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Vigor Picks Vancouver Site to Build Army's New Landing Craft

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The future MSV(L) (rendering courtesy Vigor)

By The Maritime Executive 2019-02-01 16:39:01

Vigor Industrial has picked the former home of Christensen Yachts in Vancouver, Washington as the location to build the U.S. Army's new Maneuver Support Vessel (Light), or MSV(L). The MSV(L) contract represents the largest award in Vigor’s history with a total value of nearly $1 billion over 10 years.

MSV(L) is an aluminum-hulled vessel, and the site will be absorbing the production of the other aluminum product lines - the Combatant Craft Medium (CCM) for the U.S. Navy and overseas allies, the Response Boat-Medium (RB-M) for the U.S. Coast Guard and export market, Vigor’s Fast Interceptor, aluminum fast ferries and commercial workboats. The current production sites for these craft are in Seattle and Clackamas, Oregon, and these will be closed as the work is shifted to Vancouver. 

“While we’ve had operations in Vancouver since 1980, this move represents a substantial increase in the number of Vigor employees who will be living and working here," said Frank Foti, Vigor's president and CEO. “Our Vigor team looks forward to getting to know the Vancouver community better and being a force for good through our remarkable people and the economic activity associated with our work.”

Vigor says that it will eventually employ 400 workers at the site, and it will be investing millions in capital upgrades and equipment. The company picked the Vancouver yard out of many potential options in the Northwest, and the final 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. 

“Vigor’s decision to keep and grow jobs in Washington State is a testament to the great quality of life and workforce we have available here,” said Washington governor Jay Inslee in a statement. “Our team worked intently with Vigor to find a competitive solution to keep these jobs in Washington and I’m glad to see the continued success of one of our great corporate citizens contributing to our economy by creating living wage jobs in Vancouver.”

Vigor plans to begin production at the facility in May with its existing aluminum vessel classes, followed by the beginning of construction of the MSV(L) prototype in the summer. Once the prototype is completed and testing and refinements have finished, the schedule calls for four vessels in the Low Rate Production phase, followed by 32 vessels once Full Rate Production is underway.