The Tarawa-class incorporates features of different classes of US fighting ships. They are a combination of Helicopter-carrier, landing ship dock and limited attack carrier together with flagship- hospital ship and replenishment ship capabilities.

Some specifications of the class, that went to service in 1976, USS Tarawa being the first:
Length: 778 feet (237.1 m) waterline,
820 feet (249.9 m) overall
Beam: Extreme Beam: 106 ft
Waterline Beam: 106 ft
Draft: Maximum Navigational Draft: 26 ft
Draft Limit: 27 ft
Displacement: Light Displacement: 26255 tons
Full Displacement: 39925 tons
Dead Weight: 13,670 tons
Speed: 24 knots (27.6 miles per hour)
(22 knots sustained)
Range: 10,000 nm @ 20 knots
Fuel: 5,900 tons

Normally they take to sea a mixed airgroup with 6 AV-8B Harrier VSTOLs, 4 AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, 12 CH-46 SeaKnight as light and 4 CH-53 Sea Stallion medium transport helicopters. 2 Huey UH-1N complete the airwing, that is operated and handled by Marines. The Tarawa class can accommodate a reinforced Marine battalion, including all vehicles and tanks. All in all the Marines are about 1900 of the 2800 aboard the ship. The class has a complete hospital with intensive care station. The ships are organized like a park deck. Different ramps lead the vehicles down to the well deck from where they debark via LCU or LCAC.