Ship’s sponsor Ellyn Dunford declared the keel “truly and fairly laid” after her initials were welded onto a plate.
Bougainville will retain the aviation capability of the America-class design while adding the surface assault capability of a well deck. The well deck will give the U.S. Marine Corps the ability to house and launch two landing craft air cushion (LCAC) hovercraft or one landing craft utility (LCU) as needed during their maritime missions. Other additions to Bougainville include a larger flight deck configured for Joint Strike Fighter and Osprey V-22 aircraft, which can be used for surface and aviation assaults. The additional area on the flight deck comes in part from a smaller deck house and an additional sponson.
With a typical air combat element embarked, an LHA amphibious assault ship can be equipped with:
- 5 F-35B Joint Strike Fighters
- 4 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters
- 2 UH-1Y Venom attack helicopters
- 4 CH-53E Super Sea Stallion helicopters
- 12 MV-22 Osprey
- 2 MH-60S Search and Rescue helicopters
- Defensive weapons systems include .50 caliber machine guns, The Phalanx, Sea Sparrow and Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) anti-ship cruise missile weapon systems and decoy launchers.
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