Returning from a seven-month deployment, U.S. Navy’s amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) transferred unexpended ammunition to USS America (LHA 6) during an ordnance transfer off the coast of Southern California.
Makin Island and her amphibious ready group were en route home while the USS America was conducting a composite unit training exercise (COMPTUEX), preparing for her maiden deployment.
While Makin Island was off the coast of Southern California on May 12, an MH- 60S Sea Hawk assigned to the “Wildcards” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 transported RIM-116 rolling airframe standard missile (SM) 2’s from the Makin Island to America’s flight deck. These missiles are an upgrade to America’s original ammunition load-out earlier in the year.
America is armed with two RAM launchers that hold 21 SM 2’s. This missile system is America’s second line of defense, with an approximately 3 nautical-mile range, and is a lightweight, quick-reaction, fire-and-forget missile designed to destroy anti-ship cruise missiles and asymmetrical air and surface threats.
America is currently underway conducting COMPTUEX, but the opportunity to receive ordnance and ammunition from the Makin Island was a chance to further prepare for deployment.
More than 1,800 sailors and 2,600 marines assigned to the America amphibious ready group (ARG) and the 15th marine expeditionary unit are embarked on board the ship during COMPTUEX. The America ARG is commanded by CPR 3 and consists of USS America (LHA 6), San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS San Diego (LPD 22), and Harpers Ferry-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52).