General Dynamics Nassco has started construction on the US Navy’s second expeditionary base mobile (ESB) ship.

The new 784ft-long vessel will feature 52,000f² flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, and mission planning spaces.

With a capacity to accommodate up to 250 personnel, the new ESB ship will support multiple missions, such as air mine counter measures (AMCM), counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and US Marine Corps crisis response.

In addition, the vessel will be capable of supporting MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters, with an option for future upgrades to support MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft.

In 2011, the US Navy awarded Nassco a contract to construct two mobile landing platforms (MLP), the USNS Montfod Point and USNS John Glenn.

The MLPs were later reclassified as Expeditionary Transfer Docks (ESD).

The navy added another MLP, the USNS Lewis B Puller, to the contract and it was reconfigured as an ESB, formerly known as a MLP afloat forward staging base (AFSB).

"The new ESB ship will support multiple missions, such as air mine counter measures and disaster relief missions."

Having started construction in 2013, Nassco delivered USNS Lewis B Puller in June this year.

The vessel was named in after Lieutenant General Lewis B Puller, a distinguished combat veteran of World War II and the only marine to be awarded five navy crosses.

In April, Nassco secured a $24.1m contract from the US Navy for the sustainment execution of littoral combat ships (LCS), when they are home-ported in or visiting San Diego.

Under the contract, NASSCO will plan, furnish material, and provide support and facilities to maintain and modernise twelve LCS ships.

Image: The US Navy’s ESB ship will support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters. Photo: courtesy of General Dynamics.