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France to provide maintenance for the US Navy's USS Kearsarge.

| 2022

According to information published by the U.S. DoD on July 5, 2022, the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), flagship of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), arrived in Brest, France to complete a scheduled maintenance availability period and to strengthen relations with a key NATO ally.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (Picture source: US Navy)

The maintenance period, termed a mid-deployment voyage repair (MDVR), allows the ship to complete corrective and preventative maintenance that cannot be done while at sea. This necessary work allows the ship and her crew to continue their mission in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) area of operations.

Since arriving in the theater in March 2022, the Kearsarge ARG and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) have participated in a wide array of exercises and operations with partners and allies throughout the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) area of operations.

Kearsarge has operated primarily in northern European waters, conducting port visits in Tromsø, Norway; Tallinn, Estonia; and Stockholm, Sweden while participating in a bilateral training event in Norway, exercises Hedgehog 22 and BALTOPS 22, and NATO vigilance activity Neptune Shield 22.

The Kearsarge ARG and embarked 22nd MEU are under the command and control of Task Force 61/2. The ARG consists of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3); San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24); and Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44).

About the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge

USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) is the third Wasp-class amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy. The warship was christened on 16 May 1992, and commissioned on 16 October 1993.

The assault support system on the ship coordinates vertical and horizontal movement of troops, cargo, and vehicles. A Monorail system, moving at speeds up to 600 ft/min (3 m/s), transports cargo and supplies from storage and staging areas throughout the ship to a 13,600-square-foot (1,260 m2) well deck, which opens to the sea through huge gates in the ship's stern.

There, the cargo, troops, and vehicles are loaded onto landing craft for transit to the beach. The air cushion landing craft can "fly" out of the dry well deck, or the well deck can be flooded so that conventional landing craft can float out on their way to the beach.

Simultaneously, helicopters can be lifted from the hangar deck to the flight deck by two deck-edge elevators and loaded with supplies from three massive cargo elevators.

Kearsarge's armament suite includes the NATO RIM-7 Sea Sparrow point defense system for anti-aircraft support, RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles, 25-mm chain guns, and the Phalanx close-in weapon system to counter threats from low-flying aircraft and close-in small craft. Missile decoy launchers augment the anti-ship missile defenses.

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