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. It do not includes retired ships or vessels that are currently being built. This list includes multi-purpose warships, that can function as amphibious assault ships.
Currently top 10 deadliest amphibious assault ships in the world are these:
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 transport and F-35B VTOL strike fighter. Warships of this class can even serve as small aircraft carrier. These can operate a total of 38 helicopters and VSTOL aircraft, including F-35B JSF, MV-22 Osprey, UH-1Y Huey, CH-53E Sea Stallion, SH-60 Sea Hawk, MH-60 Nighthawk, AH-1W SuperCobra. 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.
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 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
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.
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 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.
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.