Get ready for another Marine amphibious assault ship with fricken stealth fighters on it:
Scheduled for launch in in July 2017 and with a tentative induction date set for December 18, the ship is specifically designed to accommodate Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, along a host of other aircraft such as MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, CH-53 Super Stallions, and UH-1Y Huey helicopters.
The USS Tripoli, called LHA 7 [Landing Helicopter Assault] 7, is being assembled at the Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Once finished, the ship will displace more than 44,000 tons–similar to the size of fixed-wing aircraft carriers in France and India. Measuring 844 feet long and 106 feet wide the ship, in fact, is a small aircraft carrier.
“The ship is optimized for aviation and capable of supporting current and future aircraft with additional aviation maintenance capability and increased fuel capacities. LHA[Landing Helicopter Assault] 6 will be a Flight I ship, reintroducing the well deck without sacrificing aviation capability,” the U.S. Navy’s website notes about the USS Tripoli’s sister ship, the USS America.
The Essex-class fleet aircraft carriers were the US Navy’s bread-and-butter warships versus the Imperial Japanese Navy, and we built a still-impressive two dozen of the things. The best (and biggest*) full-size carriers in regular use during the war, they displaced 33,000 tons — or one quarter less than the Marine Corps’ new baby carriers.
They also didn’t carry 1,600+ Marines on board, ready to fly Ospreys ashore and kick some behind.