LSD-36 Anchorage class
Dock Landing Ships support amphibious operations including landings via Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), conventional landing craft and helicopters, onto hostile shores. These ships transport and launch amphibious craft and vehicles with their crews and embarked personnel in amphibious assault operations.
The Anchorage class Dock Landing Ship (LSD) designed to operate as an integral part of a balanced, mobile and modern amphibious strike force. The ship couples a well deck with a flight deck to give greater dimension to the Navy's troop and vehicle lifting capability. Primarily designed to transport pre-loaded heavy landing craft to the shore and discharge them rapidly, the ship is also equipped with machine shops and facilities to provide dry docking and repairs to small boats.
Intrinsic in the well deck operation is a ballasting system that fills the deck with sea water to a depth necessary for loading landing craft such as the LCU and LCAC. The ships are designed to transport and operate heavy landing craft from a large well deck, and have been modified for operations with the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC). Wet well evolutions are facilitated through the use of complex, electro-hydraulically controlled ballasting and deballasting systems. They can accommodate (with/without portable mezzanine deck installed) 2/3 LCAC, 1/3 LCU, 6/9 LCM(8), or 12/18 LCM(6) or 50 LVT in the 131.06 x 15.24 well deck. One LCM(6), 1 LCP, and 2 LCPL can be stowed on deck, handled by the two 50-ton cranes. They have 1,115 m2 of vehicle parking space forward of the docking well.
The helicopter landing platform can be used in support of helicopter assaults and logistic operations. The helicopter deck is removable and has one landing spot. Up to 90 tons JP-5 fuel is carried for helicopters. The ships' habitability features provide for the berthing, messing and cargo transportation of approximately 300 fully equipped combat troops of the landing force in addition to the 360 crew members assigned. Installed electronic equipment includes air, navigation, and surface search radars, a complete communications suite and an Electronic Emitter Detection System to support the ship's amphibious mission.
USS Mount Vernon was the first West Coast ship to be modified for operations with the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), used for transportation of personnel and equipment for amphibious operations. Mk 56 and Mk 63 directors were removed in 1977, two twin 76.2-mm gunmounts by 1990, and remaining 76.2-mm mounts in 1993-94. LSD 40 has SPS-67(V)1 radar vice SPS-10 and SPS-40E vice B-D series; LSD 38 may retain the Raytheon SPS-69 Pathfinder vice the modern SPS-64(V)9 navigational radar. LSD 39 employed for first at-sea firings of Army ATACMS artillery rocket system, achieving a 75 nm range in 1995.
Two Anchorage-class LSD-36s were retired from service by FY 1999. The ex-LSD 38 Pensacola, an Anchorage-class dock landing ship, was leased by the Republic of China Navy from the United States. The ship was commissioned into Taiwan's Navy in early July 2000, following completion of the combat readiness program for the amphibious vessel. Renamed "Hsuhai," the ship replaced the landing ship "Chung Cheng". A second Anchorage-class ship may be acquired by Taiwan.
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