Photo: John Hamilton / US Navy
Able to carry 800 Marines and their gear anyplace they need to go — the San Antonio Class Amphibious Transport Dock is vital for projecting U.S. forces abroad: but they don’t come cheap.The newest vessel will cost American taxpayers about $1.5 billion and is designed to be the the most survivable amphibious assault ship ever designed.
While the defence Department’s director of evaluations doesn’t agree, and thinks the ship’s critical systems aren’t reliable, and the ship will crumble against an attack — it didn’t stop the Pentagon from purchasing one more — last week.
Given the ship’s weighty cost and its debatable abilities we thought we’d take a look at what the Pentagon’s getting for the taxpayers’ dollars.
The Navy's six active San Antonio-class amphibious Landing Platform Dock ships are an integral part of the Navy's future
The flight deck holds up to four Sea Knight helicopters that together can transport 100 troops or 28,000 pounds of cargo
As important as the hanger deck is, the real advantage of the Amphibious Transport Dock ship is down below decks
Shown here completely open, the New York's well deck is prepared to take in an Amphibious Assault Vehicle.
The LCAC hovercraft can hold 60 tons of material and is armed with two machine guns and multiple weapon mounts
The Amphibious Transport Dock can alternatively hold a single conventional Landing Craft Utility boat
The ships are powered by four diesel engines; here, a sailor fires a shot-line to a replenishment oiler so that the USS New Orleans can refuel on the go
The ships often have some relationship with their namesake city, like the USS Green Bay's love of the Packers
The soon-to-be-commissioned Somerset was launched in April and incorporates steel from near the site of the crash of Flight 93 in Somerset County, PA
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