The top amphibious warships in the world

28 May 2019 (Last Updated January 30th, 2020 12:21)

The US Navy operates three of the top ten amphibious warship classes, with the remaining operated by eight navies from the rest of the world. Naval-technology lists the top amphibious warships by their displacement and capacities.

The top amphibious warships in the world
Albion Class amphibious ship has a maximum speed of 18kt. Image courtesy of the UK Ministry of Defence.

10. Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships

The top amphibious warships
Albion Class amphibious ship has a maximum speed of 18kt. Image courtesy of the UK Ministry of Defence.

The Albion-Class has a full load displacement of 19,560t and can transport 405 troops, two helicopters, and eight landing craft, four of which can carry and land tanks. The flight deck offers two helicopter landing spots, which can handle either a heavy-lift helicopter or two medium-sized rotorcraft.

The armament aboard the ship includes two 30mm guns and two close-point weapon systems. Powered by two Wärtsilä Vasa 16V 32E diesel generators, two Wärtsilä Vasa 4R 32E diesel generators, two electric motors and a bow thruster, the vessel can sail at a maximum speed of 18kt.

The UK Royal Navy operates two Albion-Class amphibious assault ships or landing platform docks. The first ship in the class, HMS Albion, was commissioned in June 2003 while the second vessel, HMS Bulwark, entered service in December 2004.

9. Dokdo Class Amphibious Assault Ships

The top amphibious warships
Dokdo Class amphibious assault ship can transport 700 marines, tanks, trucks, amphibious assault vehicles, landing craft and helicopters. Image courtesy of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces.

The Dokdo-class amphibious ship or landing platform helicopter (LPH) serves as a command and control platform for mobile naval fleet. It can support landing missions and sea-based air operations, peacekeeping, disaster recovery, and counter-terrorism operations. The LPH offers space for 700 marines, tanks, trucks, amphibious assault vehicles and landing craft while its flight deck supports the operation of five helicopters simultaneously.

The Dokdo-Class LPH is armed with two Goalkeeper CIWSs and a RIM-116 RAM launcher. It is powered by four SEMT Pielstick 16 PC2.5 STC diesel engines. The propulsion system provides a maximum speed of 23k and a range of 10,000nmi at an economical speed of 18k.

The Dokdo-Class is in service with the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN). The lead ship in the class, ROKS Dokdo, was commissioned in July 2007, while the second vessel, ROKS Marado, is under construction at Hanjin Heavy Industries shipyard in Busan with commissioning scheduled for 2020.

8. Atlantico Amphibious Assault Ship

The top amphibious warships
Atlântico amphibious assault ship was acquired by the Brazilian Navy from the UK Royal Navy in 2018.

Atlântico (A140), the Brazilian Navy’s flagship, measures 203m-long and displaces 21,000t at full load. It is capable of carrying 800 troops, four landing craft, and up to 40 vehicles. The flight deck of Atlântico can support the operations of up to 18 helicopters, including EC725 Caracal, S-70B Seahawk, and AS350 Écureuil.

Four 30mm DS30M Mk 2 remote weapon systems aboard the ship serve as primary weapons as the three original Phalanx 20mm CIWS were removed before delivery to the Brazilian Navy. Powered by two Crossley Pielstick medium-speed diesel engines, the amphibious ship can attain a maximum speed of 18k and a range of 8,000nmi.

Originally commissioned with the UK Royal Navy in 1998 as HMS Ocean, the vessel was sold to Brazil for recommissioning with the Brazilian Navy in 2018. It supports amphibious missions through the quick landing of an assault force by rotorcraft and landing craft.

7. Mistral Class Amphibious Assault Ships

The top amphibious warships
Mistral Class amphibious assault ship has a full load displacement of 21,300t. Image courtesy of Béotien lambda.

The Mistral-Class amphibious ship measures 199m-long while its full load displacement is 21,300t. It can accommodate up to 900 troops, 16 rotorcraft, and one-third of a mechanised regiment, two LCAC platforms or four LCUs craft. The flight deck offers six landing spots and can simultaneously support the operation of up to six helicopters.

Each vessel is armed with two Simbad launchers for Mistral air defence missiles, two Breda-Mauser 30mm guns, and four 12.7mm M2-HB Browning machine guns. Equipped with three Wärtsilä 16 V32 diesel-alternators, a Wärtsilä Vaasa 18V200 auxiliary diesel-alternator, and two Rolls-Royce azimuth thrusters, the vessel can sail at a maximum speed of 18.8k.

The Mistral-Class amphibious assault ships are in service with the French Navy and Egyptian Navy. The French Navy operates two ships while the remaining two, which were originally built for the Russian Navy, were delivered to the Egyptian Navy due to the cancellation of the contract with Russia.

6. Yuzhao Class/Type 071 Landing Platform Docks

The top amphibious warships
Type 071 landing platform docks are in service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Image courtesy of kees torn.

The Yuzhao-Class LPD has a displacement of 25,000t when fully loaded with up to 800 marines and their equipment and supplies, as well as amphibious assault vehicles, landing craft, and transport helicopters. It is armed with an AK-176 76mm naval gun system and four AK-630 30mm CIWSs.

The vessels are powered by a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) propulsion system comprising four Shaanxi 16 PC2.6 V400 diesel engines coupled to two controllable pitch propellers through twin shafts. The propulsion system enables a maximum speed of 25kt.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) operates six Yuzhao-Class LPDs, also known as Type 071, while two more units are currently under construction by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding. Primarily intended for amphibious landing operations, the ships can also be deployed in humanitarian assistance and civilian evacuation missions.

