The Wasp Class Amphibious Assault Ship is an improved follow-on to the five ship Tarawa Class LHAs, sharing the basic hull and engineering plant. These ships conduct prompt, sustained combat operations at sea as the centerpiece of the Navy's amphibious strategy. They provide the means to deliver, command and support all elements of a Marine Landing Force in an assault by air and amphibious craft. In carrying out their mission, the ships have the option of utilizing various combinations of helicopters, Harrier II aircraft and landing craft.