The San Antonio-class (LPD-17) is a landing platform dock (LPD) built by Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII)—formerly Northrop Grumman Ship System—for the US Navy and Marine Corps in replacement of the aging fleets of amphibious ships commissioned in the ’60s—including the Austin-class LPDs, the Newport-class tank landing ships, the Anchorage-class dock landing ships, and the Charleston-class amphibious cargo ships. These sea-based platforms are expected to reliably deliver the so-called’ mobility triad’ of the Marine Corps, including advanced amphibious assault vehicles (AAAVs), landing craft air cushions (LCACs), and the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft anywhere in the world.

As modern warfare shifted toward utilizing more sophisticated technology, the Navy initiated its LPD 17 program by late 1996, starting with the first landing platform to be built by HII alongside General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Raytheon Electronic Systems, and Intergraph Corporation. Apart from keeping up with 21st-century technology, the program aimed to integrate a more survivable warship equipped with improved fragmentation, nuclear blast protection, and a shock-hardened structure. Moreover, reducing costs by significantly cutting the number of the crew down to 360 through automation but has maintained, if not doubled, the capacity to accommodate more vehicles, landing craft, and aircraft on deck. Thus, making it more reliable in bulk arsenal transport and boosting its capability to do recovery missions.

Accordingly, the class ships are estimated to be more than 45 percent larger than the Austin class, with a length of about 684 feet, 105 feet width, and a displacement of more than 25,000 tons at full load. The ship overall uses steel in its hull and is equipped with a low radar cross-section. Most, especially the latest San Antonio-class LPDs, featured more modern systems.

As mentioned, ships under the class have a more spacious landing deck capable of accommodating at least two Sikorsky CH-53E, six Bell AH-1W, and four Boeing CH-46 helicopters or two Boeing Bell MV-22 Osprey aircraft. Meanwhile, inside the hangar deck, the amphibious landing platform a large enough aviation maintenance facilities to conduct repair and maintenance on these aircraft.,

For self-defense, each San Antonio-class LPD features weapon systems built by Raytheon, including two mk3 mod 0 launchers, two mk46 capable of firing up to 250 rounds per minute, and two mk26 mod 18 50-caliber machine guns, to name a few. In addition, a few of its latest vessels have been fitted with a ship self-defense system (SSDS), which Raytheon also developed. It includes multifunction radar, an advanced integrated electronic warfare system, and an infrared search-and-track (IRST) system. A fiber-optic shipboard vast area network (SWAN) can reliably connect the overall ship systems, sensors, and combat systems to its command consoles.

Other high-end technologies featured in the San Antonio class include countermeasure technology and sensors that protect the ship, crew, and military crafts onboard, such as the air search radar, surface surveillance and tracking radar, and surface search radar, among others. Additionally, ships began LPD-22 and later fitted with a more advanced integrated electronic warfare system (AIEWS) known as the Navy’s next-generation shipboard electronic warfare replacing the AN/SLQ-32(V) system.

Each ship is powered by four Colt-Pielstcik 2.5 STC diesel engines that deliver up to 40,000+ horsepower and two shafts.

Below are the fifteen San Antonio-class ships.

Flight I Production Configuration

USS San Antonio (LPD-17)

Never Retreat, Never Surrender

USS San Antonio (LPD 17)
USS San Antonio arrives in Baltimore. (Image source: DVIDS)

USS San Antonio (LPD-17) is the lead ship of her class and is the first US Navy warship to carry the namesake for the city of San Antonio, Texas. The building contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman Ship System (formerly Litton Avondale) and laid the keel of the amphibious transport dock in late 2000. The ship was launched on July 2003 and christened a few days later by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, who also served as LPD-17’s sponsor. San Antonio was scheduled for commissioning that same week however postponed due to technical issues and poor performance. Repairs and adjustments for the ship took three years to complete, mainly after Hurricane Katrina occurred in August 2005, when the vessel became the base for regional relief efforts. In January 2006, the Navy finally inducted the ship into service. It served as a flagship for Combined Task Force 151 during the multi-national anti-piracy naval force deterrence off coast Somalia as one of her first deployments.