5. San Antonio Class Landing Platform Docks

The top amphibious warships
San Antonio Class landing platform dock has a displacement of 25,300t. Image courtesy of Naval Surface Warriors.

Each San Antonio-class ship with a displacement of 25,300t is capable of carrying 699 embarked landing troops along with a surge force of 101. The decks aboard can house two LCACs or one LCU and 14 amphibious assault vehicles. The flight deck can support the operations of two CH-53E helicopters or two MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft or up to four AH-1Z or UH-1Y or MH-60 helicopters.

The San Antonio-Class landing platform docks (LPDs) are armed with two Mk 46 30mm gun weapon systems, two RAM launchers, and ten 0.50 calibre machine guns. Powered by four sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick diesel engines, the ship can attain a maximum speed of more than 22kt.

The US Navy’s fleet constitutes 11 San Antonio-Class LPDs, while two more are currently under construction. The LPDs can be deployed in amphibious assault missions and special or expeditionary warfare missions, as well as be used as aviation platforms for amphibious operations.

4. Juan Carlos I Landing Helicopter Dock

The top amphibious warships
Juan Carlos landing helicopter dock can accommodate 900 troops. Image courtesy of Basilio.

The 231m-long Juan Carlos I LHD, which has a displacement of 26,000t, can transport 900 troops and house four LCM-1E landing craft that can transport amphibious vehicles of the Marine Infantry Force (FIM) to/from the ship. The upper and lower garages can house light vehicles/ISO containers and heavy vehicles, respectively. The flight deck can accommodate up to 30 medium and heavy helicopters for amphibious operations, or up to 12 F-35B/AV-8B+ aircraft or helicopters in its aircraft-carrier configuration.

Mounted with four 20mm guns and four 12.7mm machine guns, Juan Carlos I also has provision for the future installation of an anti-missile CIWS. The combined diesel-electric and gas (CODLAG) propulsion system aboard the ship integrates a gas turbine, two diesel generators, and two POD-type propellers. The maximum sustained speed of the ship is 21kt.

The Juan Carlos I LHD is the biggest ship in the Spanish Navy fleet. Built by Navantia, the amphibious warship was commissioned into service in September 2010. The vessel supports the strategic transport of marines and ground forces while serving as a platform for carrier-based aviation.

3. Canberra Class Amphibious Assault Ships

The top amphibious warships
Canberra Class amphibious vessels are operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Image courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

The Canberra-Class LHD measures 230.8m-long and has a full load displacement of 27,500t. It accommodates 400 ship’s company and 1,000 embarked forces. The flight deck with six landing spots can carry a mix of ARH Tiger attack helicopters and medium-sized rotorcraft such as the MRH-90/Blackhawk and four CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters. The well-deck can handle landing craft utility (LCU), amphibious vehicles, and landing craft air cushion (LCAC).

The amphibious warship is mounted with four Typhoon stabilised weapon systems, each installed with a 25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun and a coaxially mounted M240 7.62mm machine gun. The combined diesel and gas propulsion aboard the vessel integrates a 19,160kW LM 2500 turbogenerator, two 7,448kW MAN 16V32/40 diesel generators, two Siemens azimuth units, and two bow thrusters. The LHD has a maximum speed of more than 20kt.

Two Canberra-Class amphibious assault ships or LHDs entered service with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) during 2014-2015. Developed by a partnership between Navantia and BAE Systems Maritime, Canberra Class LPDS are the biggest warships ever built for the RAN.

2. Wasp Class Amphibious Assault Ships

The top amphibious warships
The Wasp Class amphibious ship can support a marine expeditionary unit of 2,000 marines. Image courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

The Wasp-Class has an overall length of 253.2 and a displacement of 42,442t. Each ship can carry 66 officers, 1,004 enlisted personnel, 1,687 troops, and a surge force of 184 and support a marine expeditionary unit of 2,000 marines. The vessel offers nine aircraft spots with a deck limit of 42 medium-lift helicopters of CH-46 size and can carry three landing craft air cushions, two landing craft units, or 39 amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs) or 140 wheeled vehicles.

The primary armament of the Wasp-Class includes two RAM launchers, two Nato Sea Sparrow launchers, and up to three 20mm Phalanx CIWS mounts. The amphibious ship is powered by two steam boilers connected to a pair of geared turbines, which ensures a maximum speed of 20k.

The US Navy operates eight Wasp-Class amphibious assault ships, with the lead ship inducted into service 1989. The Wasp-Class ships were the world’s biggest amphibious vessels at the time of their debut.

1. America Class Amphibious Assault Ships

The top amphibious warships
America Class amphibious assault ships are in service with the US Navy. Image courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

The America-Class amphibious assault ships are being built by Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) for the US Navy. Also known as Landing Helicopter Assault (LHA), the 260.7m-long amphibious vessel has the displacement of 44,449t. Each vessel is capable of carrying 1,687 troops plus a surge force of 184, as well as a combination of F-35B short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) fighters, MV-22 Osprey vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) tilt-rotors, and CH-53E Sea Stallion, UH-1Y Huey, AH-1Z Super Cobra and MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters.

The America-Class is armed with two rolling airframe missile (RAM) launchers, two Nato Sea Sparrow launchers, two 20mm Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS) mounts, seven twin 0.50 calibre machine guns. The hybrid mechanical-electric propulsion system of the America-Class integrates two 35,290shp LM2500+ gas turbines and two 5,000hp auxiliary propulsion motors. It enables the vessel to sail at a speed of 20kt.

The lead ship in the class, USS America (LHA 6), was delivered to the navy in April 2014, while the follow-on ships, USS Tripoli (LHA 7) and USS Bougainville (LHA 7) are expected to enter service in 2019 and 2024, respectively.