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A dock landing ship (also called landing ship, dock or LSD) is an amphibious warfare ship with a well dock to transport and launch landing craft and amphibious vehicles.[1] Some ships with well decks, such as the Soviet Ivan Rogov class, also have bow doors to enable them to deliver vehicles directly onto a beach (like a Landing Ship, Tank). Modern dock landing ships also operate helicopters.

A ship with a well deck (docking well) can transfer cargo to landing craft in rougher seas than a ship that has to use cranes or a stern ramp.[2] The US Navy hull classification symbol for a ship with a well deck depends on its facilities for aircraft - a (modern) LSD has a helicopter deck, a LPD also has a hangar, and a LHD or LHA has a full-length flight deck.[2]


The LSD (US Navy hull classification for landing ship, dock) came as a result of a British requirement during the Second World War for a vessel that could carry large landing craft across the seas at speed.

The first LSD came from a design by Sir Roland Baker who had designed the British Landing Craft, Tank. It was an answer to the problem of launching small craft rapidly. The "Landing Ship Stern Chute", which was a converted train ferry, was an early attempt. Thirteen Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) could be launched from these ships down the chute. The Landing Ship Gantry was a converted tanker with a crane to transfer its cargo of landing craft from deck to sea - 15 LCM in a little over half an hour.[3]

The design was developed and built in the US for the USN and the Royal Navy. The LSD could carry 36 LCM at 16 knots. It took one and a half hours for the dock to be flooded down and two and half to pump it out. When flooded they could also be used as docks for repairs to small craft.

Amphibious vehicles inside a US LSD

Vessels of the LSD hull classification[edit]

In the United States Navy, two related groups of vessels classified as LSDs are in service as of 2011, the Whidbey Island and Harpers Ferry classes, mainly used to carry hovercraft (LCACs), operate helicopters, and carry marines.[4]

The Dutch and Spanish collaborated on the "Enforcer" design which entered service as the Rotterdam-class amphibious transport dock and Galicia-class landing platform dock.

The British Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) operates three Bay-class landing ships - related to the Enforcer design - in support of the Royal Navy's operations while a fourth ship of the class, previously in RFA service, is now operated by the Royal Australian Navy.

Former US LSDs include the Ashland class, Casa Grande class, Thomaston class and Anchorage class.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mother of Minesweepers". Popular Mechanics: 97–104, see drawings pp. 98–99. February 1952. 
  2. ^ a b "World Wide Landing Ship Dock/Landing Platform Dock". Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  3. ^ Brown 2006, p. 145
  4. ^ US Navy Office of Information Fact File - LSD

Cited literature[edit]

  • Brown, D. K. (November 2006). Nelson to Vanguard. Annapolis, Maryland: US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-602-X. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dock_landing_ship — Please support Wikipedia.
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815 news items


Wed, 02 Sep 2015 07:03:45 -0700

The Fort McHenry, a 610-foot long, 84-foot wide Whidbey Island Class dock landing ship that weighs in at 16,261 tons, will be one of the premier attractions at the 31st Gloucester Schooner Festival throughout the weekend. The ship, which will moor on ...

New York Post

New York Post
Thu, 03 Sep 2015 03:36:57 -0700

The Yunwushan dock landing ship of the Chinese navy during a joint Russian-Chinese military drill Aug. 25. Photo: ZumaPress.com. Five Chinese navy ships are sailing in international waters in the Bering Sea off Alaska, the Pentagon said Wednesday, in ...
DVIDS (press release)
Wed, 02 Sep 2015 07:48:45 -0700

PACIFIC OCEAN (Sep. 01, 2015) - Logistics Specialist Seaman Nina Bowers from Mount Airy, N.C., fires a M240 machine gun on the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48). Ashland is assigned to the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike ...


Tue, 11 Aug 2015 12:12:35 -0700

Marines and sailors from the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD-48) returned to Saipan in the Northern Marianas with heavy equipment to restore power and water purifiers to provide as much as 40,000 gallons of drinking water after the island ...


Wed, 20 May 2015 05:58:27 -0700

The following is a May 18, 2015, memo from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert on the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser (CG) and Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship (LSD) modernization programs.


Fri, 07 Aug 2015 12:07:30 -0700

ASAN, Guam -- Through the coordination of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) will depart Guam and arrive in Saipan Aug. 8 to provide relief in the aftermath of Typhoon Soudelor, which ...

The Virginian-Pilot

The Virginian-Pilot
Fri, 28 Aug 2015 08:53:05 -0700

In two months, Corryn Smit, also an enlisted sailor, a petty officer second class, will deploy aboard the dock landing ship Oak Hill. "I wanted to make him smile," Smit said, explaining her sign choice. "We're both a little different." As the Jason ...

IHS Jane's 360

IHS Jane's 360
Wed, 19 Aug 2015 02:12:27 -0700

Alongside Fort Worth , other USN assets participating in 'CARAT' Indonesia 2015 included the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88), the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship (LSD) USS Germantown (LSD 42), the ...

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