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IWO JIMA amphibious helicopter carriers (1961 - 1970)


New Orleans 1973


No Name Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comm Fate
LPH2 Iwo Jima   Puget Sound N Yd, Bremerton 2.4.1959 17.9.1960 26.8.1961 stricken 9.1993
LPH3 Okinawa   Philadelphia N Yd 1.4.1960 19.8.1961 14.4.1962 stricken 12.1992
LPH7 Guadalcanal   Philadelphia N Yd 1.9.1961 16.3.1963 20.7.1963 stricken 8.1994
LPH9 Guam   Philadelphia N Yd 15.11.1962 22.8.1964 16.1.1965 stricken 8.1998
LPH10 Tripoli 1105 Ingalls, Pascagoula 15.6.1964 31.7.1965 6.8.1966 stricken 9.1995
LPH11 New Orleans   Philadelphia N Yd 1.3.1966 3.2.1968 16.11.1968 stricken 10.1998
LPH12, 3.1995- MCS12 Inchon 1156 Ingalls, Pascagoula 8.4.1968 24.5.1969 20.6.1970 mine countermeasures support ship 3.1995, stricken 5.2004

Technical data

Displacement standard, t


Displacement full, t


Length, m

169.5 wl 183.6 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



LPH2, 3, 7, 11: 1 set Westinghouse geared steam turbines, 2 Combustion Engineering boilers

LPH9: 1 set Westinghouse geared steam turbines, 2 Babcock & Wilcox boilers

LPH10: 1 set De Laval geared steam turbines, 2 Combustion Engineering boilers

LPH12: 1 set General Electric geared steam turbines, 2 Combustion Engineering boilers

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t


Endurance, nm(kts)



4 x 2 - 76/50 Mk 33, 19 CH-46 or 11 CH-53 helicopters (standard 24 CH-46, 4 CH-53, 4 UH-1)

Military load

LPH2, 3, 7, 9-11: 2057 troops

LPH12: 2057 troops, 2 LCVP

Electronic equipment

LN-66, SPS-10, SPS-40, SPN-10, 2x Mk 34 radars, WLR-1 ECM suite



Standard scale images

<i>Iwo Jima </i>1990
Iwo Jima 1990
<i>Iwo Jima </i>1963
Iwo Jima 1963
<i>Iwo Jima </i>1979
Iwo Jima 1979
<i>Inchon </i>2000
Inchon 2000


<i>New Orleans</i> 1973
New Orleans 1973
<i>Inchon </i>1993
Inchon 1993

Project history

These ships were the culmination of a long Marine Corps development of vertical envelopment, or helicopter assault. The basic motivation was fear of nuclear bombardment of concentrations of landing craft off relatively restricted beaches; helicopters could approach from greater distances, preserving concentration of the assault troops at the beaches while permitting dispersal of assault shipping. Probably the single greatest defect of the LPH was its inability to operate landing craft. Thus it could not attack or support troops on the beach in rough weather, and its helicopters could not move heavy equipment over a beach. The Iwo Jima class helicopter carriers were designed at 1957 after studies of the conversion of alternative hulls, including some of the wartime fast battleships. In fact three Essex class ASW carriers were converted to become austere LPHs with cargo stowed on their former hangar decks. They retained their 127mm batteries for shore bombardments, a capability not matched by the specially-built LPH (but in fact restored in the later LHA). The basic LPH design incorporated provision for conversion to an ASW helicopter carrier, aid in this sense provided a full replacement for the CVS conversions. However, unlike the Essex class CVS, the Iwo Jimas could not operate fixed-wing aircraft, since the design never incorporated either a catapult or arresting gear. Note that, at the time of design, there was no question of retiring the Essex class CVS.

Converted aircraft carriers had not enough space for Marines. The Iwo Jimas solved this problem. Their troop spaces, accommodating 2000 troops, were air conditioned, and there were special vehicle stowage areas and special cargo facilities. Flight decks were 'spotted' to accommodate seven CH-46 or four CH-51 helicopters for take-off; the hangar can accommodate, respectively, 19 and 11 of these helicopters. When helicopters are heavily laden, they benefit from take-off runs, so that effective operation limits the number of helicopter 'spots'.


1970, Okinawa: - 1 x 2 - 76/50; + 1 x 8 Sea Sparrow SAM (8 RIM-7), Mk 115 radar

1972, Tripoli, Inchon; 1973, Iwo Jima, New Orleans; 1974, Guadalcanal, Guam: - 2 x 2 - 76/50, 2x Mk 34 radars; + 2 x 8 Sea Sparrow SAM (8 RIM-7), 2x Mk 115 radars

1973, Okinawa: - 1 x 2 - 76/50, 2x Mk 34 radars; + 1 x 8 Sea Sparrow SAM (8 RIM-7), Mk 115 radar

1983-1986, all: + 2 x 6 - 20/76 Mk 15 Phalanx, 2x Mk 90 radars

early 1980s, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, New Orleans; late 1980s, Guadalcanal, Guam, Tripoli, Inchon: - WLR-1 ECM suite; + SLQ-32(v)3 ECM suite, 4x Mk 36 SRBOC decoy RL

early 1980s, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Guadalcanal, Guam, Tripoli, New Orleans: - SPN-10 radar; + SPN-35, SPN-43 radars

early 1980s, Inchon: - SPN-10 radar; + SPN-43 radar

1995, Inchon: - 2 x 8 Sea Sparrow SAM, 2 x 2 - 76/50, 2x Mk 115 radars; + 4 x 1 - 25/75 Mk 38 Bushmaster, can carry 11 MH-53 minesweeping helicopters

Naval service

In 1971 Guam was modified as a prototype Sea Control Ship; she was later refitted as an LPH. Inchon operated minesweeping helicopters in Operation Endsweep, the clearance of the ports of North Vietnam in 1973. Tripoli was mine countermeasures HQ ship during the Gulf conflict; was mined 18.2.1991. Other units also served in the capacity of countermine mothership. Inchon was reclassified as Mine Countermeasures Command and Support Ship in 1995. She was severely damaged by fire 19.10.2001, laid up unrepaired in June 2002 and finally sunk 5.12.2004.