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Top 10 Amphibious Assault Ships


   Which is the best amphibious assault ship in the world? Our Top 10 analysis is based on the combined score of offensive capabilities, airwing, number of marines and their equipment carried, and some other factors.

   Amphibious assault ships support marines during landing operations against defended positions ashore. These warships have a flight deck and hangar facilities below decks. Typically these ships operate a mix of helicopters or even VSTOL aircraft. Airwing varies depending on mission requirements. Also these ships have a well deck and also support amphibious assault by sea.

   Amphibious assault ships can operate as flagships for expeditionary strike groups.

   This list includes only warships that are currently in service or should be commissioned in the near future. It does not include retired ships or vessels that are only planned. This list also includes multi-purpose warships, that can function as amphibious assault ships.

   Currently top 10 deadliest amphibious assault ships in the world are these:



Best amphibious assault ships

Nr.1 America class (USA)


   Currently the America class amphibious assault ships, are the largest vessels in this class ever built. These ships are larger than most aircraft carriers.

   Design of the America class is based on the last ship of the Wasp class. However the new ships have more deck space and larger hangar facilities to house more aircraft below decks. The lead ship, USS America, was commissioned with the US Navy in 2014. As of 2015 it is the only active ship of this class. Another ship is under construction, while the third is planned. America class warships will eventually replace the ageing Tarawa class.

   The America class has been specially optimized for the new MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor transports and F-35B stealthy STOVL multi-role fighters. Warships of this class can even serve as small aircraft carrier. These can operate a total of 38 helicopters and STOVL aircraft, including F-35B JSF, MV-22 Osprey, UH-1Y Huey, CH-53E Sea Stallion, SH-60 Sea Hawk, MH-60 Nighthawk, AH-1Z Viper, AH-1W Super Cobra, and other. Number of aircraft and helicopters will vary depending on specific mission requirements.

   The first two ships of the class are optimized for aviation. These have no well decks and do not support amphibious assault by sea. Marines are delivered ashore by helicopters. Such delivery method allows troops to arrive more quickly and much further out. Also the vessels are better protected as they can launch assaults further out from sea. The following America class ships that are currently planned will have a well deck, but will carry fewer aircraft.

   The America class can carry 1 700 marines and associated equipment to support them.



List of amphibious assault ships

Nr.2 Wasp class (USA)


   The Wasp class is a follow-on from the Tarawa class and its ships share the same basic hull and engineering plant. The lead ship, USS Wasp, was commissioned in 1989. At the time if their introduction the Wasp class vessels were the largest amphibious assault ship in the world. However currently the new America class ships are even larger.

   These were the first ships specially designed to operate both the AV-8B Harrier II and a complement of LCAC hovercraft. Each Wasp class can accommodate up to three LCACs or twelve LCMs

   The Wasp class ships are capable of embarking a 2 000-strong marine expeditionary unit. The troops are landed on the beach using landing craft, or deliver further inland via helicopters. A total of 61 AAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicles can be carried.

   The flight deck has nine landing spots for helicopters and up to 42 CH-46 Sea Knights could be operated. The class can also deploy AH-1 SeaCobra attack helicopters or other transports such as the CH-53E Super Stallion, UH-1N Twin Huey or the multi-purpose SH-60B Seahawk. The Wasp class can operate six to eight AV-8B Harrier IIs in the combat role, but can support up to 20.



Top 10 amphibious ships

Nr.3 Type 075 class (China)


    Development of a new type of amphibious assault ships commenced in China in 2011. It was clearly inspired by US amphibious assault ships. The lead ship was built in an extremely fast pace, considering that it is a completely new project for China's shipbuilding industry. It was launched in 2019 and is nearing completion. It should be commissioned in 2020. The second ship of the class is being built. There are reports that 3rd ship of the class is also planned. Construction of these new warships shows high level of resources China is devoting towards its offensive capabilities. When fully operational the new Type 075 amphibious assault ships will bolster China's amphibious capabilities, which today rely on smaller and less capable Type 071 amphibious transport docks.

