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LST-1179 Newport-class

The Newport-class Tank Landing Ships are larger and faster than earlier LSTs, and represent a complete departure from the previous concept of Amphibious Tank Landing Ships. The traditional bow doors, which have characterized LST's construction since the first vessels of this type were built during World War II, were replaced by a 40-ton bow ramp supported by two distinctive derrick arms. The hull form necessary for the attainment of the 20-knot speeds of contemporary amphibious squadrons would not permit bow doors. The conventional flat bottom hull was redesigned to include a destroyer-type bow enabling the ships to attain speeds in excess of 20 knots. This feature enables her to operate with modern high-speed amphibious forces. A stern gate also makes possible off-loading amphibious vehicles directly into the water.

The Tank Landing Ship (LST) mission is to load and transport cargo, vehicles of all types, and troops to a combat area. These ships can launch amphibious vehicles via a stern gate as well as land vehicles to a beach or causeway over a bowramp. Troops and equipment can also be transported via helicopter. Two ten-ton booms offload cargo to boats or a pier. Frederick's lift capacity includes 29 tanks and over 350 troops and their equipment.

The USS FREDERICK was part of the 13 ship amphibious task force that departed on 1 December 1990 for the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield. Upon arriving in the Gulf of Oman, the Frederick along with various amphibious ships from the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets conducted amphibious exercises in preparation for an amphibious landing, if needed, in Kuwait. Upon commencement of Operation Desert Storm, USS FREDERICK and various elements of COMPHIBGRU TWO and COMPHIBGRU THREE headed into the Persian Gulf and conducted one of the greatest mock amphibious invasions in modern warfare. That operation pinned down 15 Iraqi Divisions, thus ensuring a quick and decisive victory for the allied forces. The Frederick was also involved in the only actual amphibious landing of the Gulf War. In 1994, Frederick deployed to Somalia in support of humanitary aid operations.

In 1993, as part of its Bottom-Up Review, the Department of Defense examined the amount of amphibious lift that would be required to fight two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts. It concluded that the Navy should maintain enough lift to transport the personnel, aircraft, landing ships, vehicles, and supplies for 2.5 marine expeditionary brigades or MEB's.

In a legislative proposal dated April 15, 1994, the administration proposed the transfer of 15 Newport-class tank landing ships to a number of foreign countries. Two LST's would be sold to Australia; one LST would be provided on a grant basis to Morocco; two LST's would be leased to Spain; two LST's would be leased to Chile; one LST would be leased to Argentina; one LST would be leased to Brazil; two LST's would be leased to Venezuela; one LST would be leased to Malaysia; and three LST's would be leased to Taiwan.

The 15 LST's in the administration proposal were among a total of 20 that were commissioned between 1969 and 1972. These ships constituted a significant part of the US amphibious shipping fleet as they transport tanks, other heavy vehicles, engineering equipment, and supplies. The LST's were relatively young in terms of their age and have impressive capabilities, as demonstrated by the interest of foreign navies in them. The administration's proposal to transfer 15 LST's to foreign countries would have reduced the amount of lift available to transport vehicles to only 73 percent of the 2.5 MEB goal in fiscal year 1994.

In response to the Congressional concern, the Navy proposed a new concept for maintaining 2.5 MEB's worth of vehicle space in the amphibious shipping fleet. In this concept two LST's were retained in a reserve status that would enable them to be available for active service in a few days. Four more LST's were stored in a nesting arrangement in which several months could be required to make them available for an emergency. The Navy's plan for these six LST's was intended to maintain the necessary amphibious lift capability. Subsequently the Congress in July 1994 authorized the five most pressing LST transfers for Australia, Brazil, Morocco, and Spain. In these cases, foreign crews were already training in the United States.

The two remaining ships of this class, USS Frederick (LST-1184) and USS La Moure County (LST-1194) are now assigned to the Naval Reserve Forces as the only remaining ships of this 20-ship class. These ships will serve with the Reserve until about 2004, when sufficient numbers of new LPD 17-class multi-purpose amphibious ships will be available bringing the Active forces back up to a 2.5 Marine Expeditionary Brigade lift capability. Naval Reserve Force Active (NRFA) ships have a reduced or skeletonized crew of active duty personnel assigned to provide training of assigned reservists for limited operations and maintenance. Under mobilization reservists assigned to a particular ship are activated, complementing the active duty personnel.

