The United States Navy, United States Coast Guard, and United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) use a hull classification symbol (sometimes called hull code or hull number) to identify their ships by type and by individual ship within a type. The system is analogous to the pennant number system that the Royal Navy and other European and Commonwealth navies use.
The U.S. Navy began to assign unique Naval Registry Identification Numbers to its ships in the 1890s. The system was a simple one in which each ship received a number which was appended to its ship type, fully spelled out, and added parenthetically after the ship's name when deemed necessary to avoid confusion between ships. Under this system, for example, the battleship Indiana was USS Indiana (Battleship No. 1), the cruiser Olympia was USS Olympia (Cruiser No. 6), and so on. Beginning in 1907, some ships also were referred to alternatively by single-letter or three-letter codes—for example, USS Indiana (Battleship No. 1) could be referred to as USS Indiana (B-1) and USS Olympia (Cruiser No. 6) could also be referred to as USS Olympia (C-6), while USS Pennsylvania (Armored Cruiser No. 4) could be referred to as USS Pennsylvania (ACR-4). However, rather than replacing it, these codes coexisted and were used interchangeably with the older system until the modern system was instituted on 17 July 1920.
During World War I, the U.S. Navy acquired large numbers of privately owned and commercial ships and craft for use as patrol vessels, mine warfare vessels, and various types of naval auxiliary ships, some of them with identical names. To keep track of them all, the Navy assigned unique identifying numbers to them. Those deemed appropriate for patrol work received section patrol numbers (SP), while those intended for other purposes received "identification numbers", generally abbreviated "Id. No." or "ID;" some ships and craft changed from an SP to an ID number or vice versa during their careers, without their unique numbers themselves changing, and some ships and craft assigned numbers in anticipation of naval service never were acquired by the Navy. The SP/ID numbering sequence was unified and continuous, with no SP number repeated in the ID series or vice versa so that there could not be, for example, both an "SP-435" and an "Id. No 435". The SP and ID numbers were used parenthetically after each boat's or ship's name to identify it; although this system pre-dated the modern hull classification system and its numbers were not referred to at the time as "hull codes" or "hull numbers," it was used in a similar manner to today's system and can be considered its precursor.
The United States Revenue Cutter Service, which merged with the United States Lifesaving Service in January 1915 to form the modern United States Coast Guard, began following the Navy's lead in the 1890s, with its cutters having parenthetical numbers called Naval Registry Identification Numbers following their names, such as (Cutter No. 1), etc. This persisted until the Navy's modern hull classification system's introduction in 1920, which included Coast Guard ships and craft.
Like the U.S. Navy, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey – a uniformed seagoing service of the United States Government and a predecessor of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – adopted a hull number system for its fleet in the 20th century. Its largest vessels, "Category I" oceanographic survey ships, were classified as "ocean survey ships" and given the designation "OSS". Intermediate-sized "Category II" oceanographic survey ships received the designation "MSS" for "medium survey ship," and smaller "Category III" oceanographic survey ships were given the classification "CSS" for "coastal survey ship." A fourth designation, "ASV" for "auxiliary survey vessel," included even smaller vessels. In each case, a particular ship received a unique designation based on its classification and a unique hull number separated by a space rather than a hyphen; for example, the third Coast and Geodetic Survey ship named Pioneer was an ocean survey ship officially known as USC&GS Pioneer (OSS 31). The Coast and Geodetic Survey's system persisted after the creation of NOAA in 1970, when NOAA took control of the Survey's fleet, but NOAA later changed to its modern hull classification system.
The U.S. Navy instituted its modern hull classification system on 17 July 1920, doing away with section patrol numbers, "identification numbers", and the other numbering systems described above. In the new system, all hull classification symbols are at least two letters; for basic types the symbol is the first letter of the type name, doubled, except for aircraft carriers.
The combination of symbol and hull number identifies a modern Navy ship uniquely. A heavily modified or re-purposed ship may receive a new symbol, and either retain the hull number or receive a new one. For example, the heavy gun cruiser USS Boston (CA-69) was converted to a gun/missile cruiser, changing the hull number to CAG-1. Also, the system of symbols has changed a number of times both since it was introduced in 1907 and since the modern system was instituted in 1920, so ships' symbols sometimes change without anything being done to the physical ship.
Hull numbers are assigned by classification. Duplication between, but not within, classifications is permitted. Hence, CV-1 was the aircraft carrier USS Langley and BB-1 was the battleship USS Indiana.
