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The Tarawa class amphibious assault ships are currently in the service of the United States Navy. The ships were constructed by Ingalls Shipbuilding, at Pascagoula, Mississippi. The Tarawa class formed the basis for the later Wasp class. They can be best told apart from bow sponsons. The Tarawa type has bow sponsons, originally for 5-inch (127 mm) Mk 45 lightweight guns, while the Wasp does not. The first ship of the class, the USS Tarawa (LHA-1), was launched on May 29, 1976. All ships of the Tarawa class are named after famous battles from the American Revolutionary War, World War I and World War II. Four more ships of the class were in the long range plans, but were canceled prior to being ordered or named.
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