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Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship

The Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship is a dock landing ship of the United States Navy. Introduced to fleet service in 1985, this class of ship features a large well deck for the transport of United States Marine Corps (USMC) vehicles and a large flight deck for the landing of helicopters or V-22 Ospreys. The well deck was designed to hold four LCAC hovercraft, five if the vehicle ramp is raised, for landing Marines. Recent deployments have instead filled the well deck with a combination of LCU(s), AAVs, Tanks, LARCs and other USMC vehicles and gear. The Whidbey Island class of ship also uniquely benefits from multiple cranes and a shallow draft that further make it ideal for participating in amphibious operations.

US Navy 050117-F-4884R-015 he amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) makes a wide turn prior to conducting helicopter operations off the coast of the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.jpg
USS Fort McHenry conducting helicopter operations off the coast of Sumatra in 2005
Class overview
Name: Whidbey Island class
Builders: Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: Anchorage class
Succeeded by: Harpers Ferry class
Cost: $250m
In commission: 1985–present
Planned: 8
Completed: 8
Active: 8
General characteristics
Type: Dock landing ship
Displacement: 16,100 tons
Length: 609 ft (186 m)
Beam: 84 ft (26 m)
Draft: 19 ft 6 in (5.94 m)
Propulsion: 4 Colt Industries, 16-cylinder diesel engines, 2 shafts, 33,000 shp (25,000 kW)
Speed: over 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
4+1 LCACs or 21 LCM-6s or up to 36 Amphibious Assault Vehicles AAV or 3 LCUs.
Capacity: on deck: one LCM-6, two LCPL and one LCVP

30 officers, 300+ enlisted

Embarked Marine complement: up to 504
Aviation facilities: Large helicopter platform aft, no hangar

As of 2009, all ships of the class are scheduled to undergo a midlife upgrade over the next five years to ensure that they remain in service through to 2038. The ships will be upgraded each year through 2013, and the last ship will be modernized in 2014. Ships homeported on the East Coast will undergo upgrades at Metro Machine Corp., while those on the West Coast will receive upgrades at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego.[1]

Major elements of the upgrade package include diesel engine improvements, fuel and maintenance savings systems, engineering control systems, increased air conditioning and chill water capacity, and replacement of air compressors. The ships also replaced steam systems with all-electric functionality that will decrease maintenance effort and expense.[1]


Ship Name Hull No. Builder Laid Down Launched Commissioned Home Port NVR Page
Whidbey Island LSD-41 Lockheed, Seattle 4 August 1981 10 June 1983 9 February 1985 Little Creek, Virginia LSD41
Germantown LSD-42 5 August 1982 29 June 1984 8 February 1986 Sasebo, Japan LSD42
Fort McHenry LSD-43 10 June 1983 1 February 1986 8 August 1987 Mayport, Florida LSD43
Gunston Hall LSD-44 Avondale Shipyard 26 May 1986 27 June 1987 22 April 1989 Little Creek, Virginia LSD44
Comstock LSD-45 27 October 1986 15 January 1988 3 February 1990 San Diego, California LSD45
Tortuga LSD-46 23 March 1987 15 September 1988 17 November 1990 Little Creek, Virginia LSD46
Rushmore LSD-47 9 November 1987 6 May 1989 1 June 1991 San Diego, California LSD47
Ashland LSD-48 4 April 1988 11 November 1989 9 May 1992 Sasebo, Japan LSD48

Whidbey Island and Tortuga were scheduled to be decommissioned during the FYDP 2013-2018, and the remaining ships of the class were scheduled to be retired before the end of their service lives.[2] However, the Navy reversed its plan to decommission Whidbey Island,[3] and in 2015 Assistant Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley informed Congress of the Navy's plans to modernize Whidbey Island, Tortuga, and Germantown to extend them each to a 44-year total service life.[4] As of March 2015, the first Whidbey Island-class LSD to be retired will be Fort McHenry in FY 2027.[4]


  1. ^ a b "USS Gunston Hall Completes Sea Trials". Navy News Service. 29 May 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
  2. ^ IHS Jane's Fighting Ships Executive Summary 2012
  3. ^ "Whidbey Island Rejoins the Fleet Better Than Ever" (Press release). Navy News Service. 9 November 2014. NNS141109-02. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Statement of Assistant Secretary of the Navy Sean J. Stackley; Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, Vice Adm. William H. Hilarides; and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Vice Adm. Joseph P. Mulloy before the Subcommittee on Seapower" (PDF). United States Senate Committee on Armed Services. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2016. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

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