larger cargo capacity. These ships also have a helicopter
platform over the well deck that allows them to conduct
limited helicopter operations.
Tank landing ships. Tank landing ships (LSTs)
(fig. 8-29) were developed during World War II. The
Navy required a ship capable of transporting troops,
tanks, ammunition, and all sorts of supplies. The LSTs
of todays fleet are fitted with bow doors and a bow ramp
that give access to the tank deck. Another ramp and
turntable in the tank deck enable vehicles to turn around
and reach the main deck under their own power. They
also have a stern gate that permits off-loading of
amphibious vehicles directly into the water. In addition
to transporting and landing equipment in amphibious
assaults, these ships can transport and launch a pontoon
causeway section in support of amphibious operations.
With booms and winches mounted on the main deck
forward, this class of ship is capable of numerous
missions. They carry one 20mm Phalanx and two
25mm Mk3 machine guns.
Amphibious command ships. Amphibious
command ships (LCCs) (fig. 8-30) provide amphibious
command and control for major amphibious operations.
With the latest command and control facilities
available, these ships have become fleet flagships. They
are capable of supporting a naval amphibious task force,
a landing force, and an air force simultaneously.
Mine Warfare Ships.Mine countermeasures
ships (MCM) are ships designed to clear mines from
vital waterways. In the early 1980s, the U.S. Navy
began development of a new mine countermeasures
(MCM) force, which included two new classes of ships
and minesweeping helicopters. The Iran-Iraq war and
Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm showed the
importance of a state-of-the-art mine countermeasures
force when the Avenger (MCM 1) and Guardian (MCM
5) ships conducted MCM operations.
Avenger class ships are designed as mine
hunter-killers capable of finding, classifying, and
destroying moored and bottom mines. These ships use
sonar and video systems, cable cutters, and a
mine-detonating device that can be released and
detonated by remote control. They are also capable of
conventional sweeping measures. The ships are of
fiberglass sheathed, wooden hull construction. They are
the first large mine countermeasures ships built in the
United States in nearly 27 years. (See fig. 8-31.)
Figure 8-29.USS LA Moure County (LST 1194).
Photograph courtesy of PH2 John Sokolowski
Figure 8-30.USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20).
Photograph courtesy of SGT Don L. Mayes
Figure 8-28.Landing craft air cushion (LCAC).
Figure 8-31.USS Chief.