The USS San Antonio represents the lead ship in her 9-strong San Antonio-class of 21st Century amphibious transport dock ships (or Dock Landing Ship). Her primary role is in the delivery of marine forces via sea or land and does so through the use of hovercraft, conventional landing craft and helicopter systems. Despite being ordered in the mid-1990's, the vessel was not launched until 2003 and even as late as 2007, several critical problems were reported in need of resolution forcing the USS San Antonio to be in drydock until the errors were rectified.
Design-wise, the USS San Antonio and her class sport a sleek and stealthy exterior. The profile is dominated by two large towering elements atop her elongated superstructure. The bridge is carried forward in the island and the hull features a shortened forecastle area and a large stern surface to accept helicopter landings and take-offs. The sides of the vessel are designed as such where the contour of the hull rolls directly into the superstructure sides making her appear to take on a most streamlined look, no doubt assisting in her reported stealth-like characteristics on the high seas. A large service crane can be seen fitted to the port side of the superstructure, aft of the bridge and forward tower, and is fully retractable into the design when not in use. In short, much care was placed into the exterior design of the vessel, so much so that even surface components are hidden or streamlined when necessary to maintain such a design appearance.
In her amphibious assault role, the USS San Antonio can field a variety of sea/land-going systems. This includes up to fourteen Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles (EFV), two LCAC (Landing Craft, Air Cushioned) hovercraft systems or one LCU (Landing Craft Utility) in place of the two LCACs. These landing craft are supplemented by the vessels ability to field several makes of rotary aircraft as well and include CH-46 Sea Knight twin-rotor and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport type helicopters serviced by the aft flight deck. Two aircraft can be held in the hangar decks (depending on type) below and take-off and landings can be handled simultaneously. A large well deck provides service support for the landing craft.
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USS San Antonio (LPD-17); USS New Orleans (LPD-18); USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19); USS Green Bay (LPD-20); USS New York (LPD-21); USS San Diego (LPD-22); USS Anchorage (LPD-23); USS Arlington (LPD-24); USS Somerset (LPD-25); USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26); USS Portland (LPD-27); USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28); Unnamed (LPD-29) Ships-in-Class
A shallow draught, and other qualities, give this vessel the ability to support amphibious assault operations close-to-shore.
684.0 feet (208.48 meters) Length
105.0 feet (32.00 meters) Beam
23.0 feet (7.01 meters) Draught
25,000 tons Displacement
4 x Colt-Pielstick diesel engines delivering 42,000bhp to 2 x shafts. Propulsion
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