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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 "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: 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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Wed, 20 May 2015 05:56:15 -0700

Document: Memo on Cruiser, Dock Landing Ship Modernization Programs. May 20, 2015 8:57 AM. 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 ...


Tue, 26 May 2015 13:48:45 -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 ...

Bangkok Post

Bangkok Post
Mon, 25 May 2015 07:10:41 -0700

oldairman Thailand Posted: 1,660 | 26 May 2015 at 05.51. A dock landing ship sits lower in the water, boats can be floated directly on to it and it is generally easier to work on. 0. 0. Report abuse. Are you sure you want to report this comment as ...


Mon, 11 May 2015 05:44:17 -0700

The ARG — comprised of big deck amphib USS Essex (LHD-2), dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD-47) and landing transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD-23) — will leave San Diego bound initially for a training exercise off of Hawaii and then head for a ...

Marine Corps Times

Marine Corps Times
Sun, 17 May 2015 19:45:33 -0700

It includes the amphibious assault ship Essex, amphibious dock landing ship Rushmore and dock landing ship Anchorage. Aboard is a command element as well as Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines; Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 ...


Tue, 12 May 2015 12:07:30 -0700

More than 4,500 sailors and Marines from the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit left San Diego Monday for a deployment to Asia Pacific and the Middle East. The amphibious assault ship Essex and the amphibious dock ...


Tue, 19 May 2015 08:10:30 -0700

HAC-D did not allot any funding to accelerate the LX(R) amphibious dock landing ship replacement program, whereas the House and Senate armed services committee supported speeding up the program by two years by giving research and development ...


Mon, 18 May 2015 11:23:39 -0700

The House Armed Services Committee chose to add $279 million to accelerate the LX(R) amphibious dock landing ship by two years, and their Senate counterparts agreed with the need but could only find $80 million in the budget to put towards that program ...

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