USNS Montford Point (MLP 1), the US Navy's first ship of the mobile landing platform (MLP) class, has set sail from San Diego for Naval Station Everett, Washington, to undergo trials.
Crewed by 33 contract mariners, the ship will undergo testing to validate its systems, followed by final contract trials conducted in September, while its core capability is set to be installed later in 2013.
Military Sealift Command (MSC) prepositioning programme assistant engineering officer Mike Touma said: "Montford Point will provide the key link, the pier in the ocean, that will permit the military to engage in true seabasing sustainment of equipment and supplies to our troops ashore, from beyond the horizon."
General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding (NASSCO)-built MLP 1 ship is powered by a twin screw diesel electric propulsion system comprising four MAN/B&W medium speed diesel engines, 24MW diesel electric plant and 2MW azimuthing bow thruster.
Operated by contract mariners on behalf of the US Navy and Marine Corps, the modular, flexible ships will provide critical afloat capability and increased inter-theatre agility for the navy.
The ships have been designed to provide logistics movement from sea to shore, supporting a broad range of military operations and can serve as a semi-submersible platform when its mission deck is removed, to provide salvage and point-to-point capabilities.
Scheduled to be fully operational in 2015, the 233m-long, 50m-wide mobile landing platform was delivered to the US Navy in San Diego, US, in May.
USNS John Glenn (MLP 2), the second MPL-class ship is expected to be delivered to the US Navy in March 2014, while the third ship USNS Lewis B Puller (MLP 3) is currently under construction at NASSCO.
Image: USNS Montford Point stationed at General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. Photo: courtesy of NASSCO