LHA-1 Tarawa being developed for X-Plane 11

The now-decommissioned United States Navy amphibious assault ship is slowly coming to life in the sim, but with a catch.

USS Tarawa for X-Plane 11

For me, personally, amphibious assault ships have a mystic of their own. They are a special kind of vessel that, among several other features, are the mothership for short and/or vertical take of and landing aircraft such as AV-8 Harriers, F-35s and, of course, helicopters.

The LHA-1 Tarawa was the lead ship of her class and has served the US Navy for 33 years and she is now on her way to X-Plane 11.

After understanding the amazing hobby and the universe around flight simulation, Juan Montenegro started developing his own set of controls for helicopters and, as he continued to enjoy rotor-wing in sims, he started to look for new places to take-off and land from. Eventually, Juan fell in love with moving ships.

Sadly, X-Plane does not allow to add new moving ships to the sim (the aircraft carrier and the frigate are both hardcoded) but Juan started to learn and develop his own models, eventually replacing the 2 hardcoded models by his own.

This caught the attention of another community member, Brian Warn, who provided Juan with information coming from his vast experience as a member of the US Navy. And the idea of modelling the USS Tarawa popped up.

Brian flew UH-3H Sea Kings off the Tarawa during part of his US Navy service, so he knows the ship quite well and, along with some other sailors that have served in the vessel, he is providing invaluable information to Juan.

A fitting replacement

You’ll be able to replace the current carrier or frigate with the USS Tarawa (you can replace either one or the other) but you will also be able to use it as a static object.

The Tarawa will also be distributed in 3 pre-configured models:

  • Deck in "combat ready" mode whit a few landing spots free for helicopter pilots
  • Same with deck ready for VTOL/STOL operation of harriers and F-35 pilots
  • Parade model with deck full of stuff, personnel, etc. with only 1 spot for helicopter landing

Juan is planning on releasing the USS Tarawa at the end of 2020 or early next year but don’t quote him on that as he is working on this as time allows. He does intent to release a beta earlier than that, though.

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Sérgio Costa

About Sérgio Costa

Sérgio has been a flight simulation enthusiast for nearly 25 years. His passion with helicopters developed during MSFS 2000 when he discovered the complexity of these aircraft and the challenge it was to control them.

Since then he has been primarily a helicopter flight simmer, trying his best not to crash and kill all his virtual passengers.

Sérgio is HeliSimmer.com's editor and writer and one of the Three Grumpy Simmers, a YouTube series and Podcast produced together with YouTubers Bel Geode and NovaWing24, obviously dedicated to flight simulation.

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