Ship types and classifications have come and gone over the years, and many of the symbols listed below are not presently in use. The Naval Vessel Register maintains an online database of U.S. Navy ships showing which symbols are presently in use.
After World War II until 1975, the U.S. Navy defined a "frigate" as a type of surface warship larger than a destroyer and smaller than a cruiser. In other navies, such a ship generally was referred to as a "flotilla leader", or "destroyer leader". Hence the U.S. Navy's use of "DL" for "frigate" prior to 1975, while "frigates" in other navies were smaller than destroyers and more like what the U.S. Navy termed a "destroyer escort", "ocean escort", or "DE". The United States Navy 1975 ship reclassification of cruisers, frigates, and ocean escorts brought U.S. Navy classifications into line with other nations' classifications, at least cosmetically in terms of terminology, and eliminated the perceived "cruiser gap" with the Soviet Navy by redesignating the former "frigates" as "cruisers".
If a U.S. Navy ship's hull classification symbol begins with "T-", it is part of the Military Sealift Command, has a primarily civilian crew, and is a United States Naval Ship (USNS) in non-commissioned service – as opposed to a commissioned United States Ship (USS) with an all-military crew.
If a ship's hull classification symbol begins with "W", it is a ship of the United States Coast Guard. Until 1965, the Coast Guard used U.S. Navy hull classification codes, prepending a "W" to their beginning. In 1965, it retired some of the less mission-appropriate Navy-based classifications and developed new ones of its own, most notably WHEC for "high endurance cutter" and WMEC for "medium endurance cutter".
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a component of the United States Department of Commerce, includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps (or "NOAA Corps"), one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and operates a fleet of seagoing research and survey ships. The NOAA fleet also uses a hull classification symbol system, which it also calls "hull numbers," for its ships.
After NOAA took over the former Coast and Geodetic Survey fleet in 1970 along with research vessels of other government agencies, it adopted a new system of ship classification. In its system, the NOAA fleet is divided into two broad categories, research ships and survey ships. The research ships, which include oceanographic and fisheries research vessels, are given hull numbers beginning with "R", while the survey ships, generally hydrographic survey vessels, receive hull numbers beginning with "S". The letter is followed by a three-digit number; the first digit indicates the NOAA "class" (i.e., size) of the vessel, which NOAA assigns based on the ship's gross tonnage and horsepower, while the next two digits combine with the first digit to create a unique three-digit identifying number for the ship.
Unlike the Navy, once an older NOAA ship leaves service, a newer one can be given the same hull number; for example, "S 222" was assigned to NOAAS Mount Mitchell (S 222), then assigned to NOAAS Thomas Jefferson (S 222), which entered NOAA service after Mount Mitchell was stricken.
The U.S. Navy's system of alpha-numeric ship designators, and its associated hull numbers, have been for several decades a unique method of categorizing ships of all types: combatants, auxiliaries and district craft. Though considerably changed in detail and expanded over the years, this system remains essentially the same as when formally implemented in 1920. It is a very useful tool for organizing and keeping track of naval vessels, and also provides the basis for the identification numbers painted on the bows (and frequently the sterns) of most U.S. Navy ships.
The ship designator and hull number system's roots extend back to the late 1880s, when ship type serial numbers were assigned to most of the new-construction warships of the emerging "Steel Navy". During the course of the next thirty years, these same numbers were combined with filing codes used by the Navy's clerks to create an informal version of the system that was put in place in 1920. Limited usage of ship numbers goes back even earlier, most notably to the "Jeffersonian Gunboats" of the early 1800s and the "Tinclad" river gunboats of the Civil War Mississippi Squadron.
It is important to understand that hull number letter prefixes are not acronyms, and should not be carelessly treated as abbreviations of ship type classifications. Thus, "DD" does not stand for anything more than "Destroyer". "SS" simply means "Submarine". And "FF" is the post-1975 type code for "Frigate."
The hull classification codes for ships in active duty in the United States Navy are governed under Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5030.8B (SECNAVINST 5030.8B).
Warships are designed to participate in combat operations.
