Landing platform helicopter

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Landing platform helicopter (LPH) is a term used by some navies to denote a type of amphibious warfare ship designed primarily to operate as a launch and recovery platform for helicopters and other VTOL aircraft. As such, they are considered a type of helicopter carrier.

USS Iwo Jima, a former U.S. landing platform helicopter ship. Since the last one was decommissioned in 2002, the U.S. no longer uses LPH ships.

Under the NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) document for reporting vessels, LPH is a short form designator used for "Amphibious Assault Ship, Helicopter" defined as a "large helicopter carrier" for carrying and deploying around 1,800 assault troops using its own aircraft, but for which use of landing craft is "not a principal function". For ships of this hull classification in the Royal Navy, LPH is a direct acronym for "Landing Platform Helicopter", while the United States Navy referred to its vessels within this classification as "Landing ship, Personnel, Helicopter",[1] and after 2006 as "amphibious assault ships". The etymology is L for amphibious, P for transport, and H for helicopter. Regardless of the terminology, all vessels classified as an LPH possess essentially similar capabilities.

The Royal Navy also used the term "Commando Carrier", which it applied to aircraft carriers converted to helicopter only operations. Prior to selling the vessel to the Brazilian Navy in 2018, the RN operated HMS Ocean as an LPH. Following the British government's decision to withdraw its Harrier aircraft at the end of 2010, the former light fleet carrier HMS Illustrious also performed this role until decommissioning in 2014.

The LPH classification was used by the U.S. Navy for the amphibious assault ships of the Iwo Jima class, a converted Casablanca-class escort carrier and three converted Essex-class aircraft carriers. No ships of this classification are currently in active service with the U.S. Navy, having been replaced with multi-purpose ships classified under NATO naming conventions as landing helicopter dock or landing helicopter assault ships.

Ships classified as LPHEdit

Royal NavyEdit

HMS Ocean, a former British LPH.

Royal Navy "Commando Carriers and "Amphibious Helicopter Carriers"

United States NavyEdit

USS Okinawa, a former U.S. LPH, in the Persian Gulf.

Republic of Korea NavyEdit

ROKS Dokdo, a South Korean LPH.

Brazilian NavyEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Friedman, Norman (2002). U.S. Amphibious Ships and Craft: An Illustrated Design History. Illustrated Design Histories. Naval Institute Press. p. 656. ISBN 1-55750-250-1. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  2. ^ HMS Ocean - History Archived 2011-09-20 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "HMS Ocean to be decommissioned in 2018, MoD announces". BBC News. 2015-11-24. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  4. ^ News, Defense. "royal-navys-helicopter-assault-carrier-ocean-decommissioned". Defense News. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  5. ^ Note: In 2010, the entire fixed wing fleet of Harriers was grounded and subsequently sold in 2011 to the USMC for replacement parts. Thereafter, Illustrious only carried helicopters as no carrier-capable combat aircraft remained in the UK inventory. See: HMS Illustrious (R06)
  6. ^ "World Aircraft Carriers List: US Assault Carriers".