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US Navy USS San Diego and Somerset amphibious transport docks conduct maritime operations off the coast of Somalia.

| 2020

According to information released by the U.S. Department of Defense on December 22, 2020, U.S. Navy USS San Diego (LPD 22) and USS Somerset (LPD 25) conduct maritime operation off the coast of Somalia under Joint Task Force – Quartz in support of Operation Octave Quartz (OOQ) December 22, 2020. The mission of OOQ is to reposition U.S. DOD personnel from Somalia to other locations in East Africa.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 U.S. Navy amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego LPD 22. (Picture source U.S. Navy)

The USS San Diego (LPD 22) and USS Somerset (LPD 25) are San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock in service with the US. Navy. This type of ship is designed to embark, transport and land elements of a landing force for a variety of expeditionary warfare missions.

The LPDs are used to transport and land Marines, their equipment, and supplies by embarked Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) augmented by helicopters or vertical take-off and landing aircraft (MV 22). These ships support amphibious assault, special operations, or expeditionary warfare missions and serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious operations.

The San Antonio-class USS Sandiego LPD 22 and USS Somerset LPD 25 were built by the company Huntington Ingalls Industries, formerly Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. Both vessels are able to operate MV-22 Osprey, air-cushioned landing craft (LCACs), and future means by which marines are delivered ashore. 

The San Antonio class has significant survivability features and computer technology. In addition to Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) protection from air threats, the class was designed to minimize radar signature. Techniques that reduce radar cross-section (RCS) make the ships more difficult to locate and target. Enhanced survivability features include improved nuclear blast and fragmentation protection and a shock-hardened structure. The fiber-optic shipboard-wide area network (SWAN) connects onboard-integrated systems.

The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock has a length of 208.5 m, a beam of 31.9 m, and a draft of 7 m. The ship can accommodate two LCACs (Landing Craft Air Cushion) also named hovercraft or one LCU (Landing Craft Utility ), a type of boat used by amphibious forces to transport equipment and troops to the shore. The ship can also carry 14 amphibious combat vehicles including M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks , 60 tons of military equipment, and up to 800 troops. 

The San Antonio-class as hangar and landing deck able to accommodate four CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters or two MV-22 tiltrotor aircraft that may be launched or recovered simultaneously

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