Displacement: 39,000 tons
Length: 820 feet
Beam: 106 feet
Speed: 24 knots
Power: Two boilers, two turbines, two shafts, 70,000 shaft horsepower.
Aircraft: CH-53, CH-46 Sea Knight and other helicopters along with AV-8A Harriers operate off the flight deck.
Iwo Jima Class:
Displacement: 18,000 tons
Length: 602 feet
Beam: 84 feet
Speed: 23 knots
Power: Two boilers, one turbines, one shaft, 22,000 shaft horsepower.
Aircraft: CH-53, CH-46 Sea Knight and other helicopters
*The Amphibious Assault Ships are used to place Marines via air or sea. Each ship can accommodate a number of smaller landing craft. Assault vessels such as these have been used in recent months as a platform for the rescue of civilians from hostile areas in Liberia (1990) and most recently, Somalia (1991).
Iraqi Counterpart--Iraq has three landing ships (the Polnochny D Class) from the East Bloc which have been modified to handle helicopters. However, they are much smaller than the American ships as they carry only carry 180 Marines and six tanks. The Ships are called: Atika, Nouh, and Jawada.
Action in Desert Storm--
Amphibious Assault vessels played a large role in the diversionary actions feinting Iraqi forces into believing an amphibious operation was imminent. These ships loaded and launched a number of landing craft and helicopters giving the impression that the Marines would be coming ashore on the Kuwaiti coast. In the end, the invasion did not come, but these ships were essential resupply bases for Marines and other units inland. In addition, AV-8 Harrier Jump Jets used these ships as a platform for carrying out close-air support attacks on Iraqi forces. One ship, the U.S.S. TRIPOLI, was seriously damaged by a mine in the Northern Persian Gulf, but stayed on station until the end of hostilities.
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