The U.S. Navy is often referred to as America’s away team because we combat threats around the globe before they affect us at home. At the very core of Navy’s “away game” is our ability, in partnership with the Marines, to carry out expeditionary warfare— operations mounted from the sea, usually on short notice, consisting of forward deployed, or rapidly deployable, self-sustaining naval forces tailored to achieve a clearly stated objective. The following blog is the first in a three part series on the current status of Expeditionary Warfare programs and capabilities. Bad guys beware!
The MLP designed by General Dynamics NASSCO is a new class of auxiliary ship for the Navy, which will be operated by the Military Sealift Command. Once delivered to the fleet, these ships will join the three Maritime Prepositioning Force squadrons that are strategically located around the world to enable rapid response in a crisis. These vessels will change the way the Maritime Prepositioning Force operates. MLPs will provide a “pier at sea” that will become the core of the Navy and Marine Corps seabasing concept. This capability will allow prepositioning ships like LMSR’s and T-AKE’s to offload equipment and supplies to the MLP for transshipment to shore by LCACs or other vessels. MLP ships will be 233 meters (765 feet) in length and 50 meters (164 feet) in beam, with a design draft of 12 meters (29 feet). The deadweight tonnage is in excess of 60,000 metric tons.
- Perhaps the most flexible platform in the maritime prepositioning ship squadrons, the MLP will provide capability to the joint force for large-scale logistics movements from sea to shore, significantly reducing dependency on foreign ports.
- The Mobile Landing Platform is being developed to provide capability to the U.S. military for large-scale logistics movements from sea to shore without dependency on foreign ports.
- The Navy awarded General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) a $744,129,956 fixed-price incentive-fee-type contract for the detail design and construction of two Mobile Landing Platform ships, MLP 1 and MLP 2, on May 27, 2011.
- General Dynamics-NASSCO was awarded a $115 million contract for long-lead time material and advanced design efforts for the first Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) on August 13, 2010.
- MLP 1 will be the first of a new class of ship, delivering a flexible platform to support the Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadrons. The first ship is expected to deliver in fiscal year 2013 and be operational in fiscal year 2015.
- MLP will provide the core capabilities to transfer vehicles and equipment at-sea and interface with surface connectors to deliver the vehicles and equipment ashore.
- The platform in its basic form possesses add-on modules that support a vehicle staging area, side-port ramp, large mooring fenders and up to three Landing Craft Air Cushioned vessel (LCAC) lanes to support its two core requirements. Ship utility services support to the mission deck will enable the flexibility to incorporate potential future platform upgrades which could include additional capabilities such as berthing, medical, command and control, mission planning, vehicle transfer system, a connected replenishment, a container handling crane and an aviation operating spot.
- The Navy worked very closely with NASSCO to identify cost savings early in the MLP design work while pursuing a concurrent design and production engineering approach. These efforts ensured a high degree of design and production-planning maturity prior to the start of construction to minimize cost and schedule risk, and resulted in a very stable design that is ready to start production.