The San Antonio-class (LPD-17) Amphibious Transport Dock. M…

The San Antonio-class (LPD-17) Amphibious Transport Dock.

Manufacturer:

Northrop Grumman [NOC] Ship Systemsí Avondale Division, New Orleans, La., with General Dynamicsí [GD] Bath Iron Works and Raytheon [RTN].

Characteristics:

Amphibious ships transport and land Marine Corps Expeditionary Unitsí Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) elements, including helicopters, landing craft, amphibious assault vehicles, and other fighting vehicles. The San Antonio-class Amphibious Transport Dock ships will have overall length of 684 feet, with beam of 105 feet. The ships will draw 23 feet with 25,000 tons displacement. Also under construction are New Orleans (LPD-18); Mesa Verde (LPD-19); and Green Bay (LPD-20). A fifth hull, New York (LPD-21), is under contract. The San Antonio-class program calls for 12 new LPDs, capable of 22-plus knots sustained speed carrying nearly 700 troops and their equipment, to replace 41 ships of several amphibious ship classes, including LPD-4, LSD-36, LKA-113, and LDT-1179. The San Antonio-class will host one Sikorsky [UTX] CH-53E heavy lift helicopter, or two Boeing [BA] CH-46 medium lift helicopters, or one Bell Helicopter Textron [TXT]-Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor, or three Bell UH/AH-1 attack/utility helicopters in hangar facilities. The LPD-17 and its successors will be capable of landing two CH-53Es, four CH-46s, or two MV-22s on aft flight decks. The Ships are also capable of carrying and launching two Textron Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCACs) and General Dynamicsí Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles.

Combat Use:

None. Delivery and initial operational capability is scheduled for late 2004.

Foreign Users:

None.

Analysis:

Following significant cost and schedule disruption between 1998 and 2002, the LPD-17 program is expected to achieve first ship delivery late in calendar year 2004. The Navy awarded then-Litton Ship Systemsí Avondale Industries the LPD-17 contract award on 17 Dec., 1996. The program is about two years behind its original delivery date of November 2002. The value of the four ships under construction exceeds $2 billion. In summer 2002 the Navy, GD and Northrop Grumman Ship Systems completed an agreement to swap work on four USS Arleigh Burke-class (DDG-51) destroyers for four LPD-17-class ships. The swap plan encompasses nearly $20 billion in shipbuilding business, including GDís multiyear contract for seven destroyers. Meanwhile one DDG-51-class hull is also to be produced annually by Northrop Grumman Ship Systemsí Ingalls Division, Pascagoula, Miss. In Spring 2003 Navy acquisition chief John Young told Congress two hulls planned for later in the program, LPD-22 and LPD-23, could be "twinned" during production, saving $100 million and keeping plant employment stable if built simultaneously, as are LPD-18 and LPD-19. Advanced capabilities of the San Antonio-class includes an enclosed, low radar cross-section mast and sensors suite; and a shipboard computing wide-area network with over 760 fiber-optic cable drops.