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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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36 news items

Times of San Diego

San Diego Source (subscription)
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:30:00 -0700

BOXARG is made up of amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49). While deployed, they operated with embarked forces of the ...
Marines.mil (press release)
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 15:41:15 -0700

The BOXARG consists of three ships, amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49). Approximately 2,400 Marines and 3,000 sailors ...
The Roanoke Star
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 09:41:15 -0700

BATARG the is comprised of multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) homeported at Naval Station Norfolk. ACU 4 is ...
Tue, 08 Apr 2014 10:43:37 -0700

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 ...
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 07:19:58 -0700

The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit is embarked on the Bonhomme Richard, which was on patrol along with the amphibious transport dock Denver and dock landing ship Ashland when it was diverted to the scene of the area where the Sewol sank.
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:26:15 -0700

The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit are deployed to the Navy's 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation. The Bataan ARG is comprised of the USS Bataan, USS Mesa Verde, and the USS Gunston Hall. All photos ...

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 ...

Times of India

Times of India
Sun, 20 Apr 2014 15:21:35 -0700

The port has also received a patrol boat from Brunei and an amphibious dock landing ship from Indonesia. Australia is also expected to participate. The program includes a two-day multinational maritime joint operation named, "Sea Cooperation 2014" ...

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