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US Navy Amphibious assault ship USS Essex LHD 2 conducts flight operations with MV-22 aircraft


During its deployment in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the US Navy Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) conducts flight operations with MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.


US Navy Amphibious assault ship USS Essex LHD 2 conducts flight operations with MV 22 aircraft 925 001 An MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, attached to the “Knight Riders” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 164 (Reinforced), takes off from the flight deck of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2). (Picture source U.S. Navy)


During flight operations, MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, attached to the “Knight Riders” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 164 (Reinforced), has performed takes off and landing from the flight deck of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2). Essex is underway in the eastern Pacific Ocean conducting routine maritime operations.

USS Essex (LHD-2) is a Wasp-class Landing Helicopter Dock in service with the United States Navy. The amphibious assault ship was built at what is now Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was launched 23 February 1991 and commissioned on 17 October 1992 while moored at North Island NAS.

The Wasp class is a class of landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious assault ships operated by the United States Navy. Based on the Tarawa class, with modifications to operate more advanced aircraft and landing craft, the Wasp class is capable of transporting almost the full strength of a United States Marine Corps Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and landing them in hostile territory via landing craft or helicopters as well as providing air support via AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft or F-35B Lightning II stealth strike-fighters.

The armament of the first four Wasp class consists of two Mark 29 octuple launchers for RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missiles, two Mark 49 launchers for RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles, three 20 mm Phalanx CIWSs, four 25 mm Mark 38 chain guns, and four .50 caliber machine guns.[5] The next four ships, Bataan, Bonhomme Richard, Iwo Jima, and Makin Island, have a slightly reduced weapons outfit compared to their preceding sister ships, with one Phalanx and one Mark 38 gun removed.

The MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft is the primary assault support aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps. It was fielded to replace the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter and has been deployed to support troops in combat since 2007.  It uses two engines positioned on fixed wing tips housed in nacelles that rotate to allow the MV-22 to land and take off vertically, but achieve much faster flight than a helicopter by tilting the nacelles forward while in flight in a configuration similar to a fixed-wing aircraft.