Landing platform helicopter

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USS Iwo Jima, a former U.S. landing platform helicopter ship. Since final vessel was decommissioned in 2002, the U.S. no longer uses LPH ships.

Landing platform helicopter (LPH) is a term used by some navies to denote a type of amphibious warfare ship designed primarily to operate as a launch and recovery platform for helicopters and other VTOL aircraft. As such, they are considered a type of helicopter carrier.

Under the NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) document for reporting vessels, LPH is a short form designator used for "Amphibious Assault Ship, Helicopter" defined as a "large helicopter carrier" for carrying and deploying around 1,800 assault troops using its own aircraft, but for which use of landing craft is "not a principal function". For ships of this hull classification in the Royal Navy, LPH is a direct acronym for "Landing Platform Helicopter", while the United States Navy referred to its vessels within this classification as "Landing ship, Personnel, Helicopter",[1] and after 2006 as "amphibious assault ships". The etymology is L for amphibious, P for transport, and H for helicopter. Regardless of the terminology, all vessels classified as an LPH possess essentially similar capabilities.

The Royal Navy also used the term "Commando Carrier", which it applied to aircraft carriers converted to helicopter only operations. Prior to selling the vessel to the Brazilian Navy in 2018, the RN operated HMS Ocean as an LPH. Following the British government's decision to withdraw its Harrier aircraft at the end of 2010, the former light fleet carrier HMS Illustrious also performed this role until decommissioning in 2014.

The LPH classification was used by the U.S. Navy for the amphibious assault ships of the Iwo Jima class, a converted Casablanca-class escort carrier and three converted Essex-class aircraft carriers. No ships of this classification are currently in active service with the U.S. Navy, having been replaced with multi-purpose ships classified under NATO naming conventions as landing helicopter dock or landing helicopter assault ships.

Ships classified as LPH[edit]

Brazilian Navy[edit]

Republic of Korea Navy[edit]

ROKS Dokdo, a South Korean LPH.

Royal Navy[edit]

HMS Ocean, a former British LPH.

Royal Navy "Commando Carriers" and "Amphibious Helicopter Carriers"

United States Navy[edit]

USS Okinawa, a former U.S. LPH, in the Persian Gulf.
  • Note: LPH #'s 1,4,5,6 & 8 were non-Iwo Jima-class ships, converted from other types, that were numbered into the overall class.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Friedman, Norman (2002). U.S. Amphibious Ships and Craft: An Illustrated Design History. Illustrated Design Histories. Naval Institute Press. p. 656. ISBN 1-55750-250-1.
  2. ^ HMS Ocean - History, archived from the original on 2011-09-20
  3. ^ "HMS Ocean to be decommissioned in 2018, MoD announces". BBC News. 2015-11-24. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  4. ^ Chuter, Andrew. "Royal Navy's Helicopter Assault Carrier Ocean To Be Decommissioned". Defense News. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  5. ^ In 2010, the entire fleet of Harrier aircraft was grounded and subsequently sold in 2011 to the USMC for replacement parts. Thereafter, Illustrious only carried helicopters as no carrier-capable combat aircraft remained in the UK inventory.
  6. ^ "World Aircraft Carriers List: US Assault Carriers".