The Navy announced the start of construction of the first Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) ship at the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego, Calif., June 30.
Following the successful production readiness review — an evaluation of the ship's design maturity, availability of materials, and the shipbuilder's ability to successfully start construction — the Secretary of the Navy certified the design and informed Congress that the design of MLP was more than 85 percent complete and ready to proceed with fabrication.
MLP 1 will be the first-of-class ship, delivering a flexible platform to support the Maritime Prepositioning Ship squadrons. The Navy's Strategic and Theater Sealift program in the Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships is procuring the vessels for the Navy.
"The start of production for a first-in-class ship is a monumental milestone," said Capt. Henry W. Stevens, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager. "The MLP program will benefit from the high degree of design and production-planning maturity that has already been accomplished by the Navy/NASSCO team."
General Dynamics-NASSCO was previously awarded a $115 million contract for long-lead time material and advanced design efforts for the first MLP in August 2010. The Navy worked very closely with NASSCO to identify cost savings early in MLP design work while pursuing a concurrent design and production engineering approach. These efforts minimized cost and schedule risk and resulted in a in a very stable ship design that is ready to start production.
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 MLP will leverage float-on/ float-off technology and a reconfigurable mission deck to maximize capability.
The platform in its basic form possess add-on modules that support a vehicle staging area, sideport ramp, large mooring fenders and up to three landing craft air cushioned vessel lanes to support its 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 first ship is expected to be delivered in fiscal year 2013 and be operational in fiscal year 2015. In addition, the Navy recently awarded General Dynamics-NASSCO a fixed-price incentive fee type contract on May 27 for the detail design and construction of the second and third ships of the class.