For the last three years, Canada has been developing an interesting
variation on the LPD type amphibious ship. This was 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
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 can also serve as a floating headquarters for any small scale
military operation. The ship is built (with a stronger hull) to deal with sea
ice (up to two feet thick). Originally, the JSS was to cost nearly $600 million
each (for three), but that soon expanded to over $800 million per ship.
project is now stalled, and considered dead, because no ship builder could come
up with a design that could be built at the price the Canadians were willing to
pay (probably about a billion dollars per ship).