Mabus names LHA 8 after WWII island campaign

Secretary of the U.S. Navy Ray Mabus announced November 9 that the name of the next America-class amphibious assault ship will be USS Bougainville (LHA 8).

LHA-8 will be the second ship to be named after Bougainville, an island in the northern Solomons, which was the location of a World War II campaign in 1943-1944 during which allies secured a strategic airfield from Japan. Success at Bougainville isolated all Japanese forces left in the Solomons.

The first Bougainville was an escort carrier that was launched in 1944, a year after the Bougainville campaign began. It was decommissioned for the first time in 1946. It was then brought back into service for five years before earning two battle stars for its service in World War II and being struck from the naval register in 1960.

USS Bougainville is the third America-class ship and the first Flight I ship of the class to reincorporate a well deck to increase operational flexibility.

USS America has no well deck and is an aviation centered platform featuring enhanced aviation capabilities which include an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage of parts and equipment and an increased aviation fuel capacity.

Bougainville will be built by Huntington Ingalls Industries who has already been awarded a $272.4 million initial contract for planning, advanced engineering, and procurement of long lead time material. The contract for the ship’s construction includes options that could bring the value of the ship to to $3.1 billion.