Mobile Landing Platform: the future of Navy sea-basing

U.S. merchant mariners have always been ready where it matters, when it matters. Today they continue that proud tradition by operating forward in support of our Navy’s warfighters. National Maritime Day is May 22 and this week, we’re celebrating the thousands of civilian mariners who support our freedom as part of YOUR Navy’s Military Sealift Command. These men and women are vital to our readiness, truly making our Navy ready wherever and whenever called upon.

“The MLP ship class fills a critical role by enabling U.S. forces to be delivered safely and effectively around the world using mobile, sea-based strategies in areas where secure harbor facilities ashore are not readily available. By remaining at sea as floating, logistics support bases, these ships enhance the independence of U.S. forces to operate near global hot-spots without entering their ports.” – Tim McCully, deputy commander, Military Sealift Command Pacific

The Navy’s first-ever mobile landing platform, USNS Montford Point, was delivered in San Diego, Calif., May 14 and is expected to be operational in fiscal year 2015. The MLP class belongs to MSC’s Maritime Prepositioning Ship Force as a mobile sea-base option that provides our Navy fleet with a critical access infrastructure supporting the flexible deployment of forces and supplies. Contract mariners under charter to MSC will operate and navigate the MLP ships on behalf of the Navy and Marine Corps.

Photo courtesy of Ken Wright, General Dynamics NASSCO

Photo courtesy of Ken Wright, General Dynamics NASSCO

Designed to increase inter-theater agility, the MLP is ready to support our warfighters wherever and whenever needed.  MLP is a highly flexible ship class that provides logistics movement from sea to shore supporting a broad range of military operations.

Leveraging float-on/ float-off technology and a reconfigurable mission deck to maximize capability, the MLP provides a seagoing pier when access to on-shore bases and support are unavailable. The platform includes add-on modules that support a vehicle staging area, vehicle transfer ramp, large mooring fenders and up to three Landing Craft, Air Cushioned vessel lanes to enhance its core requirements.

Notably, the MLP can operate up to 25 miles from shore and transfer equipment at sea with 1.25-meter waves and when its mission deck is removed, it can serve as a semi-submersible platform, offering salvage and point-to-point capabilities as well.

Did you know? These 60,000-ton vessels can potentially move ships as large as a Navy destroyer (DDG).

General Dymanics NASSCO was awarded a contract for the design and construction of MLP 1 and MLP 2 on April 27, 2011. Another contract was subsequently awarded for MLP 3 on Feb. 26, 2012. A separate contract was awarded to Vigor Marine LLC, of Portland for the emission set (Core Capability Set) in November 2011. Vigor Marine will install core capability set items about three months after each ship’s delivery. This installation includes a raised vehicle deck (25,000 sq. ft.), a vehicle transfer ramp, and LCAC lanes and service connects (fuel, water, air).

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Fabrication on the second ship, USNS John Glenn, began in 2012 and an operating contract for the first two ships was awarded to Ocean Ships, Inc. of Houston on Dec. 6, 2012.

 USNS Montford Point (MLP 1)
• Keel laid – Dec. 19, 2011
• Christened in San Diego – March 2, 2013
• Completed builder’s trials – March 20, 2013
• Completed acceptance trials – April 19, 2013
• Delivered to MSC – May 14, 2013
• Mission capability installation – September-December 2013
• Navy and Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation – 2014

USNS John Glenn (MLP 2)
• Keel laid – Dec. 4, 2012
• Expected delivery – March 2014
• Mission capability installation – August-November 2014

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