USS New York (LPD 21)

When will the commissioning ceremony occur?

The commissioning is scheduled for the Fall of 2009 in New York City. The exact date has not yet been set, but when it is, the information will be announced and will be posted on the website.

What is a commissioning ceremony?

Commissioning is the ceremony in which the ship will become a unit of the operating forces of the United States Navy. Commissioning is an elaborate event, and the occasion when the ship "Comes Alive" and becomes a USS ship.

Will I be able to visit the ship when it is in New York ?

Yes, the ship will be open for visiting during commissioning week, and visitors are welcome. Hours will be announced at a later date.

Can I attend the commissioning ceremony?

Because of space limitations at pierside, attendance at the ceremony will be by invitation only. However, it is very likely that there will be media coverage of the ceremony. Of course general visiting by the public will be available all week before the commissioning ceremony.

Where do my donations go?

Donations go to the ship's Education Fund for as long as the ship is in commission. The Navy pays for education courses, but not such things as resource materials, books or laptop computers used for online courses. Because of long periods of deployment, many courses are taken online.

How can I donate?

Donations to the USS NEW YORK Commissioning Committee can be made through the committee's website at In addition, all proceeds from the purchase of USS NEW YORK merchandise through the official website go to the commissioning week and USS NEW YORK Foundation.

You've explained a commissioning. What about a launching and christening?

Modern shipyards, such as Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, move the LPDs from the ways (the actual construction area ashore) into a floating drydock and then launch the ship by submerging the drydock without ceremony. Christening, the traditional breaking of the bottle of champagne across the bow, continues as a ceremony

How to refer to the ship?

  • Navy ships are traditionally referred to with the feminine pronoun "she" or "her".
  • Sailors will serve in New York and Marines embark in New York - never "on" New York.
  • The ship is LPD-21 or New York or, when commissioned, USS New York - never "the" LPD-21 or "the" New York.

What is USS NEW YORK's motto?

The Prospective Commanding Officer and ship's crew develop mottos that are part of the ship's crest. New York's full motto is "Strength Forged Through Sacrifice. Never Forget." For purposes of space, the motto has been shortened on the ship's crest, to "Never Forget."

How are the LPD 17 San Antonio class ships named?

Traditionally, the ships of the LPD 1 and LPD 4 class ships were named for cities named for explorers and historical figures e.g. Raleigh, LaSalle, Austin, etc. For the LPD 17 class, Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton started a revised tradition, naming the lead ship San Antonio in 1996 after the city in Texas. To date most of the ships have followed this naming pattern with five named for cities - San Antonio, New Orleans, Green Bay, San Diego, and Anchorage; one named for a National Park, Mesa Verde; one named for a state, New York; one named for a city and county, Arlington; and one named for a county in Pennsylvania, Somerset.

The name of New York, Arlington, and Somerset specifically honor the victims and first responders from the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

Who "sponsors" the ship?

Traditionally, the Secretary of the Navy designates women as sponsors for U.S. Navy ships. The sponsor for USS NEW YORK is Mrs. Dotty England, wife of Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England.

What is Keel Laying?

For modern Navy ships, keel laying is the ceremonial milestone signifying the start of ship construction.

What is Stepping the Mast?

Stepping the Mast is an ancient tradition where coins are placed under or near the mast when the mast is installed. The coins are intended to bring the ship good luck. The Navy and shipyard continue this tradition today and usually use coins, which add up to the ship's hull number, e.g. 17 cents for LPD 17. The shipyard hosts these events and they are sometimes held in conjunction with the christening ceremony rehearsal. USS NEW YORK stepped the mast in late February, 2008.

Where will USS NEW YORK be homeported?

NEW YORK will be homeported in Norfolk, VA.

When will the pre-commissioning crew form?

Sailors who will man these ships started receiving their orders and began training about the time of christening. All of the crew will have reported for duty when Northrop Grumman Ship Systems delivers the ship to the Navy and then will move aboard. While the ship's complement includes three permanently assigned Marines, a Combat Cargo Officer and two assistants, the full complement of Marines will not embark until the ship begins preparations for deployment, well after commissioning.

Who designs the ship's crest?

