San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock

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US Navy 110609-N-VL218-336 The amphibious transport dock ships USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and USS New York (LPD 21) are underway together in the Atla.jpg
Class overview
BuildersHuntington Ingalls Industries (formerly Northrop Grumman Ship Systems)
OperatorsUnited States Navy
Preceded by
Succeeded byN/A—current authorized amphibious transport dock line
  • $1.602 billion (ave. for class, FY2012)[1]
  • $2.021 billion (last ship, FY2012)[1]
In commission2006–present
Planned26 (13 for Flight I and 13 for Flight II)
On order2
General characteristics [2]
TypeAmphibious transport dock
Displacement25,300 t (full)
Length684 ft (208 m)
Beam105 ft (32 m)
Draft23 ft (7.0 m), full load
PropulsionFour sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick diesel engines, two shafts, 41,600 shp
SpeedIn excess of 22 knots (25 mph; 41 km/h)
Boats & landing
craft carried
  • Crew: 28 officers, and 333 enlisted sailors
  • Landing force: 66 officers, and 633 enlisted troops
Sensors and
processing systems
AN/SPS-48G, AN/SPQ-9B[1]
Electronic warfare
& decoys
Aircraft carriedLaunch or land up to two MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft simultaneously with room to place four MV-22s on the flight deck and one in the hangar deck

The San Antonio class is a class of amphibious transport docks, also called a "landing platform, dock" (LPD), used by the United States Navy. These warships replace the Austin-class LPDs (including Cleveland and Trenton sub-classes), as well as the Newport-class tank landing ships, the Anchorage-class dock landing ships, and the Charleston-class amphibious cargo ships that have already been retired.[2]

Twelve ships of the San Antonio class were originally proposed, their original target price was US$890 million;[3] as built, their average cost is $1.6 billion.[1] Defense Authorization for Fiscal Year 2015 included partial funding for the twelfth San Antonio-class ship. As of December 2022 eleven warships of this class were in service with the U.S. Navy, with an additional three ships under construction.[2] The Navy decided in 2018 to produce a second flight of 13 planned LPD Flight II ships, for a total of 26 in the LPD 17 class; LPD 30, Harrisburg, is the first Flight II ship.[2]


Artist's concept of the San Antonio Class amphibious transport dock ships

The San Antonio class was designed to provide the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps with modern, sea-based platforms that are networked, survivable, and built to operate with 21st century transformational platforms, such as the MV-22 Osprey, the (since canceled) Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), air-cushioned landing craft (LCACs), and future means by which Marines are delivered ashore.[2] The ship is more than 45 percent larger than the Austin class, displacing more than 25,000 tons at full load. It carries fewer troops, but has twice as much space for vehicles, landing craft, and aircraft.[4] The ships are also suited to act as recovery ships for spacecraft, with a floodable well deck at the back of the vessel into which a capsule can float; Portland is the recovery ship for the Orion capsule of the Artemis 1 uncrewed Moon-orbiting mission on 11 December 2022.[5]

The project embraced a "Design for Ownership" philosophy; a concurrent engineering approach that injects operator, maintainer, and trainer input into the design development process. The goal was to ensure that operational realities are considered throughout the total ship design, integration, construction, test and life cycle support of the new ships and their systems.[6] This process was intended to improve combat readiness, enhance quality of life, and reduce Total Ownership Costs, and resulted in numerous changes during the project.[7]

The San Antonio class has significant survivability features and computer technology. In addition to Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) protection from air threats, the class was designed to minimize radar signature. Techniques that reduce radar cross-section (RCS) make the ships more difficult to locate and target.[7] Enhanced survivability features include improved nuclear blast and fragmentation protection and a shock-hardened structure.[8] The fiber-optic shipboard-wide area network (SWAN) connects onboard-integrated systems. The network will allow "plug in and fight" configuration, updating and replacing hardware more easily when newer technology becomes available. Moreover, the class has extensive communications, command, control, and intelligence systems to support current and projected expeditionary warfare missions of the 21st century.[7]

The class is fitted with the integrated Ship Self-Defense System (SSDS). The system fuses the radars and other sensors and controls the weapons systems for an automated fast reaction capability against air threats.[9]

