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(formerly LX Class)

Logo The SAN ANTONIO (LPD 17) Class of amphibious transport dock ships represents the Navy and Marine Corps' future in amphibious warfare, and is one of the cornerstones in the strategic plan known as "Forward...from the sea". The San Antonio class will be the first designed, from the keel up, to execute Operational Maneuver From The Sea [OMFTS] and Ship to Objective Maneuver. It is designed to support embarking, transporting, and landing elements of a Marine landing force in an assault by helicopters, landing craft, amphibious vehicles, and by a combination of these methods to conduct primary amphibious warfare missions.

The LPD 17 will integrate with the existing amphibious ship force structure and the Navy's declining shore infrastructure. The LPD 17 class program will be the replacement for three classes of amphibious ships that have reached the end of their service life -- the LPD 4, LSD 36, and LST 1179 classes - and one class that has already been retired, the LKA 113. Naval amphibious ship forces with embarked Marine Corps units provide an essential component of the forward presence mission capability required to implement United States foreign policy. The LPD 17 ship class primary mission is Amphibious Warfare. Thus, LPD 17 must be able to embark, transport, and land elements of the landing force in an assault by helicopters (all USMC helos as well as the MV-22 Vertical Take Off and Land aircraft, Osprey), landing craft including air cushion (LCAC) and conventional (LCU) landing craft, amphibious vehicles (AAV) and expeditionary fighting vehicles (EFV), and by a combination of these methods. The combat power of this ship is it's embarked Marines and their equipment.

Ensuring that the ship maintains a robust self defense capability as threat systems evolve is key to survivability in the littoral environment where the ship will fight. As a class, these ships will overcome amphibious lift shortfalls caused by the decommissioning of aging LPDs, LSTs, LKAs, and LSDs. Maintaining projected delivery schedules and attaining operational readiness of this ship class is key to eradicating existing shortfalls in amphibious lift. Of particular concern is the high average age of amphibious ships which have high maintenance costs, higher manning levels, and lower reliability compared to ships being built today. The introduction of the LPD 17 into the fleet is intended to mitigate this problem.

The LPD 17 program represents the Navy's best case of capitalizing on acquisition reform. Examples include:

A contract for final design and construction of San Antonio (LPD 17), the lead ship in the class, was awarded in December 1996; actual construction commenced in August 2000. The lead ship contract contained options for the New Orleans (LPD 18) (FY 1999) and one of the FY 2000 follow-on ships, Mesa Verde (LPD 19). These options were exercised in December 1998 and February 2000. A negotiated modification added the second FY 2000 ship, Green Bay (LPD 20), in May 2000. The Navy awarded the contract to build New York (LPD 21), in November 2003 and a Request for Proposal is pending for the award of San Diego (LPD 22).

In 2002, the Navy initiated an agreement in which Bath Iron Works ceased building LPD 17 ships by swapping responsibilities for their four LPD 17 class ships with Northrop Grumman Ship Systems for four DDG 51 class ships.  Northrop Grumman will construct all ships at their Gulf Coast shipyards. At the end of 2003, construction of San Antonio was more than 80 percent complete, New Orleans was more than 35% complete, and Mesa Verde was more than 25% complete. The keel of Green Bay was laid in August 2003 and the bow stem of New York was cast in September 2003, using tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center.

The operational flexibility of Amphibious Readiness Groups (ARGs) will be significantly enhanced with the FY 02 delivery of the USS San Antonio, the first of nine landing assault ships to be procured between FY 1996 and FY 2003. This represents a reduction from twelve ships initially planned over this period in 1997. The FY 1999 budget request included $638 million for the second of this 12 ship program. This amount, in conjunction with the $96M of advance procurement provided by Congress in FY 1998, fully funds this ship. Construction of LPD 18, the second ship of the class, is scheduled to begin in FY 99 with procurement of two additional ships planned for FY 2000, with a total procurement of an additional nine ships by fiscal year 2003. The plan is to procure a total of twelve LPD 17s to replace 27 amphibious ships from the classes now in service. This plan will not only modernize amphibious forces, but will also result in significant manpower and life-cycle cost savings by reducing the total fleet manning required for the older amphibious ships that are replaced.

As of October 1999 it was reported that the LPD-17 could cost as much $245 million above the original estimate, a 41 percent cost increase for the first ship in that class. And as of March 2000 Litton Industries was about 30 percent over budget and 10 months behind schedule in building the LPD-17, which was is estimated to cost $802 million -- $185 million more than its $617-million target cost.

The SPS-73 system is a commercial surface search radar that replaced the SPS-67 and SPS-64 radars. More reliable than the other two radars, the SPS-73 consolidates training requirements, reduces maintenance, and possesses lower acquisition costs. The net result is a better radar that will save as much as $30 million dollars over the lifetime of the 12-ship LPD 17 class

The Advanced Enclosed Mast/Sensor (AEM/S) System was selected for installation on SAN ANTONIO (LPD-17)-class amphibious transport dock ships. The LPD-17 AEM/S System is an octagonal, detachable structure that enables affordable modular upgrade of future combat sensors and Command, Control, MastCommunications, Computer, and Intelligence (C4I) systems. The Office of Naval Research and the LPD-17 program office undertook a risk mitigation effort to leverage the Navyís investment in the AEM/S System ATD. The LPD-17 transition will build on and extend the technology developed by the demonstration, significantly reducing cost and risk.

