Large Amphibious Assault Vessels


So, I was reflecting on the successfully completed sea trials for the USS America, LHA-6 and the recent launch of the USS Gerald R. Ford, CVN-78.

As Asif has said, there has been a significant increase in the number sof nations building and acquiring aircrft carriers, including the multi-purpose flattops that can serve as either a STOVL carrier or an amphibious/air assault carrier (like the America).

The PLAN acquired the Varyag in 1998 and turned her into the Liaoning, commissioning her in 2012, and now working up her air wing for eventual operational capability.

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I had not really added it all up before, but in the time that that was occurring, here is what the US Navy did with aircraft carriers:

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That's six major carrier vessels in 15 years. Pretty impressive. Many Americans sometimes think that US Naval shipbuilding has somehow let down...but clearly, it has not. In those same 15 years, the US launched and commissioned 34
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. A very impressive record too.

Now, with the carriers, the US has decommissioned just as many as it has built (even more), and that in itself is another major point. That the US has these vessels in such abundance that it can decommission and dispose of them tells you that the US Navy shipbuilding industry continues on very strongly, and it keeps on going too.

In addition to those six, two more carriers are already under construction:

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Great pictures! I really like the one of the Iwo Jima in the low fog.


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Thank you..

I'd like to see one of these names attached to the future LHAs;

Khe Sanh
I agree Fallujah was my idea from years ago on ID and Cdr Salamader. I think a better name for the AFSB and MLP instead of what was given are Yankee Station and Dixie Station. I would like a new USS Guadalcanal too.
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Jeff Head

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Naval Today said:
The future USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) launched from the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Shipyard Oct. 30.

The John P. Murtha is the tenth ship of the San Antonio (LPD 17) class which functionally replaces more than 41 ships across four ship classes. The launch marks a major milestone for the ship.

Capt. Darren Plath, LPD 17 class program manager within Program Executive Office, Ships, said:

“It has been two and a half years since the last LPD 17 class ship was launched, and it is evident that HII is continuing to incorporate lessons learned from the earlier LPD 17 class ships.

The LPD 17 Class build plan, which was revised and fully implemented on LPD 25, organizes the individual work packages in the most logical sequence resulting in LPD 26’s successful entry into the water, en route to delivery in May 2016."

These ships are a key element of the Navy’s seabase transformation, enabling the deployment of the combat and support elements of Marine Expeditionary Units and Brigades. The versatile LPD 26 will be equipped with a well deck capable of embarking and debarking landing craft, air cushion, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), and future means by which Marines are delivered ashore. The ship’s capabilities are further enhanced by its flight deck and hangar which can operate CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft (MV-22). The ship encompasses over 23,000 square feet of vehicle storage and is equipped to transport a landing force of up to 800 Marines and their equipment.

LPD 26 honors the life and accomplishment of the late U.S. Representative John Patrick Murtha, who served his country both as a Marine and in the halls of Congress. Murtha served in the Marine Corps for 37 years and saw service in the Korean War and in Vietnam, a tour that earned him the Bronze Star with Valor device, two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Murtha represented Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District from 1974 until his death in 2010.

LPD 26 is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in 2016, joining the first nine ships of the San Antonio class. USS Portland (LPD 27), the final ship of the current San Antonio class had its keel laid in August 2013 and is currently under construction at HII.

asif iqbal

So it will be a 11+11+11 ship formation for 33 amphibious ship programme


11 x LHD, 11 x LPD and 11 x LX(R)

If then they decide to build 12 x LPD then they might cut to 10 x LX(R) still giving 33 ship formation

Marine corps and Navy says they need a 38 ship formation but will only get low end of the scale 33 ships to meet current and future operations

This means lifting two Marine Expeditionary Bridges with 15 ships each with 3 in reserve for outfitting

Out of the 33 ships 4 will be based in Japan and 29 in mainland USA

When Ronald Reagan was President in the 1980s the USN operated more than 60 amphibious assault ships now the number is about half that

Also during the 1980s USN could pull 14-15 carriers


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When Ronald Reagan was President in the 1980s the USN operated more than 60 amphibious assault ships now the number is about half that
Yes but more small ships, many Newport especially.

