The LPD 17 class, the Navy’s newest class of amphibious transport docks, has reached Initial Operating Capability. With the first three ships of the class commissioned, achieving IOC is an important accomplishment for this transformational class of amphibious warships. “We’ve had some challenges to overcome with LPD 17,” said Rear Adm. Charles Goddard, program executive officer for ships. “But reaching this milestone is a testament to the collaborative efforts between the Navy and shipbuilding industry.” USS San Antonio, the first of the LPD 17-class of amphibious transport dock ships, completed a Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) underway material inspection Nov. 26-30, 2007, at Naval Station Norfolk. INSURV found that was fit for sustained combat service in the Fleet. LPD 17’s crew will continue to train and prepare for her maiden deployment, and will move from unit level training through integrated operations with its strike group.
The ship is on track to deploy with the USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) in 2008.
Two other ships of the class, USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), have been commissioned and are also undergoing unit level training.
At least six more ships of this class will be joining the fleet over the next several years.
(LPD 20) is in the final phases of construction and is preparing for sea trials this summer. Perhaps the most well-known of these ships -- due to the inclusion of steel in the hull -- the future USS New York (LPD 21) was christened March 1. (LPD 22) and (LPD 23) have already had their keels laid, and (LPD 24) and (LPD 25) are under contract with Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding.
The class brings greatly improved warfighting capabilities to the fleet, including an advanced command and control suite, increased lift capacity with substantial increases in vehicle and cargo carrying capability and advanced ship survivability features. Each ship is capable of embarking a landing force of up to 800 Marines and supports the Landing Craft Air Cushion vehicle, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, and the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, making the LPD 17 class a critical element of today’s and tomorrow’s Expeditionary Strike Groups.