YOKOSUKA, Japan - The U.S. Navy announced today the Dock Landing Ship USS Germantown (LSD-42) will replace USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) as part of the permanently forward-deployed amphibious forces of the U.S. 7th Fleet.

USS Germantown is expected to arrive at Sasebo soon to commence the turnover with USS Harpers Ferry. Both ships are dock landing ships; approximately 185 meters long, displacing approximately 15,000 to 16,000 tons, with a crew of about 400 and can carry two to three Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), and a combination of other landing craft including LCU, LCM, and LVTs. The official assumption of responsibilities date is expected in March, 2011.

USS Harpers Ferry replaced USS Germantown in a 2002 hull swap in Sasebo. This will be the fifth hull swap conducted at CFAS, with the crew of the platform leaving Sasebo taking over the newly arrived ship. USS Essex (LHD-2) replaced USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3) in 2000, in the Navy’s first such hull swap. Following the 2002 USS Harpers Ferry/USS Germantown exchange, USS Tortuga (LSD-46) replaced USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43) in 2006, and USS Denver (LPD-9) replaced USS Juneau (LPD-10) in 2008.

The rotation is part of a long-range U.S. Navy plan to routinely upgrade the capabilities of ships serving with the Forward Deployed Naval Forces. USS Germantown recently received an extensive overhaul and modernization and will help ensure the ability of Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet to meet the U.S. government’s commitment to the defense of Japan, support of the Mutual Security Treaty and the maintenance of peace and stability in the Far East.