US Navy’s Makin Island (LHD 8) celebrated her 6th commissioning anniversary on October 24 at the San Diego Naval base.
The vessel was formally commissioned on the same date in 2009 at Naval Air Station North Island.
Although Makin Island is the eighth and last Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, she is the first built with gas turbines and electric drive Auxiliary Propulsion System (APS).
As part of its energy awareness and conservation efforts, the Navy expects to see fuel savings of more than $250 million over the course of the ship’s lifecycle by using the APS propulsion system.
During her first two deployments, the ship saved more than six million gallons of fuel resulting in an estimated cost savings in excess of $22 million. She served as the platform for the first operational deployment of the four-blade AH-1Z Viper helicopter; and she will be Joint Strike Fighter capable in 2017.
The ship’s recent deployment included transiting nearly 35,000 nautical miles for 115 straight days at sea conducting air strikes in Fifth Fleet. Makin Island participated in Exercise Red Reef 15 with Saudi Arabian forces and performed Marine sustainment exercises in Kuwait and Djibouti.
The ship is in the home stretch of a phased maintenance availability at Naval Base San Diego and will soon commence basic phase training in preparation for the ship’s third deployment in late 2016.
Image: US Navy