The Advanced Enclosed Mast/Sensors (AEM/S) System mast, a 93-foot-high octagonal structure 35 feet in diameter, is constructed of a multi-layer frequency-selective composite material. It is designed to permit the ship's own sensor frequencies with very low loss while reflecting other frequencies. The tapered octagonal shape of the AEM/S is designed to reduce the radar cross section, and enclosing the antennas provides improved performance and greatly reduces maintenance costs.[10]

The San Antonio-class also incorporates the latest quality of life standards for the embarked Marines and sailors, including sit-up berths, a ship services mall, a learning resource center, and a fitness center. Medical facilities include two operating rooms and 124 beds. Additionally, they are the first USN ships designed to accommodate sailors and Marines of both sexes as part of the crew and embarked troops.[4]

By mid-2016, the Navy and Marine Corps were studying installing a vertical launch system (VLS) into San Antonio-class ships so they could field larger offensive missiles. The original ship concept included two 8-cell Mk 41 VLS in the bow, which is being reexamined to add Tomahawk cruise missiles to support Marines ashore with little modification to the combat system.[11]


Following the extended problems and incidents experienced by USS San Antonio, the U.S. Department of Defense's Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), stated in 2010 that the ships are "capable of operating 'in a benign environment', but not effective, suitable and not survivable in a combat situation".[12] The DOT&E found in 2011 that the first ship of the class, USS San Antonio, had several deficiencies which rendered it "not operationally effective, suitable, or survivable in a hostile environment".[13] In April 2015, the USN proposed adding a 12th ship to the class,[14] which will be built at Ingalls in exchange for a destroyer to be named later.[15] On 4 December 2015, the 12th ship was ordered.[16]


U.S. senator Kay Hagan has asked if the LPD-17 construction line should be extended to a 12th ship as a bridge to building the LX(R) (formerly LSD(X)) on the same hull, but the USN has indicated that the requirements of the LX(R) have not yet been settled and that the LPD-17 hull might be too large for such a mission.[17] However, Commandant James F. Amos had also endorsed dropping LSD in favor of continued LPD production.[18]

In October 2014, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus signed an internal memo recommending that the LX(R) warship be based on the existing San Antonio-class design. The LPD-17 design was selected over a foreign variant, and an entirely new design to meet required capability, capacity, and cost parameters. Official selection of basing the LX(R) off the LPD-17 design still has to come with Milestone A approval.[19] The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 included partial funding for a twelfth San Antonio-class ship (LPD-28).[20] In early 2014, Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) displayed its Flight IIA version of the LPD-17 hull for the Navy's LX(R) amphibious ship. The design is further modified by removing some of the higher-end capabilities of the San Antonio class to create an "amphibious truck" to replace the Whidbey Island and Harpers Ferry landing ship docks. The Flight IIA has improved command and control (C2) features over the LSDs, half the medical spaces of the LPD-17, a smaller hangar, no composite masts, two unspecified main propulsion diesel engines (MPDE), two spots for LCACs or one LCU, a reduced troop capacity (500), and a crew of about 400 sailors.[21] In January 2015, the Navy and Marine Corps decided to go with the modified LPD-17 hull for the LX(R) program.[22]

Chief of Naval Operations Greenert considered using some of the extra space in the San Antonio class to mount modular equipment in the same fashion as the littoral combat ships.[23] As part of their bid to offer "Flight II" LPD-17s for the dock landing ship replacement contract, HII has suggested fitting out the ships to carry the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.[24][25] Although there is no formal requirement for the BMD variant, HII report unofficial support for it within the U.S. Navy, such that it will be modeled in wargame scenarios in 2016 and 2017. It could accommodate up to 288 Mk41 VLS missile tubes and a radar with 1000 times the sensitivity of the SPY-1D radar of the Burke destroyers.[26]

Flight II[edit]

