The Navy had historically met its sealift requirements through three 3,600-ton large tank landing ships, five 1,100-ton medium tank landing ships and six 500-ton utility landing craft. Combined, these vessels were barely able to transport an Army brigade of about 3,000 troops.
There are three types of major amphibious warfare vessels: the amphibious transport dock [formerly known as landing platform dock (LPD) or landing ship dock (LSD)], the amphibious assault ship or landing platform helicopter (LPH), and the landing ship, tank (LST). The LPD carried a fully-equipped mechanised battalion (800-1,000 men) which is delivered to the shore in small landing craft or, increasingly, landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) operated from a flooded dock area in the ship's stern. Most LPDs also have provision for helicopter operations with a flight deck over the flooded dock area and they often have helicopter hanger space. The role of the LPD is complemented by the LPH, which has rotary-wing aircraft as the prime means of delivering troops and supplies. The LPH plays a similar role to the LPD, and often incorporates a flooded dock area with landing craft or LCACs. The first American LPHs were conventional aircraft carriers converted to the helicopter assault role. By contrast to these vessels, the LST is designed to deliver a company-sized force direct to shore. It is a shallow draft vessel which discharges its passengers over (or through) the bow.
The LPD and LPH are well suited to provide humanitarian aid. The large amphibious warfare vessel can be used to rush troops to meet a military crisis, which happened in Brunei in 1962, or to provide aid after a disaster as happened in Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami or to move populations as happened in Vietnam in 1954-1955. They may also be used in amphibious assaults although there have no forcible entry operations since the Second World War, apart from the Inchon landing in 1950.
The Indian Navy has built landing ships for tanks; it has bought the INS Jalashwa (formerly the USS Trenton) from the United States. INS Jalashwa (ex USS Trenton) acquired from US(Navy) was commissioned at Norfolk (USA) on June 22, 2007. Subsequently, on completion of trials, the ship commenced her passage to India on August 2, 2007. The ship reached Visakhapatnam on September 9, 2007. She adds a new dimension to the Indian Navy's operational prowess and provides flexibility of use for a large variety of roles including Disaster Relief during natural calamities. The ship is the first Landing Platform Dock (LPD) in the Indian Navy.
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