The origin of the two-letter code derives from the need to distinguish various cruiser subtypes.
|Battleship||Heavy gun-armed vessel||BB|
|battle (prior to 1961)
|aviation or voler||CV|
Aircraft carriers are ships designed primarily for the purpose of conducting combat operations by aircraft which engage in attacks against airborne, surface, sub-surface and shore targets. Contrary to popular belief, the "CV" hull classification symbol does not stand for "carrier vessel". "CV" derives from the cruiser designation, with the v for French voler, "to fly". Aircraft carriers are designated in two sequences: the first sequence runs from CV-1 USS Langley to the very latest ships, and the second sequence, "CVE" for escort carriers, ran from CVE-1 Long Island to CVE-127 Okinawa before being discontinued.
Surface combatants are ships which are designed primarily to engage enemy forces on the high seas. The primary surface combatants are battleships, cruisers and destroyers. Battleships are very heavily armed and armored; cruisers moderately so; destroyers and smaller warships, less so. Before 1920, ships were called "<type> no. X", with the type fully pronounced. The types were commonly abbreviated in ship lists to "B-X", "C-X", "D-X" et cetera—for example, before 1920, USS Minnesota (BB-22) would have been called "USS Minnesota, Battleship number 22" orally and "USS Minnesota, B-22" in writing. After 1920, the ship's name would have been both written and pronounced "USS Minnesota (BB-22)". In generally decreasing size, the types are:
Submarines are all self-propelled submersible types (usually started with SS) regardless of whether employed as combatant, auxiliary, or research and development vehicles which have at least a residual combat capability. While some classes, including all diesel-electric submarines, are retired from USN service, non-U.S. navies continue to employ SS, SSA, SSAN, SSB, SSC, SSG, SSM, and SST types. With the advent of new Air Independent Propulsion/Power (AIP) systems, both SSI and SSP are used to distinguish the types within the USN, but SSP has been declared the preferred term. SSK, retired by the USN, continues to be used colloquially and interchangeably with SS for diesel-electric attack/patrol submarines within the USN, and, more formally, by the Royal Navy and British firms such as Jane's Information Group.
||SSP, ASSP, APSS, and LPSS were all the same type, redesignated over the years.|
Patrol combatants are ships whose mission may extend beyond coastal duties and whose characteristics include adequate endurance and sea keeping, providing a capability for operations exceeding 48 hours on the high seas without support. This notably included Brown Water Navy/Riverine Forces during the Vietnam War. Few of these ships are in service today.
Amphibious warfare vessels include all ships having organic capability for amphibious warfare and which have characteristics enabling long duration operations on the high seas. There are two classifications of craft: amphibious warfare ships which are built to cross oceans, and landing craft, which are designed to take troops from ship to shore in an invasion.
Operated by Military Sealift Command, have ship prefix "USNS", hull code begins with "T-".
Ships which have the capability to provide underway replenishment to fleet units.
Mine warfare ships are those ships whose primary function is mine warfare on the high seas.
Coastal defense ships are those whose primary function is coastal patrol and interdiction.
Mobile logistics ships have the capability to provide direct material support to other deployed units operating far from home ports.
An auxiliary ship is designed to operate in any number of roles supporting combatant ships and other naval operations.
Although technically an aircraft, pre-World War II rigid airships (e.g., zeppelins) were treated like commissioned surface warships and submarines, flew the U.S. ensign from their stern and carried a United States Ship (USS) designation. Non-rigid airships (e.g., blimps) continued to fly the U.S. ensign from their stern, but were always considered to be primarily aircraft.
Support ships are not designed to participate in combat, and are generally not armed. For ships with civilian crews (owned by and/or operated for Military Sealift Command and the Maritime Administration), the prefix T- is placed at the front of the hull classification.
Support ships are designed to operate in the open ocean in a variety of sea states to provide general support to either combatant forces or shore based establishments. They include smaller auxiliaries which, by the nature of their duties, leave inshore waters.
Service craft are navy-subordinated craft (including non-self-propelled) designed to provide general support to either combatant forces or shore-based establishments. The suffix "N" refers to non-self-propelled variants.
Prior to 1965, U.S. Coast Guard ships used the same designation as naval ships, but preceded by a "W" to indicate Coast Guard subordination.
United States Navy Designations (Temporary) are a form of U.S. Navy ship designation, intended for temporary identification use. Such designations usually occur during periods of sudden mobilization, such as that which occurred prior to, and during, World War II or the Korean War, when it was determined that a sudden temporary need arose for a ship for which there was no official Navy designation.
During World War II, for example, a number of commercial vessels were requisitioned, or acquired, by the U.S. Navy to meet the sudden requirements of war. A yacht acquired by the U.S. Navy during the start of World War II might seem desirable to the Navy whose use for the vessel might not be fully developed or explored at the time of acquisition.
