SAN DIEGO – General Dynamics NASSCO announced today that it has received from the U.S. Navy a $744 million modification to its Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) contract to fully fund construction of the first two ships of the new ship class. Construction of the first ship will begin immediately, with delivery to occur by the spring of 2013. The contract includes an option for the construction of a third MLP which, if exercised, will increase the total contract value to approximately $1.3 billion.
“With the Mobile Landing Platform Program, NASSCO will continue our tradition of building high-quality ships for the U.S. Navy,” said Fred Harris, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. “The first MLP ship will start production with more design, engineering and planning work complete than any ship that NASSCO has constructed since World War II.”
The Mobile Landing Platform is a new class of auxiliary ship for the Navy. 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.
This new contract will significantly reduce the number of employees affected by the previously announced potential layoffs at General Dynamics NASSCO. As ship construction gets underway in earnest, the total number of employees at the shipyard may increase by the end of 2011.
Located in San Diego, General Dynamics NASSCO employs more than 3,600 people and is the only major ship construction yard on the West Coast of the United States. The San Diego shipyard has already delivered 11 T-AKE ships to the Navy and is currently building the last three ships of the class for a total class of 14 vessels. Additional information on General Dynamics NASSCO can be found at www.nassco.com.
PHOTO: USNS Watkins (back) and heavy lift ship MV Mighty Servant 1 moor side-by-side off San Diego during a demonstration of the Mobile Landing Platform concept in 2005.