The America class (formerly the LHA(R) class) is a ship class of landing helicopter assault (LHA) type amphibious assault ships of the United States Navy (USN). The class is designed to put ashore a Marine Expeditionary Unit using helicopters and MV-22B Osprey V/STOL transport aircraft, supported by AV-8B Harrier II or F-35 Lightning II V/STOL aircraft and various attack helicopters. The first of these warships was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 2014 to replace USS Peleliu of the Tarawa class; as many as eleven will be built. The design of the America class is based on that of USS Makin Island, the last ship of the Wasp class, but the "Flight 0" ships of the America class will not have well decks, and have smaller on-board hospitals to provide more space for aviation uses.
Although they only carry helicopters and V/STOL aircraft, the America class, with a displacement of about 45,000 long tons (46,000 t), is similar in size to the French Charles de Gaulle and the Indian Vikramaditya fixed-wing aircraft carriers. Also, while more than 124 feet (38 m) shorter, America class ships are of comparable displacement to the former US Navy Midway-class aircraft carriers.
Ships of the America class can be used as a small aircraft carrier with a squadron of jet fighters plus several multipurpose helicopters, such as the MH-60 Seahawk. They can carry about 20 to 25 AV-8B, F-35Bs, or a mixture of the two, but the future ships of this class, starting with USS Bougainville (LHA-8), will have smaller aircraft hangars to leave room for larger amphibious warfare well decks.
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