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USS Essex performing a stern gate mating with a landing craft

Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD), is the U.S. Navy hull classification symbol for multipurpose amphibious assault ships which are capable of operating helicopters and have a well deck.[1] These vessels are built with a full flight deck similar in appearance to an aircraft carrier to operate utility and attack helicopters, some can also operate tilt rotor aircraft such as the MV-22 Osprey and STOVL aircraft such as the AV-8 Harrier and the F-35B Lightning II. Examples of this kind of ship include the USN's Wasp class, French Navy's Mistral class, The Republic of Korea Navy Dokdo class,[2] and ships of the Spanish Navy's Juan Carlos I class including the Royal Australian Navy's Canberra class.[3][4]

USN ship classes that precede and follow the ships classed LHD are designated as LHA or Landing Helicopter Assault and are interchangeable with LHDs, they also have well decks with the exception of the first two America class ships, LHA-6 and LHA-7 which take the space for larger aviation facilities.[5]

See also


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