The first Commanding Officer designs the ship's crest based upon research into the namesake and with the assistance of the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry. A sample of the crest with explanation of the components may be found on

What does the acronym LPD mean? What does Dock mean in amphibious transport dock?

LPD stands for Landing Platform Dock although the ship is usually referred to as an amphibious transport dock. However, in the 21st Century, LPD 17s will perform more than amphibious missions, and serve as more than a transport for the landing forces.

Amphibious transport docks, both the 15 LPDs in previous ship classes and the San Antonio class, each will have a well deck in the after part of the ship. The ship will ballast her stern to either completely flood the well deck for launching and recovering conventional landing craft or only partially for Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles. These will egress or enter when the stern gate is opened. The ship then deballasts and operates with a dry well. The well deck is not flooded for LCAC, air cushion landing craft operations. Well deck operations may be conducted pierside, at anchor, or at sea while moving through the water.

Who is building the LPD 17 San Antonio class of ships and where?

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems facilities on the Gulf Coast are building this class of ships. LPDs 18, 20, and 21 are currently under construction in Avondale, LA with LPD 19 under construction in Pascagoula, MS. Pre-fabrication has started on LPD 22, San Diego. USS San Antonio started construction in Avondale and was completed in Pascagoula. Major defense contractors Raytheon Corporation, Intergraph Corporation and over 300 subcontractors and vendors located in 38 states are also part of this effort.

What is the mission of the LPDs?

The ships' mission is to embark, transport, and land elements of a Marine Landing Force in an assault by helicopter or tilt rotor aircraft; conventional or air cushion landing craft; and amphibious or Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles.

In light of this mission, what considerations went into the design of this class of ships?

The ship is designed to support 21st-century Expeditionary Warfighters' requirements. Specifically, The ships will support continuous operations in the challenging environment of littoral crises and conflicts. Operational concepts, such as the Navy's Forward…From the Sea, the Marine Corps' Operational Maneuver From the Sea, and its tactical implementation plan, Ship-to-Objective Maneuver, helped define the required operational capabilities of the ship. The LPDs will also be a viable asset within the Navy's Seapower 21 vision.

What are the dimensions of the ship?

Length - 684 feet (208.5 meters); Beam - 105 feet (31.9 meters); Displacement - ~24,900 long tons.

What is the size of the ship's crew?

Ship's crew size will include 360 Sailors and three permanently assigned Marines.

How many troops can one of these ships accommodate?

Troops include Marines as well as Naval Support Element personnel (Beachmasters, landing craft personnel, SEALs, etc.) The ship will have a berthing capacity to accommodate 699 troops (enlisted, senior non-commissioned officers, and officers) on a "normal" deployment, with a surge capacity to accommodate as many as 800 troops, (101 more), if needed.

How many female Sailors and Marines can the LPDs accommodate?

The design fully supports Navy and Marines Corps policies for accommodating women at sea. The design of smaller crew and troop berthing compartments, the plan for identical sanitary facilities (no urinals) and an overall improved quality of life design will benefit both male and female while providing an unparalleled flexibility in accommodating women.

How many air-cushioned landing craft (LCAC) can each ship carry?

Depending upon the mission requirements, the ships can carry up to two LCACs.

What other landing craft are carried on board and how many of each can be carried?

If LCACs are not embarked, each ship can carry one landing craft utility (LCU), four MK eight SEAL Delivery Vehicles or up to 26 Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles/Amphibious Assault Vehicles (14 in main vehicle stowage, 12 in the well deck). A routine loadout might be two LCACs, 14 EFVs, two SEAL Mission RHIBs and associated Marine equipment and vehicles.

What type of propulsion do these ships use?

The LPD 17 San Antonio class is equipped with diesel engines for main propulsion. Specifically, there are four 16-cylinder Colt-Pielstick diesel engines sequentially turbocharged to generate up to 10,400 horsepower each. These engines drive two shafts with controllable pitch propellers, which provide enhanced acceleration and maneuverability. These engines are improved versions of the engines currently employed in the LSD 41/49 class.

What are the onboard medical capabilities of the class?

Each ship will have two medical and two dental operating rooms as well as a 24-bed ward that includes ICU facilities.

