Vigor Lays First Keel for $1B Landing Craft Contract

Rendering of the MSV-L courtesy Vigor

Published Sep 17, 2019 2:12 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Monday, Vigor Industrial laid the keel for the first of three dozen next-generation landing craft for the U.S. Army. The $980 million,10-year contract to build the Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) - or MSV(L) - is the largest award in the company's history.

The Vigor design, developed in partnership with BMT, improves upon the capabilities of the Army's Vietnam-era LCM-8 "Mike" boats, and Vigor says that it will retain the versatility and reliability of the legacy design. The first vessel in the series will be named in honor of SSG Elroy F. Wells, an LCM-8 crewmember who was killed by enemy fire in An Xuyen Province, Vietnam in 1970. 

Attendees at the keel-laying ceremony for the first hull included Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Vancouver mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, Timothy Goddette of the U.S. Army Program Executive Office and Col. Jered P. Helwig, U.S. Army Chief of Transportation. 

Early this year, Vigor acquired the former Christensen Yachts shipyard in Vancouver, Washington as a site to complete the MSV(L) contract and to increase its capabilities in aluminum construction. The site selection came down to several factors: the possibility of bringing all its aluminum fabrication operations together in one location; the livability of the community; the proximity to existing Vigor facilities, notably Vigor's large shipyard and headquarters in Portland; and the suitability of the Christensen yard for the work. It expects the site to employ up to 400 workers by 2023, and it will keep the yard busy with high performance military craft, workboats and aluminum fast ferries in addition to MSV(L). 

Once the SSG Elroy F. Wells is completed and has gone through testing and refinement, the schedule calls for four vessels in the Low Rate Production phase, followed by up to 32 vessels once Full Rate Production is underway. Vigor’s MSV(L) project partners include BMT, Gladding-Hearn and Northrop Grumman.