Landing Platform Dock
Among the largest types of amphibious warfare ships being built today, landing platform dock (LPD) vessels combine the features of several previous types. The "dock" refers to a well deck, or a below-decks compartment that can be flooded and drained, allowing smaller landing craft to go in and out under their own power. In contrast, the "platform" is a flight deck that supports a substantial number of helicopters and, usually, short-takeoff-vertical-landing (STOVL) aircraft.
While they are principally naval vessels, they are also extremely useful in humanitarian operations to areas with no working port facilities.
When operating as part of an Amphibious Ready Group, the LPD usually operates closer to shore than a Amphibious Assault Ship, because the LPD is the main carrier of large landing craft, while the larger LHA/LHD delivers its troops and cargo by aircraft.
Second World War amphibious vessels were of two basic types. One, such as attack cargo ships, carried smaller landing craft at the height of the main deck, and lowered them to the water. While it was typically the smaller landing craft that could beach themselves to unload, some seagoing types, such as the Landing Ship Tank, also had beaching capability.
Postwar types included pure helicopter carriers, as well as |dock landing ships with a well deck. Some early well decks were open to the sky; the LPD and earlier Landing Platform Helicopter closed the well deck with a flight deck. These vessels also have complex combat loading systems that allow supplies and personnel to be moved efficiently to the flight or well deck.
Countries building this type include a joint project between Spain and the Netherlands (Enforcer-class), Singapore Endurance-class, the Royal Navy (Albion-class), and the United States Navy (San Antonio-class).