The U.S. Navy’s fleet of amphibious transport dock ships (LPDs) are engineered to transport and land Marine Corps forces via embarked air cushion (LCAC), conventional landing craft, Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles (EFV), and Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV) augmented by helicopters or vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft (such as the Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey). LPDs are engineered to support amphibious assault, special operations, and expeditionary warfare missions while also serving as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready craft.
The U.S. Navy’s amphibious ships can be divided into two main groups—the so-called “big-deck” amphibious assault ships, designated LHA and LHD, which look like medium-sized aircraft carriers, and the smaller (but still sizeable) amphibious ships designated LSD or LPD, which are sometimes dubbed “small-deck” amphibious ships.
The LHAs and LHDs have large flight decks and hangar decks for embarking and operating numerous helicopters and VTOL fixed-wing aircraft, while the LSDs and LPDs have much smaller flight decks and hangar decks for embarking and operating smaller numbers of helicopters. The LHAs and LHDs, as bigger ships, in general can individually embark more Marines and equipment than the LSDs and LPDs.
Traditionally, San Antonio-class amphibious ships are named after major U.S. cities and communities, and cities attacked on September 11, 2001. The only exception happened on April 23, 2010, when the U.S. Navy declared that it was christening LPD-26, the 10th ship in the San Antonio-class, after Representative John P. Murtha.
The following are currently-deployed San Antonio-class ships:
The specifications of San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ships are as follows: