Marines: The Italian Spin On The San Antonios


August 7, 2015: Italy is building a new 25,000 ton LPD (dock landing ships), to be delivered in 2022. The new LPD will replace three current 1980s era 8,000 ton LPDs. The new LPD will cost $1.2 billion and is generally similar in size and function to the latest class of American LPDs, the San Antonio class.  These U.S. ships began entering service in 2006 and nine are currently in use. All twelve San Antonios will be completed by 2018. Each of the 25,000 ton San Antoinos cost $1.6 billion. The San Antonios are 208 meters (684 feet) long have a top speed of 42 kilometers an hour. The navy crew is 360 plus 720 marines and all their equipment. There is 2,500 square meters (25,000 square feet) for vehicle storage along with a 24 bed hospital, with two operating rooms and the ability to set up another hundred beds in an emergency. Onboard weapons include two Bushmaster II 30mm Close In Guns and two Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers to defend against anti-ship missiles. The ship is designed to carry and use two LCAC (Landing Craft Air Cushion vehicle), and 14 AAVs (Amphibious Assault Vehicle). Five MV-22 (Osprey tiltrotor aircraft), as well as even more helicopters, can operate off the ship's flight deck.

The new Italian LPD carries about the same number of people but is equipped to carry civilians or military personnel. In other words, the Italian LPD is more of a dual military/peacekeeping ship. Thus it carries four LCM landing craft, each with a capacity of 60 tons. There is also a large (larger than needed for the ship) desalination plant and the ability to generate 2,000 kilowatts of power for use by land facilities (while the LPD is at a dock).



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