On 2 August 2018, the U.S. Navy and Huntington Ingalls signed a contract for long lead items for LPD-30, the first of the 13-ship more affordable Flight II class. The contract was for US$165.5M. The cost goal is for US$1.64B for the first ship, and $1.4B for subsequent ships. LPD-30 will be fitted with a Raytheon AN/SPY-6 Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar, an upgrade over the AN/SPS-48 currently in LPD-17s.[27] Huntington Ingalls will build the new flight exclusively.[citation needed] On 26 March 2019, Huntington Ingalls announced the award of a US$1.47 billion, fixed-price incentive contract for LPD 30 (14th ship and first of Flight II). On 10 October 2019, the name of the ship was announced as USS Harrisburg for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the state's capital.[28] On 3 April 2020, Huntington Ingalls announced that it was awarded a $1.5 billion contract modification for the construction of USS Pittsburgh, named for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[29]

The Flight II ships are intended to provide the mission currently provided by the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ships and incorporate more than 200 changes over the Flight I ships. The mission provided by Flight II ships will include airport, seaport, and hospital operations and incorporate modifications to the ships’ well decks. [30]

Ships of the class[edit]

Name Hull number Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Home port Status
Flight I
San Antonio LPD-17 Avondale 9 December 2000 12 July 2003 14 January 2006 Norfolk, Virginia Active
New Orleans LPD-18 Avondale 14 October 2002 11 December 2004 10 March 2007 Sasebo, Nagasaki Active
Mesa Verde LPD-19 Ingalls 25 February 2003 19 November 2004 15 December 2007 Norfolk, Virginia Active
Green Bay LPD-20 Avondale 11 August 2003 11 August 2006 24 January 2009 Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan Active
New York LPD-21 Avondale 10 September 2004 19 December 2007 7 November 2009 Norfolk, Virginia Active
San Diego LPD-22 Ingalls 23 May 2007 7 May 2010 19 May 2012 San Diego, California Active
Anchorage LPD-23 Avondale 24 September 2007 12 February 2011 4 May 2013 San Diego, California Active
Arlington LPD-24 Ingalls 26 May 2008 23 November 2010 8 February 2013 Norfolk, Virginia Active
Somerset LPD-25 Avondale 11 December 2009 14 April 2012 1 March 2014 San Diego, California Active[31]
John P. Murtha LPD-26 Ingalls 6 February 2012 30 October 2014[32] 8 October 2016 San Diego, California Active[33]
Portland LPD-27 Ingalls 2 August 2013 13 February 2016[34] 14 December 2017[35] San Diego, California Active
Fort Lauderdale LPD-28 Ingalls 13 October 2017 28 March 2020 30 July 2022[36] Norfolk, Virginia Active
Richard M. McCool Jr. LPD-29 Ingalls 12 April 2019 5 January 2022 Fitting out
Flight II
Harrisburg LPD-30 Ingalls 28 January 2022[37] Under construction[38]
Pittsburgh LPD-31 Ingalls Awarded[29][39]
TBD LPD-32 Ingalls Awarded[40]
TBD LPD-33 Ingalls Authorized[41]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY FISCAL YEAR (FY) 2013 BUDGET ESTIMATES Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy" (PDF). Department of the Navy. February 2012. p. 13-1. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2013. LPD-27 is the last scheduled member of the class, bought with $2.021B (FY2012)
  2. ^ a b c d e "Amphibious Transport Dock - LPD". U.S. Navy. 21 January 2021.
  3. ^ "LPD-17 Selected Acquisition Report (SAR)" (PDF). Department of Defense. 31 December 2011. p. 21. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 February 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  4. ^ a b "LPD-17 SAN ANTONIO Class". 7 July 2011. Archived from the original on 16 September 2007.
  5. ^ Amos, Jonathan (11 December 2022). "Nasa's Orion capsule on target for splashdown". BBC News.
  6. ^ "LPD 17 WORKSHOP REPORT / MISSIONS AND OPERATIONAL CAPABILITIES / (MONTEREY II)". Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division. April 1996. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Gary L Pickens and Rear Admiral L. F. Picotte, USN (Ret.) (January 1999). "LPD 17—A Ship Built By and For the Expeditionary Warrior". NAVSEA's Deckplate. Archived from the original on 22 July 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  8. ^ "San Antonio Class Landing Platform Dock". Archived from the original on 21 March 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Ship Self-Defense System Architecture" (PDF). Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest. 22 (4). 2001. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 September 2016.
