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General Dynamics to modernize Wasp class LHD USS Bataan for 2 years.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by the US DoD on March 27, 2024, General Dynamics NASSCO–Norfolk has been awarded a substantial contract valued at $311,193,234 for the maintenance, modernization, and repair of the USS Bataan (LHD 5).
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan in 2020. (Picture source: Dvids)

The USS Bataan (LHD-5) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy, named in honor of the defense of the Bataan Peninsula during World War II. This ship, active since its commissioning in 1997, has played a significant role in various military, humanitarian, and disaster relief operations globally.

In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the USS Bataan was among the first naval vessels to respond. Initially scheduled for deployment later in September, its crew was recalled early, and the ship was directed towards New York Harbor, equipped to serve as a 600-bed hospital if needed.

However, it quickly became apparent that there were few survivors, and the ship returned to Norfolk, Virginia. Shortly thereafter, the Bataan was pivotal in deploying over 2,500 Marines and their equipment to Pakistan, marking the commencement of Operation Enduring Freedom.

During the early stages of the Iraq War in March 2003, the Bataan delivered critical support in the form of helicopters, troops, and vehicles. It also acted as a launch platform for Marine AV-8B Harrier II squadrons, participating in several deployments to the region.

The ship's versatility was further demonstrated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, where it served as a key asset in relief operations, providing transport, medical care, and essential supplies to affected areas. Around the same time, the Bataan also played a role in testing the V-22 Osprey aircraft.. The Bataan was also actively involved in the humanitarian response to the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, further underlining its capacity to support in times of crisis.

Operational activities continued with involvement in enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya in 2011, participation in the 2014 air campaign against ISIS, and operations involving the Mark VI patrol boat in 2016, demonstrating its ongoing strategic importance.

More recently, the Bataan has been engaged in operations related to increasing tensions in the Middle East, including the response to the targeted killing of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani in 2020, and readiness to support in the Mediterranean amid the 2023 Israel-Hamas conflict. In early 2024, the Bataan adapted to new challenges during the Red Sea crisis, where it played a defensive role against drone attacks.

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