ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. Navy is seeking proposals for its Landing Ship Medium program, which one Marine Corps leader called a top priority for the Navy-Marine amphibious team.

The services are “on pace to procure in ’25, deliver it in 2029,” Maj. Gen. Marcus Annibale, the director of expeditionary warfare on the chief of naval operations’ staff, said Wednesday at the Surface Navy Association’s annual conference.

The Navy released the request for proposals on Jan. 5. The contract would cover up to six vessels, according to the contracting website. Offers are due May 9.

The Marine Corps and Navy previously issued five concept design study contracts to collaborate with industry during the requirements development phase.

In April, Annibale said the Landing Ship Medium, or LSM, capability development document was moving through the approval process, following a significant disagreement between the Marine Corps and the Pentagon over what capabilities the vessel should have and therefore how much it should cost.

The LSM is to primarily support Marine littoral regiments serving as a stand-in force. These units are designed to spend significant amounts of time in key locations such as the Philippines or Japan, and have the ability to move between remote locations — in contrast to a traditional rotational deployment, where forces would rotate into theater and only visit major ports in partner nations.

The Marine littoral regiments will leverage aircraft such as the KC-130J, but they’ll also need surface vessels to move themselves and gear from island to island and beachhead to beachhead.

Annibale said the LSM would have a range of 3,000-5,000 nautical miles to help Marines traverse the vast Pacific.

The LSM, previously called Light Amphibious Warship, ran into early delays. The program had been set for a fiscal 2022 contract award, which was pushed into fiscal 2023 and then fiscal 2025 due to budget constraints.

To make the most of the intervening time, the Marine Corps is buying three stern landing vessels to turn into LSM prototypes so the Corps — more specifically the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment — can begin experimenting with the new platform.

The program has remained on track since its procurement start was delayed to FY25.

“I’m very positive on where we’re at with that, in a resource-constrained environment,” Annibale said.

Megan Eckstein is the naval warfare reporter at Defense News. She has covered military news since 2009, with a focus on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations, acquisition programs and budgets. She has reported from four geographic fleets and is happiest when she’s filing stories from a ship. Megan is a University of Maryland alumna.

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