US Amphibious Ship Tests New ‘Carrier’ Mode in Drills With Philippines – Report

The American military vessel was earlier spotted passing through the disputed waters of the South China Sea despite numerous demands from China, who has a significant military presence in the region, calling for the US to stop such “provocations”.

The US Marine Corps have been testing a concept of a so-called “Lightning Carrier” during joint drills with the Philippines military, Business Insider reported. The idea of this concept is to load an America-class amphibious assault ship, such as the USS Wasp currently participating in these drills, with 10 or even more F-35 Lightning II jets — twice the amount normally loaded on such vessels.

“The experiments led to the realization that this is an option […] I think the Marine Corps may be realizing that this is the best use of their large amphibious assault ships. I think you are going to see more and more deployments like that”, Bryan Clark, a naval affairs expert told the media outlet.

US Marines are planning to use such “Lightning Carriers” as a supplement for big navy carriers. According to a Marines Corps spokesman, they will take full advantage of the amphibious assault ship as a sea base, but at the same time will provide a significant air force with strike capabilities.

In comparison to regular carriers, “Lightning Carriers” have a significantly smaller effective range, when they counter naval and aerial aggression or conduct strikes. This downside is caused by the need to use the F-35B…

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