The AEM/S System mast [a 93-foot-high hexagonal structure 35 feet in diameter ] is constructed of a multi-layer, frequency-selective composite material designed to allow passage of own-ship sensor frequencies with very low loss while reflecting other frequencies. The mastís shape is designed to provide a smooth silhouette to reduce radar cross section. Signature and electro-magnetic design requirements are based on criteria associated with sensor and antenna performance, electro-magnetic interference, lighting protection electromagnetic shielding, and electrical bonding and grounding.

Traditionally World War II and post-War Navy ship design used a stick mast to mount radars and communications antennas.  The AEM/S System serves the dual-purpose of both supporting and protecting ship sensors.  It provides the structural support of a traditional mast while providing protection from the elements.  Its new function is enabled by the mastís composite hybrid frequency selective surface that allows radar and communication signals to pass through. In LPD 17 the AEM/S System will enclose or support the SPS-48E three dimensional search radar, the SPQ-9B horizon search radar, the TACAN, and all of the shipís communications antennas. The AEM/S System concept totally modified ship appearance topside and improves the war fighting capability through reduced radar cross-section signature, improved sensor performance, and greatly reduced maintenance costs of the mast and antennas. The concept was proven at-sea on the RADFORD (DD 968) and two of the masts will be installed in each ship of the SAN ANTONIO (LPD 17) Class.

Participating in the development, design, and construction of the AEM/S System were representatives of the Office of Naval Research, Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Research Laboratory, Carderock and Dahlgren Divisions of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Naval Command and Control and Ocean Surveillance Center, and Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Industry participants were Ingalls Shipbuilding, Seemann Composites, Mission Research Corporation, Material Sciences Corporation, Ohio State University, and Analysis & Technology. Northrop Grumman Ships Systems builds the AEM/S System, the largest composite material structure ever installed in U.S. Navy ships.


Length, LBP             200.0m	661 ft
Length, Overall 208.5m 684 ft
Beam, Extreme 31.9m 105 ft
Draft, FL 7.0m 23 ft
Displacement Full Load: approx. 25000
PERFORMANCE Sustained Speed, kts ~22

Total Ship Troops Surge Transient
Officers 109 32 66 11 0
CPO/SNCO 82 34 42 6 0
Enlisted 1005 330 591 84 0
Total 1202 396 699 101 6

MISSION SYSTEMS Vehicles/Carg (Net):
  • Three Vehicle Decks (2229 sq m)
  • Two Cargo/Ammo Magazines (963 cu m)
  • Cargo Fuel, JP-5 (1190 cu m)
  • Cargo Fuel, MOGAS (38 cu m)
  • Two LCACs
Medical and Dental:
  • Two Operating Rooms
  • 24 Person Hospital Ward
  • Two Dental Operating Rooms
AVIATION FACILITIES Hangar: "O" Level Maintenance Facilities for:
  • One CH-53E, or Two CH-46s, or One MV-22, or Three UH/AH-1s

  • Two CH-53s, or Four AH/UH-1s, or Four CH-46s, or Two MV-22s, or One AV-8B Harrier
  • MAIN PROPULSION 4 - Medium Speed Sequentially Turbocharged Marine Diesels
    2 - Shafts
    2 - Single Reversing Reduction Gears
    2 - Inboard Rotating (top) Controllable Pitch Propellers
    ELECTRIC PLANT 5 - 2500 KW Ship Service Marine Diesel Generators
    5 - Main Ship Service 60 Hz SWBS
    3 - Ship Service 400 Hz SWBS
    3 - 60 to 400 Hz solid State Frequency changers
    Zonal 60 Hz Power distribution system
    Magnetic Signature Control System
    AUXILIARIES   7 - 200 ton A/C plants
      3 - 24000  GPD Reverse Osmosis Desalination Units
    10 - 1000 GPM Navy Standard Firepumps
      2 - MP Air Compressors
      3 - LP Air Compressors
      3 - Deballast Air Compressors
    Navigation Digital Flux Gate Magnetic Compass
    An/WSN-7(V)1 Inertial Navigation System
    AN/WQN-2 Doppler Sonar Velocity Log Sys
    AN/UQN-4A Sonar Sounding Set
    Dead Reckoning System
    Voyage Management System
    Ships Weapons 2 - Mk 31 Mod 1 RAM Guided Missile Weapon System
    2 - Mk 46 Mod 1 30mm Gun (Ship version of Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle Gun)
    4 - MK 26 Mod 17 .50 Cal Machine Guns
    Command & Control: AN/SPQ-14 (V) - Advanced Sensor Distribution System (ASDS)
    MK 2 SSDS
    AN/USQ-119E (V) 27 - Global Command and Control System Ė Maritime (GCCS-M)
    AN/KSQ-1 Amphibious Assault Direction System
    MK 91, 2 Channel MFCS
    AN/USG-2 CEC
    Radar Systems AN/SPS-48E
    EW & Decoy Systems AN/SLQ-25A NIXIE
    MK 36 SRBOC
    MK 53 / NULKA


    Name Number Builder Homeport Ordered Commissioned Decommissioned
    San Antonio LPD-17 Northrop-Grumman Norfolk, VA 17 December 1996
    New Orleans LPD-18 Northrop-Grumman San Diego, CA 25 November 1998

    Mesa Verde
    LPD-19 Northrop-Grumman
    February 2000

    Green Bay
    LPD-20 Northrop-Grumman
    May 2000

    New York
    LPD-21 Northrop-Grumman
    November 2003

    San Deigo
    LPD-22 Northrop-Grumman

    LPD-23 Northrop-Grumman

    LPD-24 Northrop-Grumman

    LPD-25 Northrop-Grumman




    LPD-17 - Initial Design

    LPD-17 New Design

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    Updated Saturday, September 15, 2004 10:39:25 AM