  10. ^ "LPD-17 SAN ANTONIO-class". Federation of American Scientists. 15 September 2004. Archived from the original on 21 July 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  11. ^ Navy, Marine Corps Considering Adding Vertical Launch System to San Antonio Amphibs Archived 18 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine -, 13 October 2016
  12. ^ Capaccio, Tony Northrop Navy Ships `Not Survivable' in Combat, Official Says Archived 5 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine Bloomberg, 28 October 2010
  13. ^ "LPD-17 San Antonio Class Amphibious Transport Dock" Archived 2 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine. DOT&E
  14. ^ Cavas, Christopher P. (5 April 2015). "New US Navy Fleet Goal: 308 Ships". Gannett. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  15. ^ Cavas, Christopher P. (4 December 2015). "New Amphibious Ship Ordered for Navy, Destroyer To Come". TEGNA. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  16. ^ "2 New Warships en Route to U.S. Navy". 26 December 2015. Archived from the original on 29 December 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  17. ^ O'Rourke, Ronald. "Navy LPD-17 Amphibious Ship Procurement: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress." Archived 12 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Congressional Research Service, 16 March 2011.
  18. ^ "Navy League Conference 2013 speeches on the future of the maritime services."
  19. ^ Memo: Hull Based on San Antonio Design is Navy’s Preferred Option for Next Generation Amphib Archived 21 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine -, 20 October 2014.
  20. ^ "Navy Gains a Ship, 15 Growlers in Defense Bill". Defense News. Archived from the original on 17 December 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  21. ^ "What the Navy’s Next Generation Amphibious Ship Could Look Like" Archived 23 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine, 21 November 2014
  22. ^ "Bidding for New Oiler, Amphibs to be Bundled". 8 August 2017.
  23. ^ Freedberg, Sydney J. Jr. "Modular 'Trucks' Will Rule The Waves: CNO." Archived 22 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Aol Defense. 18 April 2012.
  24. ^ "HII Pitching BMD Role For LPD-17 Hull."
  25. ^ "LPD Flight II". Archived from the original on 22 January 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  26. ^ Fisher Jr, Richard D (19 May 2016). "Navy League 2016: Huntington Ingalls Industries notes increasing interest in BMD ship concept". IHS Jane's Navy International. Archived from the original on 20 May 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  27. ^ "US Navy awards major contract to Huntington Ingalls for its newest class of amphibious vessels", David B. Larter, Defense News, 2018-08-03
  28. ^ The Navy named its next warship after this city, Navy Times, 2019-10-10
  29. ^ a b "Huntington Ingalls Industries Awarded $1.50 Billion Contract for the Construction of LPD 31" (Press release). Huntington Ingalls Industries. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  30. ^ Osborne, Kris (24 January 2022). "The Navy Is Building the First Flight II San Antonio-Class Amphibious Transport Docks". National Interest. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  31. ^ "Ingalls-built Amphibious Transport Dock Somerset (LPD 25) Completes Acceptance Trials". 11 October 2013. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  32. ^ "John P Murtha (LPD 26)". Naval Vessel Register. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  33. ^ "Navy to Commission Amphibious Transport Dock John P. Murtha" (Press release). U.S. Department of Defense. 7 October 2016. Archived from the original on 10 October 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  34. ^ "Future USS Portland (LPD 27) Launches". United States Navy. 14 February 2016. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  35. ^ "Portland (LPD 27)". Naval Vessel Register. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  36. ^ "Navy to Commission Amphibious Transport Dock Ship Fort Lauderdale". 29 July 2022. Retrieved 30 July 2022.
  37. ^ "Keel Authenticated for Future USS Harrisburg" (Press release). United States Navy. 28 January 2022. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  38. ^ "Harrisburg (LPD-30)". Naval Vessel Register. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  39. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite - Growing the Fleet". YouTube.
  40. ^ "HII Awarded $240 Million Advance Procurement Contract for LPD 32" (Press release). [Huntington Ingalls Industries]. 16 June 2022. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  41. ^ "Senate FY 2023 Appropriations Bill Adds $4B to Navy Shipbuilding, Money for New Amphibs". USNI News. 28 July 2022. Retrieved 28 July 2022.

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