On the other hand, a U.S. Navy vessel, such as the yacht in the example above, already in commission or service, might be desired, or found useful, for another need or purpose for which there is no official designation.
Numerous other U.S. Navy vessels were launched with a temporary, or nominal, designation, such as YMS or PC, since it could not be determined, at time of construction, what they should be used for. Many of these were vessels in the 150 to 200 feet length class with powerful engines, whose function could be that of a minesweeper, patrol craft, submarine chaser, seaplane tender, tugboat, or other. Once their destiny, or capability, was found or determined, such vessels were reclassified with their actual designation.
The letter is paired with a three-digit number. The first digit of the number is determined by the ship's "power tonnage," defined as the sum of its shaft horsepower and gross international tonnage, as follows:
The second and third digits are assigned to create a unique three-digit hull number.
...a gutted Benson-class destroyer. This "corvette" (DDC) "can be readily obtained..."
Diesel AIP boats are known as SSIs, differentiating them from purely diesel-electric-powered hunter-killer subs, or SSKs.
An anti-submarine warfare carrier (ASW carrier) (US hull classification symbol CVS) is a type of small aircraft carrier whose primary role is as the nucleus of an anti-submarine warfare hunter-killer group. This type of ship came into existence during the Cold War as a development of the escort carriers used in the ASW role in the North Atlantic during World War II.Ballistic missile submarine
A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine capable of deploying submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with nuclear warheads. The United States Navy's hull classification symbols for ballistic missile submarines are SSB and SSBN – the SS denotes submarine (or submersible ship), the B denotes ballistic missile, and the N denotes that the submarine is nuclear powered. These submarines became a major weapon system in the Cold War because of their nuclear deterrence capability. They can fire missiles thousands of kilometers from their targets, and acoustic quieting makes them difficult to detect (see acoustic signature), thus making them a survivable deterrent in the event of a first strike and a key element of the mutual assured destruction policy of nuclear deterrence. Their deployment has been dominated by the United States and the Soviet Union / Russia, with smaller numbers in service with France, the United Kingdom, China, and India.Cruise missile submarine
A cruise missile submarine is a submarine that carries and launches cruise missiles (SLCMs) as its primary armament. Cruise missiles and dedicated anti-ship missiles greatly enhance a vessel's ability to attack surface combatants. Torpedoes are a more stealthy option, but missiles give a much longer stand-off range, as well as the ability to engage multiple targets on different headings at the same time. Many cruise missile submarines retain the capability to deploy nuclear warheads on their missiles, but they are considered distinct from ballistic missile submarines due to the substantial differences between the two weapons systems' characteristics.
Originally early designs of cruise missile submarines had to surface to launch their missiles, while later designs could do so underwater via dedicated vertical launching system (VLS) tubes. Many modern attack submarines can launch cruise missiles (and dedicated anti-ship missiles) from their torpedo tubes while some designs also incorporate a small number of VLS canisters, giving some significant overlap between cruise missile submarines and traditional attack submarines. Nonetheless, vessels classified as attack submarines still use torpedoes as their main armament and have a more multi-role mission profile due to their greater speed and maneuverability, in contrast to cruise missile submarines which are typically larger slower boats focused on the long distance surface strike role.
The United States Navy's hull classification symbols for cruise missile submarines are SSG and SSGN – the SS denotes submarine, the G denotes guided missile, and the N denotes that the submarine is nuclear-powered.Destroyer minesweeper
"Destroyer minesweeper" was a designation given by the United States Navy to a series of destroyers that were converted into high-speed ocean-going minesweepers for service during World War II. The hull classification symbol for this type of ship was "DMS." Forty-two ships were so converted, beginning with USS Dorsey (DD-117), converted to DMS-1 in late 1940, and ending with USS Earle (DD-635), converted to DMS-42 in mid 1945. The type is now obsolete, its function having been taken over by purpose-built ships, designated as "minesweeper (high-speed)" with the hull classification symbol MMD.
The original ships were obsolete four-stack destroyers built during and after World War I with usable power plants; they were nicknamed "four-pipers" on account of having the four stacks. The number 4 boiler, fourth stack, and torpedo tubes were removed, depth charge racks repositioned forward from the stern and angled outboard, and the stern modified to support sweep gear: davits, winch, paravanes, and kites. Two 60-kilowatt turbo-generators replaced the three original 25-kilowatt generators to improve capability for sweeping magnetic and acoustic mines.
