New Ship News

First MLP Delivered

Design of the Montford Point, seen at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, is based on a commercial tanker also built at NASSCO. (Photo courtesy NASSCO)

The first mobile landing platform ship, USNS Montford Point (MLP 1), was delivered to the U.S. Navy May 14 in San Diego, not quite two years since construction was ordered from the General Dynamics-National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO).

The enormous, 83,000-ton, 785-foot-long ship however, is not yet complete. It will move up the west coast to Portland, Ore., where Vigor Marine will install the core capabilities set, a series of fittings and modules that will enable it to load and unload vehicles, moor small ships alongside, and transfer gear between other large ships.

A second ship, the John Glenn (MLP 2), is under construction at NASSCO.

Pending Congressional approval, the Navy plans to have the Lewis B. Puller, initially ordered as the third MLP, completed as an afloat forward staging base, a major modification which would include a large flight deck, hangar, and accommodations for several hundred troops.

The MLPs will be operated by the Military Sealift Command. 

 Austal LCS, JHSV Run Sea Trials

The second joint high speed vessel, USNS Choctaw County (JHSV 2), completed its acceptance trials May 3, the Naval Sea Systems Command announced on May 16. The all-aluminum catamarans are built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala.

Spearhead, the first JHSV, was delivered in December, and is undergoing tests and evaluation at Little Creek, Va.,

All 10 JHSVs will be operated by the Military Sealift Command.

Also at Austal, the Coronado (LCS 4) completed its builder’s sea trials, interrupted April 13 when poorly-installed insulation on the ship’s diesel uptakes caught fire. The ship, which got underway May 8, reportedly ran at speeds up to 43 knots on the renewed sea trials, and Rear Adm. Jim Murdoch, the Navy’s officer in charge of the LCS program, said May 17 he was “quite pleased” with the results of the trials.

After delivery and completion this year, the Coronado is expected to arrive at its homeport of San Diego in January.

 Coast Guard Cutter James Laid Down

A “keel authentication” ceremony was held May 17 for the James (WMSL 754), the fifth National Security Cutter for the U.S. Coast Guard.

The keel ceremony — which takes the place of the older keel-laying ceremony — was observed at the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., which is building all the Legend-class cutters, the service’s name for the NSC class.

With fabrication having already begun, the James is 17 percent complete. Ingalls expects to launch the ship in the spring of 2014 and deliver her to the Coast Guard in mid-2015.

Hamilton (WMSL 753), the fourth NSC, will be christened on Oct. 26, the company said. Ingalls already has received a contract for the sixth ship, and the Coast Guard is asking for funding of a seventh unit in its 2014 budget request.

The service plans to build 8 NSCs, but HII has other ideas.

“Our shipbuilders have done outstanding work to make us more efficient in building this ship, driving the cost down and becoming more competitive,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Irwin F. Edenzon said in a press release. “This not only positions us to continue all the way through the current build plan of eight ships, but we’re going to see if we can get the Coast Guard interested in four more. We’re also going to position ourselves to be the winner of the Offshore Patrol Cutter competition, because we’ve proven we build great ships here at Ingalls.”

Charlene Benoit, ship sponsor and great-great niece of WMSL 754's namesake Joshua James, writes her initials on the steel plate during the keel authentication ceremony at Ingalls Shipbuilding on May 17. (HII photo)

Submarine completes builder’s trials

Minnesota (SSN 783), the latest Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, completed her builder’s sea trials May 6 at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News,Va.

According to a Newport News press release, “all systems, components and compartments were tested during the trials. The submarine submerged for the first time and operated at high speeds on the surface and under water. Minnesota will undergo two more rounds of sea trials, including one with the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey, before delivery later this month. Minnesota is anticipated to deliver approximately 11 months ahead of its contracted delivery date.

The ship is the 10th Virginia-class submarine to be built by General Dynamics Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding.

The Minnesota at sea off the Virginia coast on May 6. (HII photo)


Christopher P. Cavas
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Christopher P. Cavas

If it's on, over, under or around the water, I write about it. Ships and aircraft, units, tactics, leadership, strategies, acquisition, politics, industry. In the USA and around the world.
Christopher P. Cavas
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