F-35B-ready amphibious assault ship Tripoli (LHA 7) completes builder’s trials

The US Navy’s amphibious assault ship Tripoli (LHA 7) has completed sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico, testing the ship’s main propulsion and other systems before returning to Huntington Ingalls Industries’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division.

The second ship in the America-class spent four days at sea in June, undergoing dock trials followed by more than 200 at-sea test events.

“America class ships bring tremendous capability to our sailors and marines and Tripoli will be the first large deck amphib to reach the fleet fully ready to integrate the Marine Corps air combat element to include Joint Strike Fighters,” said Tom Rivers, amphibious warfare program manager for Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships.

The short take-off and vertical landing version of the F-35 is already operational with the Marine Corps and has flown its first combat mission from amphibious assault ship USS Essex last year.

The strike took place on September 27 in the US Central Command area of responsibility in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan.

Tripoli is the second ship of the America (LHA 6) class, built to facilitate forward presence and power projection. LHA 7 is the last Flight 0 ship planned for construction and features an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, an increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity.

LHA 8 will be the first Flight I ship, reincorporating a well deck to enhance expeditionary warfighting capabilities while maintaining the principal aviation characteristics of the Flight 0 ships.

LHA 7 will be 844 feet in length, will have a displacement of approximately 45,000 long tons and will be capable of operating at speeds of over 20 knots.

Photo: Tripoli (LHA 7) sailed the Gulf of Mexico for four days on builder’s sea trials. Photo: Derek Fountain/HII