The U.S. Military Sealift Command's first Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) ship completed its first float-out at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego on Tuesday.
Designated T-MLP-1, the ship will be named USNS Montford Point
, and is the first of three MLPs planned for construction at NASSCO. The Montford Point
is scheduled to be christened in March 2013 and delivered to the command in May 2013.
The MLP is a new class of auxiliary support ship, scheduled to join the command's Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF). These ships will be the centerpiece of the Navy's "Sea Base" concept, and will serve as a transfer point for Marine Corps amphibious landing forces between large ships and small landing craft.
"The MLP class of ships will fill a critical role in enabling U.S. forces to be delivered safely and effectively around the world using mobile, sea-based strategies in areas where secure harbor facilities ashore are not readily available," said Tim McCully, deputy commander for the Military Sealift Command Pacific, in a statement. "By remaining at sea as floating logistics support bases, these ships enhance the independence of U.S. forces to operate near global hot spots without entering their ports.”
The float-out of the 784-foot-long MLP consists of slowly flooding the building dock, stopping the flooding, balancing the ship, inspecting the ship, and then balancing it again before continuing the flooding. The sequence is repeated several times until the ship is level to the water outside the dry dock, then completed by pulling the ship from the building dock and moving it pier side with tug boats.
The Military Sealift Command operates about 110 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, and strategically preposition combat cargo at sea worldwide.