By Geoff Fein

Over the course of the next month, the Navy will issue an unrestricted competitive solicitation for Systems Design Part 1 (SD1), with an option for SD2, for the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP), a key component of the service’s sea basing concept.

According to the pre solicitation notice, posted at (N0002408R2270), Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) intends to conduct the acquisition of MLP as a two-phased procurement. Both SD1 and SD2 are included in Phase 1 and are planned to be procurred as fixed price incentive (FPI) contracts.

Phase II will be the Detail Design and Construction of MLP, according to the solicitation.

NAVSEA intends to award multiple contracts for SD1. At the end of SD1, NAVSEA may exercise one or more of the FPI contract options for Phase 2, according to the notice.

The planned date of Phase 1 contract award(s) is the first quarter FY ’09, with the first ship delivery planned for FY ’15.

MLP is being designed as a unique ship that other vessels will be able to integrate with via a number of different technologies being developed by the Office of Naval Research (Defense Daily, Jan. 8).

Those systems will be used to transfer equipment, personnel and vehicles, for example, from a LMSR to a MLP. The MLP would then deliver the cargo and personnel to shore via LCACs. In the future, MLPs could be used to move U.S. Army forces and allied forces (Defense Daily, Jan. 8).

Under the current Navy plan, the service intends to buy three MLP ships (Defense Daily, April 25, 2006).

According to the solicitation, the MLP, based on a Float On Float Off (FLO-FLO) design, shall be developed primarily to provide a surface interface between other ships and connectors within a seabase. The MLP mission requirements/major functions are as follows:

  • Project a Marine combat unit and its equipment via LCACs or Expeditionary Fight Vehicles;
  • Transport six LCACs.;
  • Accommodate a Marine combat unit of 728 personnel; interface with the Maritime Preposition Force (Future), Large Medium Speed Roll on Roll, Joint High Speed Vessel, and other displacement type surface assault crafts to facilitate equipment, cargo and personnel transfer in sea base.

The MLP supports the critical mission requirement to launch and recover surface assault craft loaded with vehicles, cargo and combat personnel by providing two LCAC stowage lanes (two craft interface points), RO/RO cargo holds of sufficient size to accommodate one-third of the Marine Expeditionary Brigade Surface Battalion Landing Team vehicles and accommodations for the combat troops being transferred ashore on the assault craft. The MLP will be a U.S. flagged new construction ship classed in accordance with American Bureau of Shipping Steel Vessel Rules standards and designed and built in conformance with Safety of Life at Sea requirements, unique military features and other commercial and regulatory body rules and regulations as applicable, according to the solicitation.