What contributions does each ship bring in terms of amphibious lift capability?

Each ship will have approximately 24,000 square feet (2,230 meters2) of vehicle storage space and approximately 34,000 cubic feet of cargo/ammunition storage.

What are the air support capabilities?

The flight deck can support the Marine Corps' largest helicopter, the CH-53E. The ship's design also allows support of smaller helicopters such as the CH-46, AH-1H or UH-1H aircraft. The ship may also launch and recover the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. Depending upon the mix of aircraft, the LPD 17 San Antonio class has the capability to temporarily support as many as six aircraft cross-decked from another ship or routinely launch or recover as many as four aircraft simultaneously.

Do ships of the LPD 17 San Antonio class have permanently embarked aircraft?

No, the ships do not have aircraft permanently assigned. They may embark or cross-deck aircraft and/or personnel from the large-deck amphibious ships within Expeditionary Strike Group, but only temporarily to support specific mission requirements. However, the ships do have permanently assigned personnel in their Air Departments for handling and fueling aircraft.

What systems does each ship have for self-defense?

For air defense each LPD has the Mk 31 Mod 1 Guided Missile Weapons System with its RIM 116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), which is used to engage anti-ship missiles or high-speed aircraft. Each ship has two RAM launchers. For defense against surface targets, the ships posses the naval version of the Marine Corps' Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles' (EFV) 30mm gun. It provides greater accuracy and lethality than the 25mm gun currently found on other ships.

What other systems enhance self-defense?

SLQ-32 (V) 2 Electronic Warfare (EW) System, Super RBOC, MK 53 DLS/Nulka decoy, and SLQ-25A (Nixie) towed anti-torpedo systems

How many ships of the LPD 17 San Antonio class will be built?

The final number of ships built will be based upon national security and Navy needs. Nine ships have been named and six (18 through 23) are under contract for construction.

How much will a ship cost?

The average cost of an LPD 17 San Antonio class ship is expected to be $1.3 B.

What is the projected service life of the LPDs?

The ships are designed for a 40-year service life.

Amphibious ships normally conduct operations near land. What features in design enhance survivability in such an environment?

Since these amphibious transport docks will operate in the littoral, a potentially more dangerous area than the open ocean, self-defense and survivability were crucial elements that influenced ship design:

  • The LPD 17 San Antonio Class' distinctive profile reduces potential detection through a streamlined design, minimally exposed topside equipment, a boat valley instead of a boat deck, and such technology as the Advanced Enclosed Masts/Sensors (AEM/S) system.
  • Other survivability enhancements incorporated into the ship's design include a hardened structure, advanced degaussing to reduce magnetic signature, and optimum separation of redundant systems, where if one part of the ship sustains damage, vital systems are ensured continuity.
  • Defense against a chemical-biological-radiation attack calls for a four-zone Collective Protection System with decontamination stations to protect personnel.
  • Damage Control (DC) Central is collocated with Engineering Control to provide continuity of damage recovery operations. The ship's design provides for a secondary DC Central, which is located for maximum separation.
  • Other damage recovery features include extensive use of fire insulation, wider passageways, a smoke removal system and advanced fire fighting systems.

Are their any significant differences between the other ships of the class and the first ship of the class, San Antonio, LPD 17?

All the ships of the LPD 17 class will be constructed from the same design. Over the service life of the ships, some ships may receive updates or back fits before others, but the ships of the class will generally be the same with no long-term significant differences.

How did fleet inputs become a factor in the ship's design?

By involving Marine Corps and Navy personnel with recent forward presence experience, the ship's Design Team ensured that the capabilities and layout of spaces would support 21st-Century Expeditionary Warfare requirements. Inputs assisted in everything from the arrangement of the Pilot House and Combat Information Center to improving the berthing spaces and even recommending an appropriate type of pots and pans washer.

Global Command and Control System-Maritime System that provides a single, seamless support for the decision-making process. Its graphic display of the battlespace assists in planning, coordinating, and executing operations throughout the chain of command

What is the SWAN?

