About nine years ago I began to notice the incredible versatility of LPD ships, first in a mine countermeasures (MCM) context (in which they usually don't operate, though).
My reasoning was that wartime naval mines tend to offer some surprises, so it's a good thing to have a good choice of MCM approaches. Helicopters, hovercraft, drone boats, underwater drones - all these small MCM assets can be employed by a LPD. The more daring approaches (using a ship in mine-infested stretches of the sea itself, primarily for employing its sonar) would be the only exceptions.
The amphibious invasion, resupply, evacuation, humanitarian aspects and the potential for being turned into a command ship, an improvised missile launch ship and so on are of course also versatility bonuses of a LPD category ship.
|Chinese Type 071 LPD, (c)"kunlunshan 998"|
I did never really write much about this fascination of mine for LPDs (I think I mentioned it once in a single line) on this blog, though. The reason is simple; it's about "Defence and Freedom". You usually don't need a LPD for the defence of your nation. You only want such ships if you engage at war on far away coastlines or prepare for the same. All you need to substitute for a LPD in an actual defence scenario are a few cheap civilian trucks with ISO function containers.
Refugee aid? Charter a civilian ship at a bargain price.
This is but one of many cost-lowering mechanisms that benefit countries which do not engage in far-away conflicts or prepare for the same.