The U.S. Navy said it will christen Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) John Glenn Feb. 1, during a 1 a.m. PST ceremony in San Diego, Calif.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Lyn Glenn, daughter of John Glenn, will serve as the ship's sponsor.
Upon delivery to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC), John Glenn will be designated as a United States Naval Ship (USNS), and will have a core crew of 34 civilian mariners who will operate and navigate the ship.
"The christening of the future USNS John Glenn (MLP 2), a ship that will help usher in a new age of Navy and Marine Corps operations, is a fitting tribute to a man whose years of service to his nation as a Marine, a U.S. Senator and an astronaut helped shape the future of the United States itself," Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said.
The future USNS John Glenn (MLP 2), will honor John Glenn, the legendary astronaut who is the last surviving member of the Mercury 7 crew. He was the first American to orbit the Earth on Friendship 7 and even flew aboard the Discovery space shuttle at the age of 77.
In 1942 while a junior in college, Glenn enlisted in the Naval Reserve to become a naval aviation cadet. He then entered active duty to the Naval Aviation Pre-Flight School in Iowa and became a naval aviator while he was a Marine. Glenn flew 59 combat missions as a Marine during World War II along with 90 combat missions in Korea. He was also a U.S. Senator, serving for 25 years.
John Glenn is the second ship of the Montford Point-Class. Using the commercially designed Alaska-class crude oil carrier as its base, the Navy's Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Office worked in conjunction with General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) to develop a design that supports the Navy's core capabilities while maintaining low costs.
The ship will leverage float-on/float-off technology, allowing John Glenn to partially submerge, facilitating easy movement of cargo and craft. Additionally, the ship's size allows for 25,000 square feet of vehicle and equipment stowage space, tankage for 100,000 gallons of potable water and 380,000 gallons of JP-5 fuel storage.
With this set of capabilities, the ship is able to easily transfer personnel and vehicles from other vessels such as the large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships (LMSRs) onto landing craft air cushioned (LCAC) vehicles and transport them ashore.
MLP has a maximum speed of 15 knots and range of 9,500 nautical miles. At 785 feet long, MLPs displace more than 78,000 tons when fully loaded. The platform with its open, reconfigurable mission deck will serve as an important flexible and transformational asset to the Navy as it can be reconfigured to support a wide variety of future operations.