TARAWA class

The main task of the Tarawa class amphibious assault ships was the landing and support of an Expeditionary Marine Unit (EMU), through an air unit composed by helicopters and AV-8B Harrier II VTOL fighter-bombers. The idea was to unify in a single ship the primary functions from LSD, LPD and LPH amphibious type ships, and it can be said that they succeeded. Tarawa class carried a contingent of 1,700 to 1,900 Marines along with 160 combat vehicles and about 40 LVT or AAV amphibious troops carriers. These ships could operate independently or within an amphibious Task Force. They had an astern hangar of 82 x 24 x 6.1 meters located over a well deck of similar dimensions. It can be affirmed with certainty, that in “all” international war operations that the United States has carried out during the 30 years of service of these ships, there has always been at least one Tarawa class vessel involved. It should also be noted, that they have carried out many humanitarian aid missions after the World’s most destructive natural disasters occured in those 30 years. All ships have been decommissioned and two are currently held in reserve.

TARAWA class gallery and more info


Información adicional

Ficha Completa
Country of origin

United States


Ingalls Shipbuilding


Amphibious assault ship – Helicopter carrier

Entered service




Displacement, (full load)

39,925 tonnes

Dimensions (length x beam x draught)

249.90 x 35.30 x 8.60 meters

Flight deck, (length x width)

249.90 x 35.30 meters


2 Combustion Engineering boilers – 2 Westinghose geared steam turbines

Power, (total)

70,000 shp

Shafts - Screws

2 shafts – 2 screws


24 knots (44 km/h)


10,000 n. miles (18,500 km) at 20 knots

Load capacity

1,700 to 1,900 troops + 160 vehicles + 40 AAVs


6 x AV-8B Harrier II


A config.: 4 x AH-1W SuperCobra + 12 x CH-46 Sea Knight +9 x CH-53 Sea Stallion + 4 x UH-1N Huey
B config.: 12 x CH-46 Sea Knight + 9 x CH-53 Sea Stallion


Originally: 3 x 127/54mm Mk.45 gun + 6 x 20mm guns
Since 1996: 2 x 20mm six barreled Vulcan Phalanx CIWS + 4 x 25mm Mk.38 guns

Machine guns

Since 1996: 5 to 8 x 12.7mm

SAM launcher

Originally: 2 x 8-cells Mk.25 Sea Sparrow missile launcher
Since 1996: 2 x 21-cells Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launcher


5 ships: Belleau Wood – Nassau – Peleliu – Saipan – Tarawa