Conversion of the initial seventeen ships was completed in October and November of 1940, and included eight Wickes-class and nine Clemson-class destroyers. An additional Wickes-class destroyer was converted in 1941. The 24 later ships in the series were Gleaves-class destroyers built during the war.
The fictional USS Caine, DMS 22, from Herman Wouk's novel The Caine Mutiny, is sketched within the novel itself. Although showing only two smokestacks, the sketch illustrates a flush deck and a galley deckhouse similar to the converted Wickes Class destroyer/minesweepers which actually had three smokestacks.Dock landing ship
A dock landing ship (also called landing ship, dock or LSD) is an amphibious warfare ship with a well dock to transport and launch landing craft and amphibious vehicles. Some ships with well decks, such as the Soviet Ivan Rogov class, also have bow doors to enable them to deliver vehicles directly onto a beach (like a tank landing ship). Modern dock landing ships also operate helicopters.
A ship with a well deck (docking well) can transfer cargo to landing craft in rougher seas than a ship that has to use cranes or a stern ramp. The US Navy hull classification symbol for a ship with a well deck depends on its facilities for aircraft – a (modern) LSD has a helicopter deck, an LPD also has a hangar, and an LHD or LHA has a full-length flight deck.Escort carrier
The escort carrier or escort aircraft carrier (US hull classification symbol CVE), also called a "jeep carrier" or "baby flattop" in the United States Navy (USN) or "Woolworth Carrier" by the Royal Navy, was a small and slow type of aircraft carrier used by the Royal Navy, the United States Navy, the Imperial Japanese Navy and Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in World War II. They were typically half the length and a third the displacement of larger fleet carriers. While they were slower, carried fewer planes and were less well armed and armored, escort carriers were cheaper and could be built quickly, which was their principal advantage. Escort carriers could be completed in greater numbers as a stop-gap when fleet carriers were scarce. However, the lack of protection made escort carriers particularly vulnerable, and several were sunk with great loss of life. The light carrier (hull classification symbol CVL) was a similar concept to escort carriers in most respects, but were capable of higher speeds to allow operation alongside fleet carriers.
Most often built on a commercial ship hull, escort carriers were too slow to keep up with the main forces consisting of fleet carriers, battleships, and cruisers. Instead, they were used to escort convoys, defending them from enemy threats such as submarines and planes. In the invasions of mainland Europe and Pacific islands, escort carriers provided air support to ground forces during amphibious operations. Escort carriers also served as backup aircraft transports for fleet carriers and ferried aircraft of all military services to points of delivery.
In the Battle of the Atlantic, escort carriers were used to protect convoys against U-boats. Initially escort carriers accompanied the merchant ships and helped to fend off attacks from aircraft and submarines. As numbers increased later in the war, escort carriers also formed part of hunter-killer groups that sought out submarines instead of being attached to a particular convoy.
In the Pacific theater, CVEs provided air support of ground troops in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. They lacked the speed and weapons to counter enemy fleets, relying on the protection of a Fast Carrier Task Force. However, at the Battle off Samar, one U.S. task force of escort carriers managed to successfully defend itself against a much larger Japanese force of battleships and cruisers. The Japanese met a furious defense of carrier aircraft, screening destroyers, and destroyer escorts, proving that CVEs could appear to have the same striking power as full CVs.
