The United States Marine Corps fighter attack squadron made history when its dozen new supersonic-capable F-35B Lightning II stealth jets landed on the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during routine training in the Eastern Pacific.
F-35B jets with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), completed a new milestone and confirmed its ability to turn amphibious assault ship into a light aircraft carrier.
3rd MAW demonstrated its capable of conducting missions across the range of military operations and showed that future air wing of amphibious assault ships will be far more versatile.
America is the fourth ship named “America” and the first ship of its class, replacing the Tarawa class of amphibious assault ships. It is optimized for aviation, and is capable of supporting the tiltrotor MV-22 Osprey and the Navy’s newest F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.
According to the current information, the amphibious assault ship USS America designed as the flagship of an amphibious ready group, carrying part of a Marine expeditionary unit into battle and putting them ashore with dozen V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, supported by six F-35B Lightning II. But recently training showed that the 45,000 tons amphibious assault ship can be transformed into a light aircraft carrier when configured with 20 F-35B strike fighters.
The ship’s design features several aviation capabilities enhanced beyond previous amphibious assault ships which include an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage of parts and equipment, as well as increased aviation fuel capacity.
America, the first ship of its class, is an aviation-centric platform that incorporates key design elements to accommodate the fifth-generation fighter.
The combination of stealth tactics and fully-loaded strike aircraft increases the lethality of the F-35B, enabling greater contribution and combat effectiveness by the Amphibious Ready Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit Team.
Early, the service officials said that the F-35 Lightning II is the most versatile, agile, and technologically-advanced aircraft in the skies today, enabling our Corps to be the nation’s force in readiness — regardless of the threat, and regardless of the location of the battle.