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The Navy Amphibious Force is known for its ability to move swiftly through water and over land. They operate in groups of three ships year-round, ready at a moment's notice to deliver troops and equipment in a beach assault as well as assisting in crisis response, humanitarian operations and disaster relief. And because they can deliver land forces to nearly any shore, they project power.
Although the primary objectives are the same – get the troops, their equipment and supplies to the beach – each of the different ship classes within the Amphibious Force has been designed to provide particular holding, landing and launching capabilities.
Along with troops, equipment, supplies and aircraft, these ships hold tracked and wheeled all-terrain vehicles and other amphibious landing craft and assault vehicles. They are self-sufficient vessels, capable of operating for long periods of time so they can be wherever America needs them to be.
The Wasp class is the largest and usually the command ship of an Expeditionary Strike Group. They look like a small aircraft carrier, but are fully capable of launching an amphibious assault, advance force or Special Operations group on just about any beach. They also provide for non-combatant evacuation and other humanitarian missions.
Get the specs and tech of the Wasp-Class.
Slightly smaller than the Wasp class, the Tarawa class can still carry up to 30 helicopters and a wide array of landing craft, supplies and equipment. Depending on the mission, the Tarawa class usually deploys with assault helicopters and a host of other amphibious landing craft.
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Amphibious Transport Docks are versatile ships that incorporate a flight deck and a well deck at water level to support amphibious landing craft. Some of the Navy’s highest achievements in technology, storage capability, living standards and amphibious assaults are incorporated in the San Antonio-Class LPD.
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Dock Landing Ships were designed specifically to operate as landing craft air cushion transport vessels. They have the largest capacity for these types of landing craft (four) of any of the amphibious landing ships. They also provide docking and repair services for small ships, boats and all other landing craft.
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The Navy’s fleet command ships incorporate some of the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art computers and intelligence capabilities to command, control and communicate with every ship, division and force.
Get the specs and tech of Amphibious Command Ships.
Amphibious ships get the troops out to sea, but it’s the landing craft that actually bring the troops, tanks, trucks, supplies and equipment to the beach. Known as the “Gator Navy,” this is an ever-evolving collection of landing craft, always improving to deliver Marines and troop to shore as swiftly and safely as possible.
These landing craft can deliver up to 375 tons of tracked and/or wheeled vehicles and troops from larger assault ships to beachheads or piers. Both bow (front) and stern (back) ramps lower, allowing quick loading or unloading from either end.
Get the specs and tech of LCM/LCUs.
These specialized, high-speed landing craft travel up to 45 knots (more than 50 mph) while carrying a very heavy payload (up to 75 tons). They are used to transport troops, tanks, trucks, weapons, cargo and equipment from ship to shore. With innovative air cushions, LCACs can reach 70% of the world’s shoreline, while conventional landing craft can only reach 15%.
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When it’s not delivering troops and equipment to the shore, this amphibious armored vehicle floats, patrols and controls the beach.