The San Antonio class is the first class of ship equipped with a state-of-the-art fiber-optic Shipboard Wide Area Network (SWAN). Its design provides computer and network access linking every manned space on the ship, to include troop/crew berthing. The SWAN's design also allows for future growth over the life of the ship as technology advances. Over 760 SWAN drops (i.e. access points) will support computer workstations or other uses throughout the ship.

What provisions were made for onboard training?

The ships will have:

  • A Training Department - one officer and five enlisted training experts
  • The Total Ships Training System (TSTS) to develop lesson plans, conduct training, and document results. Embedded training systems within the TSTS allow on-station watch and damage control training throughout the ship.
  • Dedicated training spaces such as the Advanced Electronic Classroom (AEC) and Learning Resource Center (LRC). The AEC has instructor controls, 18 student workstations, its own server, and a large screen display. The LRC is equipped with 14 student carrels and 50 portable laptops.
  • Space reserved for Marine Corps' training devices.

How does the LPD 17 San Antonio class enhance the quality of life for the ship's company and embarked troops?

LPD 17 class' design incorporates a variety of improvements to crew and troop comfort in which computer modeling and simulation played a significant role. The assurance that a fully equipped Marine could move through ship passageways to a debarkation station without being impeded is one such example. Other examples include:

Sit-up Berth, which has room for a Sailor or Marine to sleep comfortably or to sit up in the bunk for reading or writing. The berth also has a portable reading and writing surface, and 40% more storage space than traditional three tiered bunks.

Rifle, and field pack stowage lockers and nearby by troop armories supporting troop berthing

Food service spaces were designed with help from the Fleet, to ensure better-prepared and more nutritious offerings, more efficient means of food preparation, and user-friendly layout of food service spaces. Advanced technology in terms of food storage and preparation is a major enhancement of the consolidated galley that will serve officers, chief petty officer/senior non-commissioned officers, and crew/troops.

Physical Fitness Center to ensure both Sailors and Marines maintain their fitness. This is a 1,100 square foot space with its own sanitary facilities. Fleet personnel provided input for the center's equipment with the assistance of a professional fitness expert.

What revolutionary design attributes or innovations are incorporated into the ships of this class?

Advanced Enclosed Mast/Sensor System. The AEM/S concept totally modified ship appearance topside and improves the warfighting capability through reduced radar cross-section signature, improved sensor performance, and greatly reduced maintenance of the mast and antennas. The concept was proven at sea in USS Radford (DD 968) and will be installed in each ship of the San Antonio (LPD 17) Class. Antennas are located inside each of two masts, which use a hybrid, frequency selective material to allow communications, and radar signals to pass through, but exclude electronic noise and weather.

All Electric Auxiliaries. All previous amphibious ships have had auxiliary boilers to produce steam for heating, hot water, and cooking. These steam auxiliary systems were difficult to maintain and manpower intensive. The LPD 17 class will have electric heating, electric water heaters and electric combination ovens in the galley.

Berthing Spaces. Identical for embarked troops and ship's crew. In the LPDs, the berthing spaces will have similar sit-up berths, integral sanitary (head) facilities, and adjacent lounges. Chief petty officers and senior non-commissioned officers will live in modular six person bunkrooms with integrated sanitary facilities. Moreover, males and females will have equal facilities.

Berth - sit up. LPDs will incorporate the sit-up berth for crew and embarked troops alike. For the first time personnel will have room to sit up in their bunks and to read or write on portable surfaces. Each berth will have individual ventilation and 40% more storage.

Boat Valley and all RHIBs. LPD 17 class ships will carry one 11-meter and two 7-meter rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs). These boats are considerably lighter than traditional craft, thus reducing the ship's weight, improving acquisition costs, and decreasing boat maintenance requirements. Two of these boats are stored in a boat valley while a second 7-meter RHIB, which serves as the ship's rescue boat, is hidden on the starboard side. The boat valley can also store two mission-RHIBs used by embarked Small Boat Units or Marine Reconnaissance Forces.

Consolidated Galleys. LPDs use a single, modern galley to feed officers in the wardroom; chief petty officers and senior non-commissioned officers in the CPO/SCNO mess; and embarked troops and ship's crew in the enlisted dining facility. Over 1200 Sailors and Marines can be well-fed three plus times per day.

