The Wasp-class amphibious-assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) conducted an ammunition on-load Feb. 9-12 while underway in the Pacific Ocean.
The ship took on more than 1,000 pallets of ordnance by helicopter during the four-day evolution in preparation for an upcoming deployment.
Essex has not conducted an ammunition on-load in more than four years, due to recently completing a two-year, $250 million dry-docked planned maintenance availability (DPMA); the largest in surface force history.
The ordnance was transferred from shore facilities via four MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters from the “Blackjacks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 to the flight deck. From there it was moved by forklift to ordnance elevators for delivery to awaiting magazines, or the port side aircraft elevator for delivery to the hangar bay and a different elevator and magazine.
Essex is the second Wasp-class amphibious assault ship and the fifth to carry the Essex name.
Image: US Navy