Jeff Head

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I thought I would add this information to this thread as well.

Here's a picutre of the new USNS Lewis Puller, T-MLP-3/T-AFSB-1, after its launch.

Let's talk about what the US Navy is doing here.

The US Navy has been building new Amphibious/Air Assault support and staging vessels for the last few years, while also continuing to construct the Sna Natonion Class LPDs and the America Class LHAs. These new vessels are a part of the US Navy's strategic initiative that calls for Forward-from-the-Sea approach to logistics and support of Amphibious and Air Assault.

The idea is to allow for vessels, which are not built to the same expensive full combat standards as the traditional large LHDs and LHAs, or LPDs and LSTs, to support the operations of the Amphibious/Air Assault fleet by providing for Mobile Loading Platfroms and Afloat Forward Staging Bases. This allows basing of material at sea and tranfer of that material from even larger vessels to the Ampohibious Assault vessel well out to sea away from the actual combat operations.

Such vessels can also serve to conduct training exercises and operations, and non combat vulnerable operations, as well as providing the at-sea basing for material for the full combat vessels to use for provisioning, resupply, etc.

This has resulted in two variants of Mobile Landing Platforms to be built.

The first is the Mobile Landing Platform, or MLP, of which two have already been built.

USNS Montford Point, T-MLP
- Launched in March 2013
USNS John Glenn, T-MLP-2
- Launched in September 2013

An Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) variant has also been constructed. The first was recently launched. The newly launched vessel is the:

USNS Lewis Puller T-AFSB-1
- Launched in November 2014

A second T-AFSB vessel is also planned and budgeted.

Here are concept pictures showing the differences:

The Standard MLP Concept

The AFSB Concept

Both variants displace over 60,000 tons and are 785 feet long with a beam of 165 feet. Their standard draft is just under 40 feet. However, both variants can use special ballasting systems to lower themselves in the water.

The standard Mobile Landing Platfrom (MLP) is designed to accomodate three Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) vessels in special docking lanes where material, equipment, vehicles (including armor) and men can be off loaded onto the LCAC for transport to the larger vessels. Special ramps are also provided with a special system to allow RORO operations from loarger RORO vessels and directly to the combat vessels when necessary, while underway at sea.

The Afloat Forward Staginbg Base (AFSB) vairant of the MLP has a large hanger and flight deck built over the equipment and material staging area. This allows these vessels to utilize helicopters up to the CH-53E Sea Stallion size to move troops and equipment from bases and larger vessels, to the AFSB, and then on to the combat Amphibious/Air Assault ships. The hanger can accomodate up to two of the large helicopters or threre medium sized helicopters. These vessels do not have the docking lanes for the LCACs but they do have the ramp facilities for onloading and offloadgin equipment, vehicles and personnel while underway at sea.

It is also enviosined that the AFBS version of the vessel will serve as a mother ship for anti-mine warfare operations. It would provide two MH-53 Sea Dragoin anti-mine warfare helcipoptrs to be based on the vessel and special holders for up to four anti-mine sleds to be stored, serviced, and operated. These vessles in the counter-mine mission would also be able to provision and support several smaller mine-warfare vessels, like the Independence Class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) or the Avenger Cass anit-mine warfare vessels.

I have a
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which includes high-resolution pictures of the various MPL vessels, including the new Lewis Puller AFSB variant. It also includes a concept picture of each.

Here are pictures of the standard MLP conducting recent, at-sea trials of the LCAC docking and at-sea loading from a USNS RORO

This is really good stuff.

asif iqbal

OUTSTANDING concept!! and look forward to seeing it operational a lot to cover on this new way of off loading equipment at sea

So can the AFSB transfer equipment to the MLP?

Also can AFSB take equipment from RORO using a ramp?
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