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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 [LST]). 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 "Enforce" 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: 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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34 news items

Mon, 14 Apr 2014 18:18:45 -0700

U.S. Navy ships participating include the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), with embarked Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); the amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9); and the dock landing ship USS ...
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A sailor aboard the dock landing ship Ashland signals to an MV-22B Osprey with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (Reinforced) as it takes off Nov. 22 to deliver supplies to the Philippines during Operation Damayan. U.S. relief efforts were hampered ...

National Defense Magazine (blog)

National Defense Magazine (blog)
Fri, 11 Apr 2014 11:33:45 -0700

To meet requirements in the Pacific, Wissler said he would need two full-time amphibious ready groups, which typically include an amphibious assault ship, an amphibious landing ship and a dock landing ship along with aircraft and a Marine Expeditionary ...
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Sun, 16 Mar 2014 22:14:47 -0700

The current configuration of the LPD transport dock is slightly different than the LSD dock landing ship in that it has more aviation capability, more command and control equipment, a crane for use on small boats and a different well deck configuration ...
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 09:31:19 -0700

The amphibious assault ship Peleliu, front, sails the with amphibious transport dock ship Green Bay, middle, and amphibious dock landing ship Rushmore last year in the Pacific Ocean. CNO Adm. Jonathan Greenert said April 7 the Navy's goal was to grow ...
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Tue, 08 Apr 2014 06:52:30 -0700

Three U.S. Navy ships and two U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) cutters will participate in the 2014 Fleet Week New York, May 21-27. U.S. Navy participating ships will include Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) and Arleigh Burke-class ...
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INDIAN OCEAN — Four junior officers assigned to the amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24) embarked aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) to receive training, experience and exposure to amphibious ...

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