Laid down: December 9, 2000

Status: In active service

Sponsor: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison

Homeport: Norfolk, Virginia

USS New Orleans (LPD-18)

Victory From The Sea

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USS New Orleans 2008
USS New Orleans during an ongoing certification exercise before deployment in 2008. (Image source: DVIDS)

Named after the most populous city of Louisiana, USS New Orleans is the second ship of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock built by HII for the US Navy. It was first ordered in 1998 and had its keel laid down in 2002. The ship was then christened in 2004 with Carolyn Shelton, wife of former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Henry H. Shelton, as its sponsor and was launched three weeks later. It took another two years for the builder’s trial to be completed before it was commissioned into service in March 2007, joining the Pacific Fleet. By 2008, however, the LPD had encountered some technical issues, delaying its official deployment until 2009. After its deficiencies were addressed, the ship departed its then-homeport in San Diego to join the five-ship expeditionary strike group (ESG) alongside USS Boxer (LHD-4) and USS Comstock (LSD-45).

In 2019, USS New Orleans joined the US 7th Fleet amphibious force and was transferred from San Diego to Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan, boosting the fleet strength of USS America (LHA-6), USS GreenBay (LPD-20), USS Ashland (LSD-48), and USS Germantown (LSD-42).

Laid down: October 14, 2002

Status: In active service

Sponsor: Carolyn Shelton

Homeport: Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan

USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19)

Courage – Teamwork – Tradition

USS Mesa Verde
Sailors stow an MV-22 Osprey in the hangar bay of USS Mesa Verde. (Image source: DVIDS)

USS Mesa Verde is her class’s third amphibious transport dock and the first Navy warship named after the Mesa Verde National Park, an archaeological site in Colorado. The building contract of the ship was awarded to HII in 2000, and her keel was laid down in 2003. LPD-19 was launched a year later and christened in early 2005 with Linda Price Campbell, wife of former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado, as the ship’s sponsor.

Laid down: February 25, 2003

Status: In active service

Sponsor: Linda Price Campbell

Homeport: Norfolk, Virginia

USS Green Bay (LPD-20)

Statum Bello Invictus Maneo (“Stand And Fight – Remain Unvanquished”)

USS Green Bay (LPD 20)
USS Green Bay moored to the pier during a port visit at Jebel Ali, UAE, in 2013. (Image source: DVIDS)

Named after the city and bay of Green Bay, Wisconsin, LPD-20 is the fourth ship of her class and the second Navy vessel to bear the namesake. HII built the amphibious transport soon after receiving its construction contract in 2000, laid her keel in 2003, christened in 2006, and commissioned it in 2009. The ship’s sponsor is the wife of Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert Magnus, Rose Magnus, and was initially homeported at Naval Base San Diego under the US Pacific Fleet until 2015 before it was forwarded to the US Naval Base in Nagasaki, Japan.

As of January 30, USS Green Bay is among the warships under the USS America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and is underway in the Philippine Sea.

Laid down: August 11, 2003

Status: In active service

Sponsor: Rose Magnus

Homeport: Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan

USS New York (LPD-21)

Strength Forged Through Sacrifice – Never Forget

USS New York LPD 21
USS New York is arriving at Pier 88, Manhattan, to participate in Veterans Week in 2013. (Image source: DVIDS)

USS New York (LPD-21) is the fifth ship of the Navy to bear the namesake of the state of New York; however, it is specifically bestowed to honor the victims of the tragic September 11 Terrorist Attacks. This was first requested by then New York Governor George E. Pataki, who wrote a letter to then Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England shortly after the attack to have a surface warship involved in the Global War on Terrorism carry the namesake—which the latter approved. England’s wife, Dotty England, also became the ship’s sponsor and was present during the bottle-smashing ceremony in 2008. In addition to the name, the salvaged steel debris from the World Trade Center was incorporated into the ship’s construction. Gordon also announced two other sister ships of New York would be named after Arlington and Somerset, two significant places related to the tragic incident.

Commissioned in the Navy in 2009, USS New York is the first San Antonio class amphibious transport dock to be designed fully from the CAD-screen capable of supporting both Marines’ Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) and MV-22B Osprey aircraft.

