full)|
|Length:||684 ft (208 m)|
|Beam:||105 ft (32 m)|
|Draft:||23 ft (7.0 m), full load|
|Propulsion:||Four sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick diesel engines, two shafts, 41,600 shp|
|Speed:||In excess of 22 knots (25 mph; 41 km/h)|
|Boats & landing|
|Aircraft carried:||Launch or land up to two MV-22 Ospreytilt-rotor aircraft simultaneously with room to place four MV-22s on the flight deck and one in the hangar deck.|
Wikipedia chart credit
|Awarded:||1 June 2007|
|Builder:||Huntington Ingalls Industries|
|Laid down:||17 July 2009|
|Launched:||4 June 2012|
|Sponsored by:||Lynne Pace|
|Christened:||20 October 2012|
|Acquired:||10 April 2014|
|Commissioned:||11 October 2014|
|Homeport:||San Diego, California|
|Status:||in active service|
|Class and type:||America-class amphibious assault ship|
|Displacement:||44,971 long tons (45,693 t) full load|
|Length:||844 ft (257 m)|
|Beam:||106 ft (32 m)|
|Draft:||26 ft (7.9 m)|
|Propulsion:||Two marine gas turbines, two shafts, 70,000 bhp (52,000 kW), two 5,000 hp (3,700 kW) auxiliary propulsion motors.|
|Speed:||over 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)|
LHA: Landing Aassault Ship: F-35B, Osprey, Helicopters and Marines in greater number than the LSD and LPD. It is the Marine's main assault ship. This next step up is finding the optimal configured ship for the F-35B after it is determined how the F-35B can fight in actual combat. The Navy will make a design bigger than the LHA with a 55,000 ton class having more F-35B's and marines.
A mid point from the 45,00 ton LHA and 65,000 ton British QE, would be a 55,000 ton nuclear powered assault ship containing a larger ships compliment and landing force of about three thousand military personnel for every situation. It should have about 30 F-35's stored below and multiples of Helicopters and Osprey. Sounds like an overpowering Marine mission.
A key idea would be to build two LHA's for every one Ford class CVN. A 13 billion carrier is twice the cost of two LHA's. A nation who has too few monetary printing presses in action can effectively buy one LHA including flying equipment for its decks for about ten billion US. The Ford class carrier may end up costing 20 billion once all the flying equipment is bought and loaded on board. Another 5 Billion for training and supplying its crews. More billions needed just operating a Ford CVN. The main point is dividing the cost of one CVN (carrier) by two equaling or about 13 Billion a piece when fully complimented and ready for combat.
USS Ford Carrier CVN 79 above 102,000 tons
The naval LHA conundrum dictates how many well deck LHA's and how many hanger deck versions required. The "mini carrier" containing F-35B's is a military marketing tool for both ship building companies and Lockheed Martin.