A crane lowers into place the last portion of the superstructure of the Montford Point, a Mobile Landing Platform ship being built at NASSCO's San Diego shipyard. (NASSCO)
The first of the U.S. Navy’s new mobile landing platform (MLP) ships is structurally complete, although interior work is continuing at the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO), San Diego.
The final building block for the Montford Point was lowered into place last month, the company said. The block included the ship’s twin stacks and sits at the rear of the aft superstructure.
The MLP is a centerpiece of the Sea Base concept, intended to carry vehicles, small craft, gear and supplies as part of a Maritime Prepositioning Force squadron. The 784-foot-long MLP is designed to flood down to float vehicles and craft on and off its 164-foot-wide cargo deck, forming a “pier at sea,” according to NASSCO.
Unusually for NASSCO, the Montford Point is built in a graving dock normally used for repairing other ships or building commercial product tankers.
NASSCO usually builds its Navy ships on inclined ways, where they’re launched into the water by sliding downhill. The yard is the last major Navy shipbuilder that constructs vessels on sliding shipways.
The shipyard is finishing up the last of 14 Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ammunition ships for the Navy. When the Cesar Chavez (T-AKE 14) is delivered in late October, the yard’s only new construction ships will be the MLPs. Repair work on other ships, however, will continue to be done.
The Montford Point is scheduled to be launched — or “undocked” — on Nov. 13, christened in March and delivered to the Navy in May.
Fabrication of the second MLP, the John Glenn, began in April. The ship will be erected in the same graving dock after the Montford Point is floated out.
A third ship, the Lewis B. Puller, will follow the John Glenn.