Laid down: September 10, 2004

Status: In active service

Sponsor: Dotty England

Homeport: Norfolk, Virginia

USS San Diego (LPD-22)

Semper Vigilans (“Always Vigilant”)

USS San Diego (LPD 22)
Overhead shot of USS San Diego steaming through the Pacific Ocean in 2016. (Image source: DVIDS)

The sixth amphibious transport dock of her class to be built and enter service, USS San Diego is the fourth ship named for San Diego, California—home to many of the Pacific Fleet’s ships. Its keel was laid down in May 2007 by HII alongside the ship’s sponsor, Linda Winter, wife of former Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter, and launched three years later. However, it took another two years for the LPD to complete its trials and be commissioned into service.

Laid down: May 23, 2007

Status: In active service

Sponsor: Linda Winter

Homeport: San Diego, California

USS Anchorage (LPD-23)

Nil Fato Relinquemus (“We Leave Nothing To Chance”)

USS Anchorage
USS Anchorage steamed off the coast of Southern California during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. (Image source: DVIDS)

USS Anchorage is the seventh ship of her class and the second Navy vessel to carry the namesake of Alaska’s largest city. Her keel was laid down in September 2007, launched in February 2011, and delivered to the Navy over a year later. The ship’s sponsor is Annette Conway, the wife of former Commandant of the Marine Corps James T. Conway. Besides ferrying military assets, LPD-23 also partook in spacecraft recovery missions, with its first participation in August 2014 during the Underway Recovery Test 2 of NASA’s Orion space capsule.

Laid down: September 24, 2007

Status: In active service

Sponsor: Annette Conway

Homeport: San Diego, California

USS Arlington (LPD-24)

Strength – Honor – Fortitude

USS Arlington
USS Arlington sails during a strait exercise in the Atlantic Ocean in 2015. (Image source: DVIDS)

USS Arlington is the third Navy ship to bear the namesake—the location of the Pentagon and the crash site of American Airlines Flight 77 during the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks. Like USS New York, LPD-24 commemorates the tragedy, with the steel debris from the Pentagon displayed aboard the ship’s museum. Her keel was authenticated and laid down by sponsor Joyce Rumsfeld, wife of former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on May 2008 and was launched in 2010. However, it took another three years for the amphibious transport dock to enter service in February 2013.

Months following its commissioning, USS Arlington conducted trials with NASA’s Orion spacecraft. Other operational histories of the ship include its deployment and monitoring in the Persian Gulf in 2019 after reports concerning suspicious Iranian activities reached the US.

Laid down: May 26, 2008

Status: In active service

Sponsor: Joyce Rumsfeld

Homeport: Norfolk, Virginia

USS Somerset (LPD-25)

Virtus Per Adversa (“Courage Through Adversity”)

USS Somerset (LPD 25)
USS Somerset moored in San Diego as it prepares to depart for a scheduled deployment in 2016. (Image source: DVIDS)

USS Somerset is the fourth Navy vessel to be named after its namesake. Like her sisters (USS New York and Arlington), this ship is named explicitly in honor of the courageous passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, who died during the September 11 terrorist suicide hijacking. The plane was en route to California when four al-Qaeda attackers hijacked the plane. Still, passengers were able to prevent reaching their intended target and instead forced it to crash in Stonycreek Township in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Apart from the namesake, a 22-ton steel from one of the large cranes that stood near the crash site was also melted and poured into the ship’s keel.

LPD-25 was launched on April 2012 and christened three months later with her sponsor, Mary Jo Myers—wife of former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—in attendance. A year later, the vessel completed its trials and was formally inducted into the Navy on March 2014.

Laid down: December 11, 2009

Status: In active service

Sponsor: Mary Jo Myers

Homeport: San Diego, California

USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26)

Make A Difference

USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26)
USS John P. Murtha steams off the coast of Southern California during its Final Contract Trials in 2017. (Image source: DVIDS)

Named in honor of the late Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania, the amphibious transport dock is the tenth of her class built by HII in 2011. A year later, she had her keel laid down by the ship’s sponsor Donna S. Murtha, the former congressman’s daughter, in attendance. Congressman Murtha was the first Vietnam War veteran elected to the House of Representatives back in ’74 and had served as either chairman or ranking minority member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee from ’89 to 2010. As the previous names of the San Antonio class followed a US city or location pattern, the name of LPD-26 was initially opposed by some members of Congress, citing Murtha’s questionable “call for withdrawing from the Iraq War in 2005 and his public accusations of Marines involved in the Haditha [massacre] incident” that same year.

