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LKA-113 Charleston

The amphibious cargo ships are the first class of ship designed specifically to carry troops, heavy equipment and supplies in support of amphibious assaults. Four of the five ships in the class had been transferred to the reserve fleet in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The need for additional sealift capacity resulted in all four being returned to the active fleet in 1982-1982. They are among the first Navy ships to have a fully automated main propulsion plant.

The lead ship of the class, USS Charleston (LKA-113) was decommissioned in 1992, and was joined by USS Saint Louis (LKA-116) in FY-93. Both ships were mothballed for possible activation in the future. The remaining ships will remain active through the end of their service life.

In 1993, as part of its Bottom-Up Review, the Department of Defense examined the amount of amphibious lift that would be required to fight two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts. It concluded that the Navy should maintain enough lift to transport the personnel, aircraft, landing ships, vehicles, and supplies for 2.5 marine expeditionary brigades or MEB's.

Under the 1994 Navy concept for maintaining 2.5 MEB's worth of vehicle space in the amphibious shipping fleet, two amphibious cargo ships [LKA-113 class] were retained in a reserve status that would enable them to be available for active service in a few days. Three more LKA's were stored in a nesting arrangement in which several months could be required to make them available for an emergency. The Navy's plan for these five LKA's was intended to maintain the necessary amphibious lift capability.


Power Plant
Length Overall Length: 576 ft
Waterline Length: 550 ft
Beam Extreme Beam: 82 ft
Waterline Beam: 82 ft
Draft Maximum Navigational Draft: 26 ft
Draft Limit: 28 ft
Displacement Light Displacement: 10216 tons
Full Displacement: 18589 tons
Dead Weight: 8373 tons
Speed knots ( mph)
Crew Officers: 34
Enlisted: 375


Name Number Builder Homeport Ordered Commissioned Decommissioned
Charleston LKA 113 Newport News11 Jun 196514 Dec 196827 Apr 1992
Durham LKA 114 Newport News11 Jun 196524 May 196925 Feb 1994
Mobile LKA 115 Newport News11 Jun 196529 Sep 196904 Feb 1994
St. Louis LKA 116 Newport News11 Jun 196522 Nov 196902 Nov 1992
El Paso LKA 117 Newport News22 Aug 196617 Jan 197021 Apr 1994

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Wednesday, February 24, 1999 8:13:25 PM