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February 18, 2009

NASSCO wins MLP design contract

General Dynamics NASSCO has been awarded a $3.5 million design contract for the U.S. Navy's Mobile Landing Ship (MLP) program. Under the contract, NASSCO will develop a preliminary ship design based on Navy requirements. A contract for the detail design and construction of up to three ships could be awarded next year.

The MLP is a new class of auxiliary ship for the Navy's Maritime Prepositioning Force of the Future (MPF(F)) program. The ship is intended to serve as a transfer station or "floating pier at sea," improving the U.S. military's ability to deliver equipment and cargo to areas where port access is limited or unavailable. Early requirements of the ship include the ability to land helicopters, a facility for the operation of air cushioned landing crafts (LCACs), and the capability for ship-to-ship transfer of equipment from large-draft prepositioning ships to others vessels, including T-AKE ships.

"We are pleased to be selected to design this revolutionary auxiliary ship," said Fred Harris, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. "We look forward to working closely with the Navy to further understand the requirements and ensure our team creates an affordable, effective MLP design."

"We are excited to commence design of this innovative new ship," said Capt. George Sutton, program manager of the Strategic and Theater Sealift program within the Navy's Program Executive Office Ships. "MLP will be a key, flexible ship asset for the Navy and Marine Corps, and we're eager to field this unique capability."

MLP will provide the vehicle transfer system that permits transferring personnel and equipment from a between the Large, Medium-Speed, Roll-on/Roll-off Ships (LMSR) to the MLP and smaller craft to facilitate delivery of combat ready forces from the sea base in support of reinforcement missions. An MLP will have two surface interface points for loading, launching and recovering two Landing Craft-Air Cushioned (LCACs) vehicles near-simultaneously. It will carry up to six LCACs. Each MLP will have berthing to accommodate brigade forces during the employment and reconstitution phases of the operation.

The MLP will be able to travel at the rate of approximately 20 knots and have a range of approximately 9,000 nautical miles. The Navy intends to procure and build a total of three MLPs. The first MLP is expected to be delivered in 2015.

This is a two-phase procurement. Once Systems Design, or Phase One, is complete, the Navy intends to solicit a detail design and construction proposals from NASSCO on a sole source basis. The Navy intends to award the Phase Two detail design and construction for lead MLP options in late 2010.


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