Nonetheless, the LPD was launched in 2014, maintaining its namesake, and commissioned into service two years later.

Laid down: February 6, 2012

Status: In active service

Sponsor: Donna S. Murtha

Homeport: San Diego, California

USS Portland (LPD-27)

USS Portland
Two Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCAC) inside the wall deck of USS Portland. (Image source: DVIDS)

USS Portland (LPD-27) is the third Navy ship named after the city of Portland, Oregon, and had her keel-laying ceremony on August 3, 2013, and it took another three years for its launch. The ship’s sponsor is the wife of US Marine corps Commandant General James F. Amos, Bonnie Amos, who is known for being a devoted “sidekick and cheerleader” of General Amos and a dedicated advocate for military families.

Last year December 11, the LPD-27 was the designated recovery ship for the Orion capsule that was part of the Artemis 1 uncrewed Moon-orbiting mission.

Laid down: August 2, 2013

Status: In active service

Sponsor: Bonnie Amos

Homeport: San Diego, California

USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28)

Together We Fight

USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28)
USS Fort Lauderdale moored in Port Everglades on July 28, 2022. (Image source: DVIDS)

The first ship, named after Fort Lauderdale, Florida, LPD-28, is the 12th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock and was launched near the end of the first quarter of 2020. Her sponsor Meredith Berger—who served as deputy chief of staff under former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus—authenticated the keel plate in 2017. Some design improvements outfitted in USS Fort Lauderdale include a high-temperature superconductor-based mine protection degaussing system by American Superconductor and some initial features from the Navy’s next-generation dock landing ship.

Laid down: October 13, 2017

Status: In active service

Sponsor: Meredith Berger

Homeport: Norfolk, Virginia

USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD-29)

USS Richard M. McCool Jr.
Lt. Gen. David G. Bellon, Commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces South addressing the audience during the christening ceremony of USS Richard M. McCool Jr., at Pascagoula, Mississippi, on June 11, 2022. (Image source: DVIDS)

The 13th and final Flight I LPD of her class, USS Richard M. McCool Jr., bears the namesake of US Navy Medal of Honor recipient Captain McCool for his courageous actions during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II, where he rescued survivors from a sinking destroyer as well as saving his landing support ship. HII christened the ship last June, attended by both granddaughters of the ship’s namesake—who were also the LPN’s primary sponsors.

LPD-29 is the transitional ship between Flight I and II, featuring improved designs from her immediate predecessor, LPD-28, and some from LX(R)-class amphibious warfare ship. In addition, the final San Antonio-class landing platform is set to use the latest Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) volume air search radar. However, this feature is not fitted in USS Fort Lauderdale.

Laid down: April 12, 2019

Status: Fitting Out

Sponsor/s: Shana McCool, Kate Oja

Homeport: To be determined

Flight II Production Configuration

USS Harrisburg (LPD-30)

HII began the construction of the 14th San Antonio class and the first Flight II LPD shortly after receiving the $1.47 billion contract. USS Harrisburg—the second Navy ship named after the city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania—is an improved version of the class, featuring highly emphasized versatility, survivability, and self-defense capable of assisting the Navy and Marine operations Corps in future warfare.

January last year, the authentication ceremony of LPD-30 took place, attended by the ship’s sponsor Alexandra Curry, who had her initials etched into the keel plate by HII welders. Alexandra is the wife of Middletown, Pennsylvania, Mayor Jim Curry.

Laid down: January 28, 2022

Status: Under construction

Sponsor: Alexandra Curry

Homeport: To be determined

USS Pittsburgh (LPD-31)

The $1.50 billion construction contract for LPD-31 was awarded to HII in the second quarter of 2020. Once complete and delivered, USS Pittsburgh will be the 15th San Antonio class and the second Flight II LPD. Moreover, the ship is the fifth Navy vessel to bear the namesake, which Secretary of Navy Kenneth Braithwaite announced on January 15, 2021.

Status: Under construction

Sponsor: Nancy Urban

Homeport: To be determined

Meanwhile, two more “to be determined” ships have already been awarded to HII, with their designated name to be announced and construction to kickstart soon.