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:
|Builder||Huntington Ingalls Industries|
|Propulsion||Four sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick Diesels, two shafts, 41,600 shaft horsepower.|
|Displacement||Approximately 24,900 long tons (25,300 metric tons) full load|
|Speed||In excess of 22 knots (24.2 mph, 38.7 kph)|
|Crew||Ship's Company 360 Sailors (28 officers, 332 enlisted) and 3 Marines. Embarked Landing Force 699 (66 officers, 633 enlisted); surge capacity to 800.|
|Armament||Two Bushmaster II 30 mm Close in Guns, fore and aft; two Rolling Airframe Missile launchers, fore and aft ten .50 calibre machine guns.|
|Aircraft||Launch or land two CH53E Super Stallion helicopters or two MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft or up to four CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, AH-1 or UH-1 helicopters.|
|Landing/Attack Craft||Two LCACs or one LCU; and 14 Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles/Amphibious Assault Vehicles.|
The specifications of San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ships are as follows:
|Builder||LPD 4-6, New York Naval Shipyard;LPD 7 and LPD 8, Ingalls Shipbuilding; LPD 9, 10, 12- 15, Lockheed Shipbuilding.|
|Date Deployed||Feb. 6, 1965 (USS Austin)|
|Unit Cost||$235-419 million.|
|Propulsion||Two boilers, two steam turbines, two shafts, 24,000 shaft horsepower.|
|Length||570 feet (171 meters).|
|Beam||84 feet (25.2 meters).|
|Displacement||Approximately 17,000 tons (17,272.82 metric tons) full load.|
|Speed||21 knots (24.2 mph, 38.7 kph).|
|Crew||Ship's Company 420 (24 officers, 396 enlisted), Marine Detachment 900.|
|Armament||Two 25mm Mk 38 guns; two Phalanx CIWS; and eight .50-calibre machine guns.|
|Aircraft||Up to six CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters.|