The Wasp (LHD-1)-class helicopter-carrying dock landing ship Iwo Jima (LHD -7), launched on 4 February 2000 by Ingalls Shipbuilding, probably will be the last conventional steam-turbine-powered warship built for the U.S. Navy if plans not to request authorization for LHD-8 until fiscal year 2005 remain in effect. LHD-8 is to be powered by gas turbines, a proposal originally made in the mid-1980s by Secretary of the Navy John Lehman. The 40,532-ton (full-load displacement), 844-foot Wasp class currently is powered by the same plant that was introduced in the mid-1970s with the Tarawa (LHA-1): two highly automated Combustion Engineering boilers providing steam to two sets of Westinghouse geared steam turbines capable of delivering up to 77,000 total shaft horsepower. This launch-day view of the Iwo Jima shows the massive stern gate leading to the 322-foot floodable well that can accommodate three aircushion landing craft.
The British Royal Navy's oldest aircraft carrier, the 20,710-ton Invincible, completed in 1980, is shown on 3 March shortly after having completed modifications to enable her to accommodate a joint-service air group of up to eight Royal Air Force Harrier GR.7 and eight Royal Navy Sea Harrier FA.2 V/STOL (vertical/short take-off or landing) fighters, plus four Royal Navy Sea King AEW.2 radar surveillance and up to seven Sea King HAS.6 antisubmarine helicopters. Unlike the newer Illustrious, which completed a similar expansion of the flight deck and aircraft support facilities at the expense of the Sea Dart surface-to-air missile launcher a year ago, the Invincible also has had the two prominent Type 909 missile-control radars removed. Despite the fact that her other modifications were more extensive than those made to the Illustrious, the Invincible is scheduled to go into reserve in 2001, when the third of the trio, the Ark Royal, completes a similar activation and modernization refit. All three ships are to be replaced by two 40,000-ton carriers to be completed in 2001 and 2015.
One of several Swedish Stridsbat-90H fast personnel landing craft operated by the Royal Malaysian Navy is seen here during Malaysia's December 1999 naval review. The highly successful design also has been procured by the Swedish Navy's Coastal Artillery Service (125 or more in operation, with up to 250 total planned), the Norwegian Navy (22 delivered from 1997 to 1999), the Greek Coast Guard (3), and Mexico (2 delivered early this year, with 2 more to follow shortly and another 20 on option). The 18-ton, 40-knot craft can carry up to 21 fully equipped assault troops in addition to their four-person crews and also can be used as patrol boats (the purpose for which they are being delivered to Mexico) or minelayers. With a loaded range of 160 nautical miles at 40 knots or 240 nautical miles at 20 knots, the 52-foot glass-reinforced plastic-construction craft are fully beachable and have a bow ramp for debarking troops. Armament includes two fixed and one movable .50-caliber machine gun, an 81-mm mortar, and provision for RBS-17 Hellfire missiles, four mines, or six depth charges in Swedish service.