WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Naval Sea Systems Command awarded a $115 million Advanced Design and Long Lead Time Material contract to General Dynamics NASSCO for the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) program Aug. 13.
The MLP will provide capability to the U.S. military for large-scale logistics movements from sea to shore without dependency on foreign ports.
"The award of this contract is a strong step toward adding MLP's advanced capabilities to the fleet," said Capt. George Sutton, program manager of the Strategic and Theater Sealift program office within the Navy's Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "The contract award will allow the shipbuilder to build on its current MLP system design efforts. MLP's design — which is based on existing commercial designs for ocean going tankers — is stable, which is key to controlling costs on ship acquisition programs."
The MLP will be based on an existing design, the Alaska-class crude oil carrier. Four of these ships were built by NASSCO for British Petroleum. The design will be modified as a float-on/float-off vessel, and will have a length of 837 feet, a beam of 164 feet, a speed of more than 15 knots, a range of 9,500 nautical miles, and have accommodations for 34.
The MLP will leverage commercial float-on/float-off technology to provide a surface interface between large, medium speed, roll-on, roll-off (LMSR) prepositioning ships, joint high speed vessels (JHSV) and landing craft surface connectors. The platform will have the capability to transfer equipment, personnel and sustainment at-sea, and deliver vehicles and equipment ashore.
A sort of "pier in the ocean", the MLP will enable the at-sea transfer with heading control, ballast and list control to support landing craft, air cushioned (LCAC) operations. The platform has an open, reconfigurable mission deck and will, in its basic form, possess the ability to support a core capability set that includes a vehicle staging area, sideport ramp, large mooring fenders, a U.S. Coast Guard certified flight deck and up to three LCAC lanes.
The Navy intends to procure and build a total of three MLPs. A rapid acquisition program, the first ship will start construction in July 2011 after moving from a concept to a modified design in August 2009. The first ship is expected to deliver in fiscal year 2013.
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