The crew of the U.S. Navy’s amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) completed their first mid-cycle inspection (MCI) on March 17, in preparation for deployment later this year.
MCI is a four-day readiness inspection that takes place every 2 1/2 years. The inspection is conducted by the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) and Commander Naval Surface Forces (CNSF) type commander material inspection team (TMIT) and is used to examine and evaluate a ship’s ability to conduct missions, as well as to ensure the ship will last its full life cycle.
“We make sure all equipment and systems are operating within the designed specifications,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ted Duarte, TMIT engineering lead inspector.
Eighty-one inspectors boarded America to conduct inspections of the ship’s propulsion systems, deck equipment, damage control, combat systems, and aviation equipment. America received 17 scores above 85 percent including 100 percent in anchor drop and 96 percent in damage control, self defense and environmental protection and preservation.
Each department is responsible for demonstrating the ship’s readiness to the inspectors. This process can be arduous, but in the end, it ensures a ship is fully operational and functional for the crew.
Now that MCI is complete, the crew can cross off a fundamental milestone that brings them one step closer to deployment.
“This inspection is all about ensuring the ship and crew are maintaining the basics,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Bacon, MCI coordinator aboard America. “Habitability, damage control, material condition; these are all the stepping stones for us to be operationally ready for deployment.”
Commissioned on October 11, 2014, America is capable of accommodating the F-35B fighter since it is an aviation-centric platform.
Compared to previous amphibious assault ships, America’s design features several 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.
America can accommodate F-35Bs, MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and a complement of Navy and Marine Corps helicopters.