The US Navy commissioned its 12th amphibious transport dock, USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28), in a ceremony on Saturday, July 30, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
USS Fort Lauderdale is the first naval ship to honor the city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The ship entered service after being launched in March 2020 and handed over in March 2022.
The nearly 25,000-ton Fort Lauderdale is 684 feet in length. Four diesel engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 22 knots, and it will homeport at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia.
San Antonio-class ships are designed to support embarking, transporting, and bringing elements of 650 Marines ashore by landing craft or air-cushion vehicles. A flight deck hangar further enhances the ship’s capabilities, which can support the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.
San Antonio-class ships can support a variety of amphibious assault, special operations, or expeditionary warfare missions, operating independently or as part of Amphibious Readiness Groups (ARGs), Expeditionary Strike Groups, or joint task forces.
Alongside the future USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29), Fort Lauderdale is is a “transitional ship,” already incorporating design features of the Flight II vessels with a more traditional mast being one of the more distinctive features. Flight II hulls will be more affordable ships with reduced capabilities.
Flight II ships will also have a more traditional mast in place of the two advanced enclosed mast/sensors and an updated deckhouse and boat valley design. They will be the functional replacement for the Whidbey Island Class (LSD 41/49).
Under the Navy’s 355-ship force-level goal, which dates to 2016, a total of 13 LPD-17 Flight II class ships are to be procured.
According to the US Navy’s latest NAVPLAN, 31 amphibious assault and 18 light amphibious warships are planned to be procured to meet the Force Design Plan for 2045.