The Frederick was transferred to the Naval Reserve Force in January 1995 and changed homeport to Pearl Harbor, HI. As the only amphibious ship in Pearl Harbor, she conducts bilateral exercises with South East Asian armed forces, continuous training exercises with the United States Marine Corps's and is on standby to conduct humanitarian assistance / disaster relief missions, throughout the Pacific.

The LaMoure County was participating in an annual maritime exercise called UNITAS -- Spanish for Unity -- when it grounded on rocks 12 September 2000, sustaining irreparable damage. The ship was maneuvering in a pre-dawn fog, preparing to off-load some of the 240 troops aboard, when the accident happened. The ship's hull scraped along a rocky bottom, opening up three forward compartments where fuel and Marines are housed. One hole measured 45 feet long. The Atlantic Fleet commander recommended that the ship be decommissioned, rather than repaired or towed back to the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base. The ship is to be sunk during a gunnery exercise in 2001 during the annual UNITAS exercise.

Specifications

Displacement Light Displacement: 5190 tons
Full Displacement: 8792 tons
Dead Weight: 3602 tons
Length Overall Length: 522 ft
Waterline Length: 500 ft
Beam Extreme Beam: 70 ft
Waterline Beam: 70 ft
Draft Maximum Navigational Draft: 19 ft
Draft Limit: 19 ft
Speed 20 knots
Power Plant Six diesels, 16,000 brake horsepower,
two shafts, Twin Controllable Pitch Screws
BOW THRUSTER - Single Screw, Controllable Pitch
Armament4 - three-inch/50-caliber guns
Phalanx close-in weapons systems to be fitted
VEHICLE STOWAGE 19,000 Square Feet (1,767 Square Meters)
lift capacity includes 29 tanks
Complementship's company -- 14 Officers, 210 Enlisted
360-400 troops
Unit Operating Cost
Annual Average
$12,500,000 [source: [FY1996 VAMOSC]

Ships

Name Number Builder Homeport Ordered Commissioned Decommissioned
Newport LST-1179PNSYLittle Creek29 Dec 196407 Jun 196901 Oct 1992
Manitowac LST-1180 PNSY Little Creek29 Dec 196524 Jan 197030 Jun 1993
Sumter LST-1181PNSY Little Creek29 Dec 196520 Jun 197030 Sep 1993
Fresno LST-1182NASSCO San Diego15 Jul 196622 Nov 196908 Apr 1993
Peoria LST-1183NASSCO San Diego15 Jul 196621 Feb 197028 Jan 1994
Frederick LST-1184NASSCOPearl Harbor15 Jul 196611 Apr 19702004
Schenectady LST-1185NASSCO San Diego15 Jul 196613 Jun 197015 Dec 1993
Cayuga LST-1186NASSCO San Diego15 Jul 196608 Aug 197026 Aug 1994
Tuscaloosa LST-1187NASSCO San Diego15 Jul 196624 Oct 197018 Feb 1994
Saginaw LST-1188NASSCO San Diego15 Jul 196623 Jan 197128 Jun 1994
San Bernardino LST-1189NASSCO San Diego15 Jul 196627 Mar 197130 Sep 1995
Boulder County LST-1190 NASSCO Little Creek 15 Jul 196604 Jun 197128 Feb 1994
Racine LST-1191 NASSCO Long Beach15 Jul 196609 Jul 197102 Oct 1993
Spartanburg County LST-1192NASSCO Little Creek15 Jul 196601 Sep 197116 Dec 1994
Fairfax County LST-1193NASSCO Little Creek15 Jul 196616 Oct 197117 Aug 1994
La Moure County LST-1194NASSCO Little Creek15 Jul 196618 Dec 19712004
Barbour County LST-1195NASSCO San Diego15 Jul 196612 Feb 197230 Mar 1992
Harlan County LST-1196NASSCO Little Creek15 Jul 196608 Apr 197214 Apr 1995
Barnstable County LST-1197NASSCO Little Creek15 Jul 196627 May 197229 Jun 1994
Bristol County LST-1198NASSCO San Diego15 Jul 196605 Aug 197229 Jul 1994

Sources and Resources



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