Of the 151 aircraft carriers built in the U.S. during World War II, 122 were escort carriers. Though no examples survive to this day, the Casablanca class was the most numerous class of aircraft carrier, with 50 launched. Second was the Bogue class, with 45 launched.Escort destroyer
An escort destroyer with United States Navy hull classification symbol DDE was a destroyer (DD) modified for and assigned to a fleet escort role after World War II. These destroyers retained their original hull numbers. Later, in March 1950, the post World War II ASW destroyer (DDK) classification was merged with the DDE classification, resulting in all DDK ships being reclassified as DDE, but again retaining their original hull numbers. On 30 June 1962, the DDE classification was retired, and all DDEs were reclassified as destroyers (DD). Escort destroyers should not be confused with the cheaper, slower, less capable, and more lightly armed World War II destroyer escorts.General G. O. Squier-class transport
The General G. O. Squier class of transport ships was built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. The class was based upon the Maritime Commission’s Type C4 ship. The class was named for United States Army Major General George Owen Squier.The first ship was launched in November 1942, while the last was launched in April 1945. Over that period the United States produced 30 General G. O. Squier-class transports. All of the ships were initially designated with hull classification symbol "AP" and numbered from 130 through 159. All but the four ships of the class (130, 131, 132, and 136) were transferred to the U.S. Army Transportation Service in 1946 and served as United States Army Transports (USAT), several of them being refitted to a larger gross tonnage. The 24 (numbers 134, 135, 137–151, and 153–159) still in service in 1950 were transferred back to the Navy as part of the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS). All but two were transferred on 1 March 1950, and all were reinstated on the Naval Vessel Register as United States Naval Ships (USNS), and redesignated with hull classification symbol "T-AP".Most of the General G. O. Squier class were deactivated in 1958 for two reasons: the introduction of jet airliners, and a decision to use berthing space on U.S.-flagged passenger ships. Two ships, however, General LeRoy Eltinge and General R. M. Blatchford, assisted in United Nations efforts in the Congo Republic in the early 1960s, and both were pressed into service transporting troops to Vietnam in the mid 1960s.Two other ships of the General G. O. Squier class, General Harry Taylor and General R. E. Callan were transferred to the U.S. Air Force as missile tracking ships as part of the Missile Test Project, and renamed USAFS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg and USAFS General H. H. Arnold, respectively. They were later transferred back to MSTS under their new names and redesignated with hull classification symbol “T-AGM”.The last General G. O. Squier-class ship afloat, the ex-General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, was sunk as an artificial reef off of the Florida Keys on 27 May 2009.High-speed transport
High-speed transports were converted destroyers and destroyer escorts used in US Navy amphibious operations in World War II and afterward. They received the US Hull classification symbol APD; "AP" for transport and "D" for destroyer.
APDs were intended to deliver small units such as Marine Raiders, Underwater Demolition Teams, and United States Army Rangers onto hostile shores. An APD could carry up to 200 troops - a company-size unit. It could also provide gunfire support if needed. USS Manley was officially designated the Navy's first high-speed transport on 2 August 1940 when she became APD-1.Hull classification symbol (Canada)
The Royal Canadian Navy uses hull classification symbols to identify the types of its ships, which are similar to the United States Navy's Hull classification symbol system. The Royal Navy and some European and Commonwealth navies (19 in total) use a somewhat analogous system of Pennant numbers.
In a ship name such as HMCS Algonquin (DDG 283) the ship prefix HMCS for His or Her Majesty's Canadian Ship indicates the vessel is a warship in service to the Monarch of Canada, while the proper name Algonquin may follow a naming convention for the class of vessel. The hull classification symbol in the example is the parenthetical suffix (DDG 283), where the hull classification type DDG indicates that the Algonquin is a guided missile destroyer and the hull classification number 283 is unique within that type. Listed below are various hull classification types with some currently in use and others that are retired and no longer in use.Landing helicopter assault
Landing helicopter assault (LHA) is the United States Navy's hull classification symbol for the general purpose helicopter-carrying amphibious assault ships of the Tarawa and America classes.
Their purpose is to project power and maintain presence by serving as the cornerstone of the amphibious ready group or expeditionary strike group. They are used to transport Fleet Marine Force personnel and equipment while operating in a deployed marine expeditionary unit (MEU) or marine expeditionary brigade (MEB). They normally travel in task forces called "amphibious ready groups". These ships and their escorts are capable of anything from military landing operations to humanitarian operations.
These vessels are built with a full flight deck similar in appearance to an aircraft carrier to operate utility and attack helicopters. They 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.The Tarawa-class LHAs provided the Marine Corps with a means of ship-to-shore movement by helicopter in addition to movement by landing craft. They were the first ships designed to do both things efficiently at same time.
The first two ships of the new America class, LHA-6 and LHA-7, differ from both the older Tarawa-class LHAs and LHDs in that they have no well deck; LHA-8 and following ships include well deck facilities. LHAs that contain a well deck are able to support the use of landing craft, air cushions (LCACs) and other watercraft.
Three Tarawa Class LHAs were active during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Since then, LHAs have participated in US Navy operations as launch platforms for Marine Corps expeditionary forces into Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom (2001/02), Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003) and humanitarian support after the tsunami in 2004. In 2004, LHAs were used to transport marines and their equipment to Iraq and Afghanistan for combat operations.Landing helicopter dock
A landing helicopter dock (LHD) is a term used to denote a multipurpose amphibious assault ship which is capable of operating helicopters and has a well deck. The United States Navy (USN), Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and NATO use the term as a hull classification symbol.
