Army awards $979 million contract for new landing craft

PORTLAND, Ore. Pacific Northwest shipbuilder Vigor has won a contract -- totaling as much as $979 million over 10 years -- to build the U.S. Army’s Maneuver Support Vessel (Light), MSV(L), a new generation of landing craft for the U.S. Army. The Vigor MSV(L) design will replace the Army's fleet of aging LCM-8 "Mike" boats.

The Vigor MSV(L) design was developed in partnership with vessel-design firm BMT following a detailed study of the Army’s  ship needs and the design options available to fulfill those needs. The MSV(L)'s structure dramatically improves upon the capabilities and versatility of the current LCM-8. The new-style landing craft’s tribow monohull, say Vigor execs, provides superior maneuverability and stability in high sea states, through the littorals, and within inland waterways in support of land-based operations.

Vigor’s build team currently consists of a number of key partners, including BMT, shipbuilder Gladding-Hearn, and defense giant Northrop Grumman.

“Phase one of the program will begin immediately and center on design refinement and prototype construction,” said Tim Kolb, general manager of Vigor Ballard (Seattle, Washington), which spearheaded the proposal process. “The calls for one prototype vessel, four vessels under low-rate production, and up to thirty-two additional vessels for use by Army mariners in even the most difficult environments.”

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