Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington D.C., United States (4E) – The U.S. Army has gotten around to replacing its outmoded Landing Craft Mechanized-8 (LCM-8) used to land invading infantry since 1959 with a new model that can also land tanks and armored fighting vehicles (AFVs).
The Army recently issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to industry for an over 30 meter-long craft designated the “Maneuver Support Vessel (Light)” or MSV(L) that will be faster and larger than the LCM-8, popularly called “Mike Boats.”
It awarded a firm fix-price contract for $979,794,011 to Oregon-based shipbuilding, ship repair and industrial service provider Vigor Works to build the MSV(L). Completion date for the new assault vessel is 2027 with testing to begin by 2019.
MSV(L) will be able to transport haul one M1A2 Abrams main battle tank; two M1126 Stryker Interim Armored Vehicles (IAVs) or four Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) with trailers. It will have a top speed of 18 knots and travel 360 miles.
MSV(L) will deploy a subsurface surveillance device; will be protected from small arms fire; be protected by two Common Remotely Operated Weapon Stations (CROWS) and will mitigate detection by reducing thermal and acoustic signatures.
The Pentagon’s 2016 budget request includes $10 million to start the engineering, manufacturing and development phase and sets aside $18.6 million in 2017 and $14.5 million in 2018 for the MSV(L).
A 10-year indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract will cover three years of engineering and manufacturing development; two years of low rate initial production and five years of full production.
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