The US Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship has embarked on her maiden deployment. USS Makin Island departed San Diego on 14 November as flagship of Amphibious Squadron 5 and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The Amphibious Ready Group, comprising the amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor and the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans, will patrol the Pacific and Gulf regions for seven months.

Makin Island is another example of the navy’s drive to cut its fuel costs. She is the first US Navy vessel to be equipped with gas turbines and an electric drive system that powers all the ship’s auxiliary services. During the ship’s delivery voyage from Pascagoula to San Diego in 2009, Makin Island used 900,000 gallons less fuel than her steam-powered sistership completing the same transit, saving more than US$2 million in running costs.

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