Enhanced Survivability. The LPD 17 class will be the first ship class to combine so many survivability, emergency response systems. These include the Water Mist System - Protection for the Main Machinery and Auxiliary Machinery Rooms; HFP (Heptafluoropropane) which replaces HALON, a chlorofluorocarbon, for aviation fuel (JP-5) space protection; Aqueous Film Forming Foam from portable extinguishers; Ship Service Diesel Generator Enclosure Sprinkling; Sea Water Sprinkling for berthing, storerooms, etc., a Smoke Removal System, and a Collective Protective System for living spaces

Environmental Friendly. The LPD 17 class will have minimal and manageable environmental impact. The pollution mitigation devices installed in the LPD 17 class are state-of-the-art for warships and meet the requirements of regulatory agencies and present day law. The design has space and weight margins in place to accommodate back fit of future environmentally required systems. The ship has an oil pollution control system capable of processing bilge water to meet current Federal requirements with the capability of returning water for further processing if output requirements are exceeded, and its air conditioning, refrigeration, and fire suppression systems are free of chlorofluorocarbons - a Navy first.

Food Service. LPDs will be able to provide traditional food service and pre-prepared food to meet the needs of Sailors and Marines. Its "combi" oven steams, dry roasts and combines both functions. The ovens can steam vegetables or broast any type of meat, even cook crispy French fries.

Knuckeboom Crane. LPDs' boat and cargo crane will be a "reduced radar cross section signature" hydraulic crane. The 22,000 lb. rated, 65 ft. knuckleboom crane will be able to move Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats from the boat valley to the waterline, recover the boats, or load cargo pierside or at sea. The newly designed crane utilizes a positive control "Derrick Head" capturing device that affords safe boat operations through Sea State 3 conditions (3-4 feet seas).

Metric Ship. Each LPD is a hybrid metric ship, the first major Navy ship class to be so constructed. Wherever possible the LPD 17 class was designed using the metric system for linear dimensions and other parameters. Most machinery parameters remain in English foot-pound measures.

MV-22/EFV Compatible. The LPD 17 class ships designed for compatibility with the MV-22 Osprey and the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle:

The MV-22 is a joint service, multi-mission aircraft with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability. The MV-22 flies twice as fast at a greater distance and carries a heavier payload than the helicopters it replaces. It can operate as a helicopter when taking off and landing vertically and once airborne becomes a high-speed, fuel-efficient turboprop airplane. The wing rotates for compact storage aboard ship. Each ship will be able to support four aircraft on its flight deck.

The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) will replace the Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) as the primary combat vehicle for transporting troops on land and from ship to shore. The EFV has the capability to maneuver, combat loaded with a Marine rifle squad, at 20-25 knots in the water and maneuver cross country with agility and mobility equal or greater than that of the M1 Main Battle Tank (MBT). LPDs can carry at least 14 EFVs along with air cushion landing craft inside its well deck and vehicle stowage areas.

Reverse Osmosis Water Generating Plant. Navy ships have traditionally used distillation for converting seawater into potable water - the salt water was flashed and the condensate collected. LPDs will use a Reverse Osmosis system, also known as hyper filtration, which will remove particles as small as ions from the seawater through a semi-permeable membrane. It will purify water and remove salts and other impurities in order to obtain water for drinking, vehicle and aircraft wash downs and other shipboard uses. Equally important, this system will produce 72,000 gallons of potable water daily.

Shipboard Wide Area Network. The shipboard wide area network (SWAN) developed for the LPD 17 class is a fiber-optic ship wide large area computer network. The SWAN will support everything from combat systems to ship control systems to command and control nodes to an integrated training system. This network provides e-mail and Internet access capability through over 760 drops throughout the ship.

Stabilized 30mm Gun. For close in, small boat threats LPDs will rely upon two Mk 46 Mod 1, 30mm guns for defense. Against such threats, ships currently use machine guns or manned, visually sighted 25mm chain guns. In the LPDs these new types of guns will have longer range, be more accurate, be capable of being fired remotely and use close loop fire control, forward looking infrared, or laser range for targeting surface threats. The guns will be stabilized to improve accuracy at sea and employ the same kind of training, maintenance, and ammunition as the Marines' 30mm gun in EFVs.

