General Dynamics (GD) National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (Nassco) has delivered the US Navy’s third mobile landing platform (MLP) ship, the USNS Lewis B Puller, bringing the first MLP afloat forward staging base (AFSB) variant into it’s fleet.
The MLP AFSB is a flexible platform that will support multiple missions, including air mine counter-measures (AMCM), counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions, and Marine Corps crisis response.
GD Nassco shipyard operations vice-president Kevin Mooney said: "Today’s delivery of the USNS Lewis B Puller to the US Navy symbolises an immense culmination of efforts made by the hard-working men and women of the General Dynamics Nassco shipbuilding team.
"At Nassco we are building and delivering affordable ships that are providing new and revolutionary capabilities for America’s Navy and Marine Corps."
With a capacity to house 250 personnel, the newbuild features a 52,000ft² flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, and mission planning spaces.
Designed to support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters, the vessel can also be upgraded to support MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft.
Construction of the vessel began in 2013, and GD christened the ship at the company’s shipyard in San Diego earlier this year.
The vessel was named in honour of Lieutenant General Lewis B Puller, a distinguished combat veteran of World War II and the only marine to be awarded five navy crosses.
Nassco has also received a contract from the US Navy for the detail design and construction of a fourth MLP. Construction of the vessel is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Image: USNS Lewis B Puller is the first MLP afloat forward staging base (AFSB) variant. Photo: courtesy of General Dynamics.