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(formerly LX Class)

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 including MV22), landing craft (LCAC), amphibious vehicles (AAAV), 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:

On December 17, 1996 Avondale Industries, Inc., Avondale, LA, was awarded a $641,370,625 cost-plus-award-fee contract for detail design, integration and construction of USS San Antonio (LPD 17), Amphibious Transport Dock Ship, with options for construction of LPD-18 and LPD-19. On April 7, 1997 the General Accounting Office (GAO) denied the protest by the Ingalls Shipbuilding team with respect to the initial contract to design, construct and support the LPD-17.

The contract award provides for options exercisable by the US Navy for two additional LPD vessels to be built by the alliance. Under the terms of an agreement between the alliance members, Avondale will build the vessel covered by the December 1996 contract and, if the US Navy exercises the two options, Avondale would also construct the second while Bath would construct the third of the three LPD-17 vessels. Raytheon is responsible for total ship integration. In accordance with the U.S. Navy's requirement of a streamlined contractual relationship, the alliance's agreement provides that Avondale will act as the prime contractor for all three vessels, and as such, Avondale will be responsible for submitting invoices for not only its own costs, but also any costs incurred by Bath and Raytheon. If the US Navy awards contracts to the alliance to construct all twelve ships, Avondale would construct eight ships and Bath would construct four ships.

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, Communications, 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.

The AEM/S System mast is an enclosed structure that protects radars and communication antennas from weather exposure and provides access for repairs, thus greatly reducing maintenance costs and risk of failure. The top half is divided into two radome-like compartments; the upper compartment houses the Mk 23 Target Acquisition System (TAS) antenna and the lower encloses the AN/SPS-40 air search antenna. Structural design requirements for strength and stiffness meet Fleet requirements for vibration, shock, and fatigue.

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.


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
Current Configuration

 		Total	Ship	Troops	Surge	Transient  
Officers		 115	 33	 66	11	6
CPO/SNCO		  82	 34	 42	 6	0
Enlisted		1005	330	591	84	0
Total  		1202	 396	699	101	6

Initial Configuration

                Total   Ship    Troops  Surge
Officers        100     34      66      10
CPO/SNCO        71      30      41      6
Enlisted/Troops 1026    429     597     75
Total           1288    493     704     91
MISSION SYSTEMS Vehicles/Carg (Net):
  • Three Vehicle Decks (2323 sq m)
  • Two Cargo/Ammo Magazines (708 cu m)
  • Cargo Fuel, JP-5 (1190 cu m)
  • Cargo Fuel, MOGAS (38 cu m)
  • Two LCACs
  • Two Operating Rooms
  • 24 Person Hospital Ward
  • 100 Casulity Overflow Capacity
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 Turbocharged Marine Diesels
    2 - Shafts
    2 - Single Reversing Reduction Gears
    2 - Inboard Rotating (top) Fixed 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
    Advanced Deguassing System
    AUXILIARIES 7 - 700 KW Non-CFC Air conditioning Plants
    5 - 12000 GPD Reverse Osmosis Desalination Plants
    10 - 1000 GPM Navy Standard Firepumps
    2 - HP 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
    Navigation Telex System
    Ships Weapons 1 - MK 41, 16 Cell VLS, (Space & Weight)
    2 - MK 31 Mod 0 RAM Launchers
    2 - MK 46 Mod 1 30mm Machine Guns
    2 - MK 26 Mod 17 .50 Cal Machine Guns
    Command & Control: AN/SPQ-12(V) Radar Display Dist. Distribution System
    MK 2 SSDS
    AN/USQ-119C(V)27 JMCIS
    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 Avondale 17 Dec 1996Sep 2002
    New OrleansLPD-18 Avondale25 Nov 1998 Aug 2003
    LPD-19 Bath Nov 1999Jun 2004
    LPD-20 AvondaleNov 1999Dec 2004
    LPD-21 AvondaleNov 2000Jun 2005
    LPD-22 BathNov 2000Dec 2005
    LPD-23 AvondaleNov 2001Jun 2006
    LPD-24 AvondaleNov 2001Dec 2006
    LPD-25 BathNov 2002Jun 2007
    LPD-26 AvondaleNov 2002Dec 2007
    LPD-27 AvondaleNov 2003Jun 2008
    LPD-28 BathNov 2003Dec 2008

    LPD-17 - Initial Design

    LPD-17 New Design

    Sources and Resources

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    Maintained by Robert Sherman
    Originally created by John Pike
    Updated Saturday, October 14, 2000 7:12:24 AM