LHD 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 VSTOL 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 and ships of the Spanish Navy's Juan Carlos I class including those designs based on the class, such as the Royal Australian Navy's Canberra class. Other nations also use the designation for their vessels, such as the Republic of Korea Navy for its Dokdo class.USN warship classes that precede and follow the ships classed LHD are designated as LHA (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.Landing platform helicopter
Landing platform helicopter (LPH) is a term used by some navies to denote a type of amphibious warfare ship designed primarily to operate as a launch and recovery platform for helicopters and other VTOL aircraft. As such, they are considered a type of helicopter carrier.
Under the NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) document for reporting vessels, LPH is a short form designator used for "Amphibious Assault Ship, Helicopter" defined as a "large helicopter carrier" for carrying and deploying around 1,800 assault troops using its own aircraft, but for which use of landing craft is "not a principal function". For ships of this hull classification in the Royal Navy, LPH is a direct acronym for "Landing Platform Helicopter", while the United States Navy referred to its vessels within this classification as "amphibious assault ships". Regardless of the terminology, all vessels classified as an LPH possess essentially similar capabilities.
The Royal Navy also used the term "Commando Carrier", which it applied to aircraft carriers converted to helicopter only operations. The RN now operates one vessel that it classifies as an LPH, HMS Ocean. Following the British government's decision to withdraw its Harrier aircraft at the end of 2010, the former light fleet carrier HMS Illustrious also performed this role, but has now been decommissioned.
The LPH classification was used by the U.S. Navy for the amphibious assault ships of the Iwo Jima class, a converted Casablanca-class escort carrier and three converted Essex-class aircraft carriers. No ships of this classification are currently in active service with the U.S. Navy, having been replaced with multi-purpose ships classified under NATO naming conventions as landing helicopter dock or landing helicopter assault ships.List of torpedo boats of the United States Navy
This list of torpedo boats of the United States Navy includes all ships with the hull classification symbol TB.List of unclassified miscellaneous vessels of the United States Navy
The IX (unclassified–miscellaneous) hull classification symbol is used for ships of the United States Navy that do not fit into one of the standard categories. While most of the vessels in this category were unnamed barges and floating shipyard equipment, it also includes retired battleships, training equipment and simulators, war prizes, and experimental vessels.Rescue and salvage ship
Rescue and salvage ships (hull classification symbol ARS) are a type of military salvage tug. They are tasked with coming to the aid of stricken vessels. Their general mission capabilities include combat salvage, lifting, towing, retraction of grounded vessels, off-ship firefighting, and manned diving operations. They were common during World War II.SSK (hull classification symbol)
SSK was the United States Navy hull classification symbol for a diesel-electric submarine specialized for anti-submarine duties. SS indicated that the vessel was a submarine, and the K suffix that it was a hunter-killer. The United States Navy does not currently operate any submarines of this type, and so the designation is inactive.SSN (hull classification symbol)
An SSN is a nuclear-powered general-purpose attack submarine. SSN is the US Navy hull classification symbol for such vessels; the SS denotes a submarine and the N denotes nuclear power. The designation SSN is used for interoperability throughout NATO under STANAG 1166. though navies use other terms.USS Coral Sea (CV-43)
USS Coral Sea (CV/CVB/CVA-43), a Midway-class aircraft carrier, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for the Battle of the Coral Sea. She earned the affectionate nickname "Ageless Warrior" through her long career. Initially classified as an aircraft carrier with hull classification symbol CV-43, the contract to build the ship was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding of Newport News, Virginia on 14 June 1943. She was reclassified as a "Large Aircraft Carrier" with hull classification symbol CVB-43 on 15 July 1943. Her keel was laid down on 10 July 1944 in Shipway 10. She was launched on 2 April 1946 sponsored by Mrs. Thomas C. Kinkaid and commissioned on 1 October 1947 with Captain A.P. Storrs III in command.
Before 8 May 1945, the aircraft carrier CVB-42 had been known as USS Coral Sea; after that date, CVB-42 was renamed in honor of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the late President, and CVB-43 was named the Coral Sea.
Coral Sea was one of the last U.S Navy carriers to be completed with a straight flight deck, with an angled flight deck added on during later modernizations. All subsequent newly-built U.S Navy carriers have had the angled deck included as part of the ship's construction.
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