Marines: LPD Lite For Peacekeeping

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February 10, 2008: For the last few years, Canada and Holland have both been developing an interesting variation on the LPD type amphibious ship. This is the 27,000 ton Joint Support Ship (JSS). It looks like an LPD (it has a helicopter deck aft, in addition to a well with some landing craft), but is basically a combination tanker/cargo/vehicle transport (roll on/roll off) ship, with communications capabilities and space for a hundred or so staff personnel (for running a humanitarian operation ashore) and a small hospital. The ship is built to commercial, not military, standards. It carries some defensive weapons, but is not really built for combat. The crew of about 200 is there to support humanitarian or peacekeeping missions, but can also serve as a floating headquarters for any small scale military operation. The Netherlands and Canada are each planning to build one. The Canadian one is more expensive, because it is built (with a stronger hull) to deal with sea ice (up to two feet thick). The Canadian JSS would cost nearly $600 million each (for three), the Dutch one would cost 10-20 percent less.

 


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