LPD-17 labeled

LPD-17 cutaway
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LPD-17 San Antonio class amphibious assault support vessels are just entering service with the US Navy, and 11 ships of this class are eventually slated to replace up to 41 previous ships. Much like their smaller predecessors, their mission is to embark, transport, land, and support elements of a US Marine Corps Landing Force. The difference is found in these ships’ size, their cost, and the capabilities and technologies used to perform those missions. Among other additions, this new ship is designed to operate the Marines’ new MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, alongside the standard well decks for hovercraft and amphibious armored personnel carriers.

While its design incorporates notable advances, the number of serious issues encountered in this ship class have been much higher than usual, and more extensive. The New Orleans shipyard to which most of this contract was assigned appears to be part of the problem. Initial ships have been criticized, often, for sub-standard workmanship, and it took 2 1/2 years after the initial ship of class was delivered before any of them could be sent on an operational cruise. Whereupon the USS San Antonio promptly found itself laid up Bahrain, due to oil leaks. It hasn’t been the only ship of its class hurt by serious mechanical issues. Meanwhile, costs are almost twice the originally promised amounts, reaching over $1.6 billion per ship – 2 to 3 times as much as many foreign LPDs like the Rotterdam Class, and more than 10 times as much as Singapore’s 6,600 ton Endurance Class LPD. This article covers the LPD-17 San Antonio Class program, including its technologies, its problems, and ongoing contracts and events.

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  • Rich media resources including 14 photos of the ships and related systems, cutaway graphics and renditions, and links to published project reviews
  • Chronology of acceptance trials, cost overruns, the effects of Hurricane Katrina, and political climate
  • Procurement events and project milestones dating back to 1996, with links to source materials
  • Description of new ship features that differentiate it from other ships of its broad type, and links to the air and land platforms it will support including the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor, CH-53K heavy transport helicopter, UH-1Y/AH-1Z transport/attack helicopters, MH-60 Seahawk helicopter family, LCAC hovercraft, and amphibious vehicles like the troubled EFV program.
  • Vast network of links to additional DII discussion and other source materials

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