   The Type 075 class will carry around 30 helicopters. It will carry a mix of helicopters including Z-8, Z-9, Z-18, Ka-28 and Ka-31. The Type 075 class could also carry VSTOL aircraft, however currently China has got no suitable aircraft for these warships. Although a related engine development project is underway.

   These new China's warships will accommodate a couple of landing craft or at least two Type 726A hovercraft, that are extremely similar to the US LCAC.



Best amphibious assault ship

Nr.4 Canberra class (Australia)


   The Australian Canberra class amphibious assault ships are smaller than similar American ships. The HMAS Canberra was commissioned in 2014. The second ship is planned to be commissioned in 2016.

   These ships were designed by a Spanish company. Design of the Canberra class is similar to that of the Juan Carlos I. Australian ships have the same dimensions, as the Spanish Juan Carlos I, but different internal layout and island superstructure. Even though both the Spanish Juan Carlos I and Australian Canberra class ships are multi-functional, the Juan Carlos I has stronger air wing and the Canberra class ships have stronger amphibious assault capability.

   The Canberra class ships can carry 1 125 marines. Surge capacity for a short period of time is 1 600 marines.

   These warships have two vehicle decks. One of them is for light vehicles. The other is for heavy vehicles and tanks. The Canberra class can transport about 45 main battle tanks, or more lighter vehicles.

   There are four LCM-1E landing craft housed in a well deck. These are used for delivery of troops, vehicles and supplies from ship to shore.

Flight deck has 6 spots for NH90 or S-70B Seahawk size helicopters or alternatively up to 4 larger Chinook size helicopters that can operate simultaneously.

    The hangar accommodates 8 medium-size helicopters. A room can be made for additional 10 helicopters in the light vehicle deck. Typical airgroup is a mix of NH90 transport helicopters and S-70B Seahawk anti-submarine helicopters.

    The Canberra class ships have a sky-jump ramps but need some modifications in order to operate fixed-wing aircraft such as the F-35B. In the near future there are no plans to operate fixed-wing aircraft from these ships.



World best amphibious assault ship

Nr.5 Juan Carlos (Spain)


   The sole Juan Carlos I amphibious assault ship was commissioned with the Spanish Navy in 2010. It has similar dimensions to the Australian Canberra class. However the Spanish warship has different internal layout and island superstructure. The Juan Carlos I has stronger air wing, while the Canberra class ships have stronger amphibious assault capability.

   The Juan Carlos I was specially designed to operate V/STOL aircraft. It has 8 spots for AV-8B Harriers, 4 spots for CH-47 Chinook medium helicopters, and one spot for V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport. Vessel can carry up to 30 aircraft, when used in the aircraft carrier mode.

   This ship accommodates 900 marines and can carry up to 46 main battle tanks. There are 4 mechanized landing craft (LCM) or one hovercraft (LCAC) in the stern dock for amphibious landing operations.

    This warship plays an important role with the Spanish Navy.



Greatest amphibious assault ships

Nr.6 Mistral class (France)


   The first of the Mistral amphibious assault ship was commissioned in 2006. Currently 3 of these ships are in service with the French Navy. These are the largest combatants in the French Navy service after the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. Also 2 more ships are under construction for the Russian Navy. However delivery of the Russian ships is postponed due to ongoing military conflict in Ukraine.

   A single Mistral class ship provides accommodation for 450 marines, however surge capacity is 900. It can carry a full tank battalion with up to 40 main battle tanks, or up to 70 lighter vehicles.

   The vessel uses 4 mechanized landing craft (LCM) or 2 hovercraft (LCAC) in the stern deck to deliver troops and vehicles ashore.

   Flight deck has 6 helicopter landing spots. Up to 16 medium (NH90, Tigre) or 35 light helicopters can be carried and stored in the hangar deck. However class can not operate V/STOVL aircraft, as it has got no ski-jump bow associated equipment.



