The primary mission of these ships is coastal patrol and interdiction surveillance, an important aspect of littoral operations outlined in the Navy's maritime strategy. The Cyclone-class PCs are particularly suited for the maritime homeland security mission and have been employed jointly with the U.S. Coast Guard to help protect our nation's coastline, ports and waterways from terrorist attack; in addition, the ships have been forward deployed to the Gulf region in support of the war on terrorism.
Avenger class ships are designed as mine sweepers/hunter-killers capable of finding, classifying and destroying moored and bottom mines. These ships use sonar and video systems, cable cutters and a mine detonating device that can be released and detonated by remote control. They are also capable of conventional sweeping measures. The ships are of fiberglass sheathed, wooden hull construction.
Frigates fulfill a Protection of Shipping (POS) mission as Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) combatants for amphibious expeditionary forces, underway replenishment groups and merchant convoys. The guided missile frigates (FFG) bring a short range anti-air warfare (AAW) capability (provided by their Phalanx Close-In Weapon System) to the frigate mission, but they have some limitations. Designed as cost efficient surface combatants, they lack the multi-mission capability necessary for modern surface combatants faced with multiple, high-technology threats.
The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant.
The Ticonderoga Class Guided missile cruisers are large combat vessels with multiple target response capability. These ships are multi-mission surface combatants, including Air Warfare (AW), Undersea Warfare (USW), Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) and Surface Warfare (SUW). They are capable of supporting carrier battle groups, amphibious forces, or of operating independently and as flagships of surface action groups.
The Arleigh Burke Class of guided missile destroyers (DDG) is the United States Navy's first class of destroyer built around the Aegis Combat System and the SPY-1D multi-function phased array radar. The class is named for Admiral Arleigh Burke, the most famous American destroyer officer of World War II, and later Chief of Naval Operations. The class leader, USS Arleigh Burke, was commissioned during Admiral Burke's lifetime.
Developed under the DD(X) destroyer program, the USS Zumwalt is the lead ship of a class of next-generation multi-mission surface combatants tailored for land attack and littoral dominance with capabilities that defeat current and projected threats. It triples naval surface fires coverage as well as tripling capability against anti-ship cruise missiles. DDG 1000 has a 50-fold radar cross section reduction compared to the Arleigh Burke class destroyers, improves strike group defense 10-fold and has 10 times the operating area in shallow water regions against mines.
Dock Landing Ships support amphibious operations including landings via Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), conventional landing craft and helicopters, onto hostile shores. These ships transport and launch amphibious craft and vehicles with their crews and embarked personnel in amphibious assault operations. The mission of the Whidbey Island Class Dock Landing Ships is to conduct prompt, sustained combat operations at sea, worldwide, in support of national policy. The class introduced updated communications, combat systems, 20 and 60 ton cranes, expanded repair shops, two helicopter landing spots, complete medical and dental facilities and a fully automated computer-based logistic support.
The primary mission of the Harpers Ferry Class Dock Landing Ships is to dock, transport and launch the Navy's Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) vessels and other amphibious craft and vehicles with crews and Marines into potential trouble spots around the world. The ship also has the capability to act as primary control ship during an amphibious assault. The ships were designed as a minimum modification variant of the Whidbey Island Class, it features increased cargo capacity, and contains the same lines and propulsion plant as those ships. The major difference is the well deck, it has been shortened to accommodate added vehicle stowage and cargo storage areas, reducing the number of LCACs carried from four to two, with only one LCU.
Amphibious transport dock ships are warships that embark, transport, and land elements of a landing force for a variety of expeditionary warfare missions. Amphibious transport docks are used to transport and land Marines, their equipment and supplies by embarked Landing Craft Air Cushion or conventional landing craft and Amphibious Assault Vehicles augmented by helicopters or vertical take off and landing aircraft. These ships support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions and can serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready groups.
The America Class Amphibious Assault Ship is designed specifically to meet future Navy/Marine Corps requirements, to be able to support the expanded capability of 21st century expeditionary strike platforms, such as the MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft and the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) airplanes. These ships are able to operate as flagships for expeditionary strike groups. They are optimized for aviation operations and does not contain a well deck for surface interface operations.
The Nimitz Class aircraft carriers are the largest warships ever built. Aircraft carriers support and operate aircraft that engage in attacks on airborne, afloat and ashore targets that threaten free use of the sea. The aircraft carrier and its strike group also engage in sustained power projection operations, as well as maritime security operations to interdict threats to merchant shipping and prevent the use of the seas for terrorism and piracy. They also provide unique capabilities for disaster response and humanitarian assistance.
As auxiliary support ships, dry cargo/ammunition ships directly contribute to the ability of the Navy to maintain a forward presence. The main mission of the Lewis And Clark Class Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ships is to deliver ammunition, provisions, stores, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to carrier battle groups and other naval forces, serving as a shuttle ship or station ship.
The main mission of the Henry J. Kaiser Class Fleet Replenishment Oilers is to provide underway replenishment of fuel to U.S. Navy ships at sea and jet fuel for aircraft assigned to aircraft carriers. Equipped with 5 fueling stations, they can replenish two ships at a time.
Two hospital ships owned and operated by Military Sealift Command provide emergency, on-site care for U.S. combatant forces deployed in war or other operations. The hospital ships' secondary mission is to provide full hospital services to support U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.
The Blue Ridge and the Mount Whitney are the most capable command ships ever built, with an extremely sophisticated command and control system. The Joint Maritime Command Information System (JMCIS) consists of numerous powerful computers distributed throughout the ship from which information and data from worldwide sources are entered into a central database. This single integrated database concentrates the available information into a complete tactical picture of air, surface and subsurface contacts, enabling the Fleet Commander to quickly assess and concentrate on any situation which might arise.
The Frank S. Besson Class Logistics Support Vessels (LSV) are the Army's largest powered watercraft. They are designed to carry up to 2,000 tons of cargo from strategic sealift ships to shore during operations. The vessels are critical force projection enablers in that they primarily used in intratheater contingency operations and can "beach" themselves on shore to drop off cargo. The LSV provides worldwide transport of general and vehicular cargo.
The primary war-fighting mission of the LHA-1 Tarawa class was to land and sustain U.S. Marines on any shore during hostilities. The ships served as the centerpiece of a multi-ship Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG). One LHA could carry a complete Marine battalion, along with the supplies and equipment needed in an assault, and land them ashore by either helicopter or amphibious craft. The Tarawa class was designed to operate independently or as a unit of a force, as a flagship or individual ship unit in both air and/or surface assaults.
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.