The Navy's first Mobile Landing Platform, 'USNS Montford Point' (MLP 1), successfully completes builder's sea trials in San Diego.
USNS Montford Point was constructed by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO) and these builder's trials test the vessel's propulsion, ballasting, communications, navigation and mission systems, as well as related support systems.
MLP is based on an existing commercial design, the Alaska-class crude oil carrier, ensuring design stability and lower development costs.
MLP is a highly flexible platform that will provide capability for large-scale logistics movements, such as the transfer of vehicles and equipment from sea to shore. It will significantly reduce dependency on foreign ports and provide support in the absence of any port, making an MLP especially useful during disaster response, and for supporting Marines once they are ashore.
The ship will leverage float-on/float-off technology, allowing Montford Point 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 and 380,000 gallons of 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.
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.
The ship is expected to be delivered to the Navy in fiscal year 2013 and operational in fiscal year 2015.