What is the significance of naming three LPDs New York, Arlington, and Somerset, a state and two counties, rather than following the trend of naming the LPD 17 class after cities?

New York Naming: In 2002 New York Governor George Pataki wrote the Secretary of the Navy asking that a ship be named New York to honor the victims and first responders of the tragic events of September 11 2001. The Secretary then made the decision to name LPD-21 New York in 2002.

Then Secretary of the Navy Gordon England in announcing the naming decision, stated, "This new class of ships will project American power to the far corners of the Earth and support the cause of freedom well into the 21st century. From the war for independence through the war on terrorism, which we wage today, the courage and heroism of the people of New York has been an inspiration. USS New York will play an important role in our Navy's future and will be a fitting tribute to the people of the Empire State."

Governor Pataki hailed the Secretary's decision and said, "The USS New York will ensure that all New Yorkers and the world will never forget the evil attacks of September 11, and the courage and compassion New Yorkers showed in response to terror. I want to thank Secretary England for taking this extraordinary step and agreeing to pay special tribute to all New Yorkers by giving our name to a ship that will play an important role in the war on terror."

New York Bow Stem. Later in 2002 a decision was made to attempt to use salvaged steel from the World Trade Center debris in the construction of LPD-21. On November 11, 2002 at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City, a representative from the Port Authority and a contingent of former seamen from the USS Intrepid presented a 200-pound girder from the World Trade Center to the Navy for use in the construction of the New York. Eventually over 10 tons of steel was transported to the shipbuilder, Northrop Grumman Ship's Systems.

A bow-stem is the foremost section of the hull on the water line that slices through the water. It is the leading edge of the ship as it moves through the water and after the keel, the stem is the most important structural part of a ship. At first it was thought that only a few pounds of World Trade Center Steel could be used, but the Material and Environmental Engineering group engineers from the Naval Sea Systems Command studied steel's chemistry reports, evaluated the data against technical manuals and specifications, and determined that thousands of pounds of World Trade Center steel could be used.

In 2003, Amite Foundry and Machine in Amite, LA, a subcontractor to the shipbuilder Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, performed the casting, pouring the molten steel into the bow stem mold.

On that occasion, acting Secretary of the Navy Hansford T. Johnson said, "The spirit of the World Trade Center towers and the fierce pride we feel as Americans is being poured into a new beginning, a new life, for USS New York. This ship represents a new use of the steel that once stood as a mighty symbol of our nation's strength and economic vitality. The strength of those we lost and will always remember has been forged in the steel of this ship that will be carried in its bow.

In 2005 Northrop Grumman installed the bow stem into the main hull of New York and in 2006 the remainder of the bow section, all 311 tons, was lifted into place.

Arlington and Somerset Naming: Upon learning of the naming of New York, Mr. Herb Wolk, a retired Navy civilian, initiated a letter-writing campaign to name warships for Arlington and Somerset. Mr. Wolk had lost a son-in-law in the attack upon the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. His efforts according to a Navy spokesman "were key to the Navy's decision."

In 2004, Secretary of the Navy Gordon England named the eighth and ninth ships of the San Antonio-class of Amphibious Transport Dock ships as Arlington and Somerset. Arlington was chosen to honor the city and county in northern Virginia, and especially, the 184 victims, aboard American Airlines Flight 77 and on the ground, who died during the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon.

Somerset honors the county in Pennsylvania where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after courageous passengers stormed the cockpit in an attempt to regain control from the terrorists onboard. Their actions prevented the airplane from reaching its destination and inflicting further casualties and damage, and the heroic sacrifice of these 40 passengers and crew rallied and inspired the nation.

In naming these ships, Secretary England noted the impact these vessels will have on the terrorist infrastructure that led to their naming. "USS Arlington and USS Somerset will help America project power to the far reaches of the earth and will support the cause of freedom as we engage in the current war on terrorism. The courage and heroism of the people aboard those flights, and in the Pentagon, will never be forgotten by the American people, and as these ships engage in combating terrorism, they will leave a legacy that will never be forgotten by those wishing to do harm to this country."

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