Navy Commissions Amphibious Transport Dock Ship San Antonio


January 13, 2006, 01:02 PM
Story Number: NNS060112-12
Release Date: 1/12/2006 3:54:00 PM

From the Department of Defense

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy will commission the USS San Antonio, lead ship of the latest class of amphibious ships, at 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 14, at Naval Station Ingleside, Texas.

Former President George H. W. Bush will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will serve as the ship’s sponsor and will give the first order to “Man our ship and bring her to life!”

Capt. Jonathan M. Padfield of Salt Lake City, Utah, is the ship’s first commanding officer and will lead a crew of 360 officers and enlisted personnel. The ship is capable of embarking a landing force of up to 800 Marines.

Built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, San Antonio is 684 feet in length, has an overall beam of 105 feet, a navigational draft of 23 feet and displaces about 25,000 tons. Four turbo-charged diesels power the ship to sustained speeds of 24 knots. As a member of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, San Antonio will be homeported in Norfolk, Va.

San Antonio is the lead ship in the Navy’s new LPD 17 class that will serve as the functional replacement of four amphibious ship classes, LPD 4, LSD 36, LST 1179 and LKA 113, that have reached or are nearing the end of their service life.

The ship will provide greatly improved warfighting capabilities including: an advanced command and control suite; increased lift capacity with substantial increases in vehicle and cargo carrying capability; and advanced ship survivability features. The ship supports the Marine Corps "mobility triad," the Landing Craft Air Cushion vehicle, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle and the MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, making this class a critical element of tomorrow’s amphibious ready groups and expeditionary strike groups.

The new design also features the latest in command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities with dedicated intelligence, mission planning and command and control spaces. San Antonio’s shipboard wide area network is a fiber optic shipwide large area computer network, which will support numerous operations including combat systems, ship systems, command and control nodes, and an integrated training system.

This expeditionary warship class will be the most survivable amphibious vessel ever put to sea. The ship's automated combat system includes a highly capable sensor suite and weapons that provide a robust self-defense capability. San Antonio's design reduces its radar cross-section signature by streamlining topside design and incorporating other advanced technologies.

San Antonio also features the advanced enclosed mast/sensor system (AEM/S) that replaces conventional masts, protecting radar and communications antennae from weather and reducing the ship’s vulnerability to detection by hostile radar. The AEM/S, the defining feature of the ship’s distinctive profile, is the largest composite material structure ever installed on a U.S. Navy steel ship.

Furthermore, San Antonio incorporates the latest quality of life standards for the embarked Marines and sailors, including the sit-up berth, ship services mall, a fitness center and learning resource center/electronic classroom. The ship has the flexibility to accommodate a mixed-gender crew and embarked troops.

Reduced operational costs and an improved capability to periodically insert advanced technology over its planned 40-year service life were also essential design objectives for LPD 17. Accordingly, the design team incorporated hundreds of suggestions and recommendations received from sailors and Marines during formal review sessions in a "Design for Ownership" process to ensure that these ships will meet their needs throughout the first half of the 21st century.

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January 13, 2006, 01:25 PM

January 13, 2006, 01:27 PM
Wow, interesting looking ship.

January 13, 2006, 01:44 PM
Does the design of the ship make it less observable, either visually or on RADAR?

January 13, 2006, 02:41 PM
Definitely reduced radar signature (notice all the facets are the same angle). Hard to reduce visual beyond changing the color, though, and haze grey has been around a long time.

January 13, 2006, 03:53 PM
Does the design of the ship make it less observable, either visually or on RADAR?

Probably both. The Arleigh Burke class DDGs were designed for reduced signature, and I have seen that the Navy is working that tech into all other new vessels. That haze gray would be hard to see from a distance.

Still looks odd when you DO see it, though.

January 13, 2006, 04:03 PM

January 13, 2006, 04:31 PM
'K...... thats a cool boat. :cool:

January 13, 2006, 07:38 PM
Last year I spent 6 months in Pascagula MS. I was working at Northrup/Grumman on this ship. Defensive armament includes Sea Stinger missles launchers fore and aft, low radar visability, low thermal visability, low sonic output, 6 tubs for M2 mounts. :D

Livin in Texas

January 13, 2006, 07:52 PM
Just so long as they support the EFV.

I've got a job playing with the turret electronics, and, for right now, I'd hate to see it go away.

That said, having spent time on the water in Newport, RI, she's ugly.

It will probably work, but she'll still be ugly every morning...


January 13, 2006, 11:09 PM
There weren a lot of "issues"during her sea trials. A LOT of failures,including the loss of all power for several hours. There were a lot of bets going that she would (A) have to be towed out, (B) have to be towed home, or (C) sink! The Navy spent a lot of extra money on that boat! Durn near impossable to get from here to there on her without going somewhere else first! :cuss: Spent most of my time piping in the laundry room and the main vehicle deck. Drawings for the laundry room were impossable to follow. So I ran the pipe as I needed to and they copied it on the other boats!:D

Livin in Texas

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