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The U.S. Navy was off Camp Pendleton, California last week testing out its newfound seabasing and ship-to-shore capabilities with Military Sealift Command’s new Mobile Landing Platform, USNS Montford Point (MLP-1).
The USNS Montford Point is the first of three new MLP’s delivered to the MSC fleet and are is intended flexible logistical movements from sea to shore in support of a broad range of military operations, including humanitarian support and traditional military missions primarily in places lacking shoreside infrastructure.
USNS Montford Point was off Camp Pendleton as part of its pre-operational testing along with the MSC ships USNS Dahl (T-AKR 312) and USNS Dewayne T. Williams (T-AK 3009) for the Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) exercise, Pacific Horizon 2015, being held October 20 – 17.
During the exercise, the MSC ships provided at-sea platforms for ship-to-shore off-loads of equipment for participants from U.S. Third Fleet’s Expeditionary Strike Group 3 and 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, and ship-to-ship equipment transfers.
During the exercise, Montford Point also demonstrated its ability to dock and launch Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), or hovercrafts, as well as some its other capabilities.
“This is another great opportunity for MSC to put our new technology to the test in the environment it was designed to operate,” said Capt. Michael Taylor, commander Military Sealift Command Pacific. “MLP’s operational flexibility makes it an invaluable multi-mission support asset for our forward deployed forces across the world. Being able to work with the troops who will conduct real-world operations, from our decks, is invaluable training that we are taking every opportunity to learn from.”
The Mobile Landing Platforms are considered the centerpiece of the U.S. Navy’s “Sea Basing” concept, which provides for flexible logistical movements and frees up airlift-capabilities to support missions ashore.
The MLP ship class is based an existing commercial design, the Alaska class crude oil carrier built by General Dynamics’- National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), but leverages float-on/float-off technology and a reconfigurable mission deck providing for up to 25,000 square feet of vehicle and equipment stowage space and 380,000 gallons of JP-5 fuel storage. The approximately 80,000 ton, 785-foot ship has a range of 9,500 nautical miles at a sustained speed of 15 knots.
USNS Montford Point is scheduled for full operational status in 2015.
Additional Photos of USNS Montford Point in Action:
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General Characteristics, Montford Point Class
Photos courtesy U.S. Navy
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