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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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120 news items


Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:22:30 -0700

The test demonstrated UHAC traveling from a ground-based station, through the ocean and onto the USS Rushmore dock landing ship, the report said. Maxey writes that while there has been no indication of UHAC going into production, its track technology ...
National Review Online
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 01:01:08 -0700

During a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee last September, Representative Randy Forbes (R., Va.) posed two questions to the four chiefs of staff — Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines: 1) Could you carry out military requirements under the ...
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 05:22:30 -0700

The Corps showed off a prototype of its Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC) last week during Rim of the Pacific exercises in Hawaii, running it from the Navy's amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore to the beaches of Marine Corps Training ...
SEAPOWER Magazine Online
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:15:00 -0700

The Navy is working to get the design and affordability of the next-generation dock landing ship, LX(R), exactly right, a discussion that “is as robust as any we've had,” he said. Hilarides said that the backlog in repair of nuclear-powered submarines ...
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 08:00:00 -0700

Climbing into the well deck of the dock landing ship, the UHAC loaded an assault vehicle into its hold and returned to shore. In addition to its amphibious versatility the UHAC's unique tracks provide it with a fairly low ground pressure footprint ...
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 07:03:45 -0700

During the underway demonstration, Constitution's crew also twice performed passing honors with Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD-51), which is visiting Boston as part of Harborfest 2014 festivities. Cmdr. Bryan Carmichael, Oak ...

The Virginian-Pilot

The Virginian-Pilot
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 19:59:35 -0700

The other two ships in the Bataan's amphibious ready group - dock landing ship Gunston Hall and amphibious transport dock Mesa Verde - had already passed through the Strait of Hormuz and into the gulf. Troops from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit are ...
Military Times
Sun, 22 Jun 2014 07:16:45 -0700

Helicopter crews with the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) have worked on multiple amphibs in recent months, including the dock landing ship Oak Hill and, pictured, the amphibious assault ship Peleliu. (MC3 Dustin Knight ...

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