Best Amphibious assault ship

Nr.7 Dokdo class (South Korea)


   The Dokdo class amphibious assault ship is the largest vessel in the ROK Navy. The lead ship was commissioned in 2007. Currently one Dokdo class ship is in service, another one is being constructed and the third is planned.

   The ship is capable of over-the-horizon landing operations, using high-speed hovercraft and helicopters. This Dokdo has all necessary equipment to serve as a flagship of the Korean Navy.

   Ship provides accommodation for 700 marines, 10 main battle tanks and 7 AAVs. Some sources report, that it is able to load up to 200 trucks or other light vehicles. The ship has a flooded stern deck. LCMs or LCACs are used to deliver troops and vehicles to shore.

   The Dokdo class supports up to 16 helicopters or tilt-rotors, however normal complement is 10. With little modifications this ship could operate V/STOL aircraft.



Strongest amphibious assault ship

Nr.8 HMS Ocean (United Kingdom)


   The HMS Ocean is an amphibious assault ship is a sole member of its class. This vessel was commissioned in 1998. This vessel supports Royal Navy amphibious landing operations.

   Hull of the HMS Ocean is based on Invincible class light aircraft carrier design, with a modified superstructure. This warship was designed to meet specific needs of amphibious operations.

   Typical troop capacity is 480 marines, however for a short periods of time this ship can accommodate up to 800 marines. The HMS Ocean can carry six light guns, 40 light vehicles and 34 trailers. It is worth mentioning that the HMS Ocean is not designed to transport and land main battle tanks.

   The ship uses 4 Lading Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP) Mk.5 or 2 Griffon hovercraft to deliver troops and equipment ashore.

   The ship has a flight deck with 6 landing and 6 parking spots for helicopters. Typically air wing consists of 12 medium support helicopters (EH.101 Merlin, CH-47 Chinook, Westland Commando) and 6 attack helicopters (Lynx AH.7, WAH-64D). The HMS Ocean can transport up to 15 Harrier II aircraft in the ferry role, however it is unable to operate as an aircraft carrier.



Best amphibious assault ships

Nr.9 Izumo class (Japan)


   The Izumo class is a new type of helicopter carriers of the Japan's Marine Self-Defense Forces. The lead ship was commissioned in 2015. The second ship of the class is under construction. These are the biggest Japanese warship since the World War II.

   The Izumo class helicopter carriers are multi-role ships. In Japan these vessels are officially referred as helicopter destroyers. Vessels bear a strong resemblance to light aircraft carriers. The Izumo is even larger than Italian Cavour, Spanish Principe de Asturias and some other light aircraft carriers. The Izumo class ships can conduct amphibious operations, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare. This class provides the Maritime Self-Defense Force with greater force projection capability.

   The Izumo class has a relatively large air wing. The flight deck has 5 helicopter landing spots for simultaneous take-offs and landings. The ships can carry 14, or possibly even 30 helicopters. Apart from helicopters these ships can also accommodate F-35B STOVL multi-role fighters and V-22 Osprey tiltrotor transport. However Japanese officials do not mention this capability.

   For amphibious operations it can typically carry 400 marines and 50 light trucks (or equivalent equipment). However Izumo class vessels lack a well deck that dedicated amphibious assault ships have. Troops can be landed on the beaches mainly via helicopters.



Amphibious assault ships

Nr.10 Hyuga class (Japan)


   The Hyuga class helicopter carrier is smaller that Izumo class warships. Three ships of this class were planned and two of them are in service.

  The Hyuga class ships resemble light aircraft carriers, such as the Royal Navy's Invincible class. Primary function of this Japanese warships is anti-submarine warfare. However these can also conduct amphibious landing operations.

   For amphibious operations it can carry between 300 and 400 marines. However there is no well deck and troops are landed on the beaches mainly via helicopters.

   The Hyuga class can carry up to 11 Chinooks or quite a few more smaller helicopters.




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