The USS New York represents the fifth vessel in the San-Antonio class and the sixth ship to be named after the great American city. The San Antonio-class is the United States Navy's premiere amphibious transport dock (LPD) which began entering commissioned service in 2006. Twelve such systems are ultimately planned with five now (as of this writing) in operational duty. The San Antonio-class of ships is slated to replace some forty or so total surface warships for the United States Navy by program's end. The USS New York will supply the United States Marine Corps with a highly-capable and thoroughly advanced surface warship to assist their various amphibious operations around the world, in both wartime and peacetime.
USS New York Walk-Around
Like the other San Antonio-class ships, the USS New York's profile is dominated by her two octagonal-shaped pyramid funnel towers atop her two superstructures. The bow is curved at the deck and tapers off sharply down into the waterline while the large-area flight deck is clearly visible at the stern of the craft. The hangar door can be seen off of the flight deck and faces the stern. A large access drop ramp is located above the water line at the face of the stern (under the flight deck). The forward-placed RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) system is offset to the left of the superstructure just forward and below the bridge whilst the rear-facing RAM system is offset to the right of the rear superstructure, above the hangar door. A utility crane can be seen with its base set along the port side. The internal rear storage area of the USS New York allows amphibious landing craft to enter and exit through the large rear loading ramp. Internally, amidships is divided into three separate floors housing the applicable Marine amphibious vehicles and the like. Air elements are kept in the hangar above and operate along the reinforced flight deck as needed. The San Antonio-class also makes use of a very distinct-looking angular hull shape.
Dimensions and Performance
The USS New York sports an overall length of 684 feet and a 661-foot length at the waterline. She has a 105 overall beam measure and a 97-foot beam measure at the waterline. Her draught is listed at 23 feet. Power is supplied by 4 x sequentially-turbocharged marine Cold-Pielstick diesel engines delivering 41,600 shaft horsepower to two shafts. This arrangement will allow for a top listed speed of 22 knots.
The Goods - Hoorah
The base crew is made up of 332 enlisted personnel as well as 28 officers. The LDP-21 can typically house up to 700 Marines made up of 633 enlisted soldiers and 66 officers though an absolute maximum limit of 800 Marines is noted. Unique to the San-Antonio class of surface warship is the capability to field the MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor helicopter, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) and the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) series of vehicles all in one vessel. These vehicles represent the primary options of the quick mobile reaction as required of the US Marine Corps. As such, the USS New York makes room for 2 LCAC craft, 14 EFVs and up to 3 x MV-22B Osprey systems (one internally in the hangar and up to two running simultaneously on the flight deck). Additionally, a Landing Craft Utility (LCU) unit can supplant the twin LCAC systems. The USS New York can also take on fourteen additional Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV) in the form of the AAVP7 series for beach assaults. Other land-based vehicles can be stowed onboard as well, with these made up of transport trucks, utility HUMVEEs and bulldozers.
The air arm can further be strengthened by the landing and launching of up to 2 x Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallions, 4 x Boeing CH-46 twin-rotor Sea Knights, 4 x Bell AH-1 SeaCobra attack helicopters and 4 x Bell UH-1 Iroquois utility helicopters. All this supplying the vital air support needed in any amphibious-minded operation.
The vessel is defensed from potential airborne threats by a pair of Bushmaster II 30mm cannons for close-in work and a pair of RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) launchers for fast-moving short-range targets. One of each is fitted to the fore and aft ends of the ship. The Bushmaster II is a 30mm chain gun produced by Alliant Techsystems, headquartered out of Minnesota, and is based on the 25mm M242 Bushmaster as found on the M2 Bradley. It has since become a standardized weapon system in both American and foreign military vehicles and aircraft. The RAM system is a naval-based lightweight, infra-red homing surface-to-air missile system that entered operational service in 1992. The system is used primarily to fend off incoming enemy anti-ship cruise missiles. Additional close-in support is handled by various Browning M2 12.7mm (.50 caliber) heavy machine gun emplacements mounted fore, aft and along the sides at various deck levels.
USS New York Timeline
The USS New York's construction was awarded to Northrop Grumman Ship Systems on November 25th, 2003. She was laid down on September 10th, 2004 and launched on December 20th, 2007. The vessel was christened on March 1st, 2008, and officially commissioned on November 7th, 2009. She fights under the motto of "Strength forged through sacrifice. Never forget.". The USS New York has already shown her resilience in 2005, surviving the epic Hurricane Katrina while under construction in New Orleans, Louisiana.
After the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11th, 2001, a formal request was sent from New York State Governor George E. Pataki to the Secretary of the Navy - Gordon England - to christen a US Navy war surface vessel with the name of "New York". As such, LPD-21 was given the name of USS New York and will be followed by the USS Arlington (LPD-24) and USS Somerset (LPD-25) into service to commemorate the victims of the 9/11 attacks at Arlington, Virginia (Pentagon) and Somerset County, Pennsylvania (Flight 93).
CDR F. Curtis Jones of the United States Navy is the USS New York's first commanding officer.