Charleston-class amphibious cargo ship
USS Charleston (LKA-113) in 1988
|Builders:||Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co.|
|Type:||Amphibious cargo ship|
|Length:||576 ft (176 m)|
|Beam:||82 ft (25 m)|
|Draft:||26 ft (7.9 m)|
|Speed:||20 knots (37 km/h)|
|Boats & landing
|Up to 18 landing craft|
|Complement:||50 officers, 592 men|
|Armament:||4 × twin 3"/50 caliber guns|
|Aviation facilities:||Helicopter landing platform|
The Charleston-class amphibious cargo ships were a class of amphibious cargo ships in service with the United States Navy. These ships served in Amphibious Readiness Groups between 1968 and 1994. The ships were the last amphibious cargo ships built for the U.S. Navy, their role having been taken over by amphibious transport docks.
Built in the late 1960s, these ships participated in the Vietnam War. Four of the five ships in the class had been transferred to the reserve fleet in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The need for additional sealift capacity resulted in all four being returned to the active fleet in 1982. They are among the first Navy ships to have a fully automated main propulsion plant (600-pound pressure with superheat, known as a "Super Six."). The lead ship of the class, Charleston was decommissioned in 1992, and was joined by St. Louis in November 1992. The remaining ships were decommissioned in 1994. All ships are mothballed for possible activation in the future.
The assigned mission of the amphibious cargo ship was to transport and land combat equipment and material with attendant personnel in an amphibious assault. To optimize their capability for combat loading, they provided considerable flexibility in cargo stowage methods. The cargo elevators servicing holds 1, 3, and 4 make all categories of supplies and all levels available simultaneously to either the main deck or the helicopter platform. Use of the ship's forklifts and pallet transporters speed the maneuvering of cargo in the holds and enable delivery to various debarkation stations via the main deck passageways, which run the length of the ship. The arrangement and quantity of booms and cargo elevators make it possible to simultaneously embark/debark vehicles and cargo.
Vehicles in upper stowage spaces can be embarked/debarked through the hatches with cargo booms, while pallets are embarked/debarked in lower stowage spaces by elevators. The main deck hatch of hold 2 is unobstructed and can be opened for embarking/debarking of vehicles without the delay of unloading landing craft stowed on the hatch. Hold 4 is well suited for high priority cargo because of its direct access to the flight deck or main deck via elevator number 5.
- USS Charleston (LKA-113). Launched 2 December 1967. Commissioned 14 December 1968. Decommissioned 27 April 1992.
- USS Durham (LKA-114). Launched 29 March 1968. Commissioned 24 May 1969. Decommissioned 25 February 1994.
- USS Mobile (LKA-115). Launched 19 October 1968. Commissioned 29 September 1969. Decommissioned 25 February 1994.
- USS St. Louis (LKA-116). Launched 4 January 1969. Commissioned 22 November 1969. Decommissioned 2 November 1992.
- USS El Paso (LKA-117). Launched 17 May 1969. Commissioned 17 January 1970. Decommissioned 21 April 1994.
- Stefan Terzibaschitsch 50 Jahre Amphibische Schiffe der U.S. Navy. Leonberg (Germany), p.65
- Stefan Terzibaschitsch Seemacht USA. Bechtermuenz, Augsburg (Germany), p. 602. ISBN 3-86047-576-2
- Andromeda-class attack cargo ship
- Arcturus-class attack cargo ship
- Artemis-class attack cargo ship
- Tolland-class attack cargo ship
- List of attack cargo ships of the United States Navy (AKA)
- List of amphibious cargo ships of the United States Navy (LKA)