The US Navy’s Mobile Landing Platform Ships (MLP)Feb 01, 2015 00:27 UTC
The Montford Point Class Mobile Landing Platform is intended to be a new class and type of auxiliary support ship, as part of the US Navy’s Maritime Prepositioning Force of the Future (MPF-F) program. They’re intended to serve as a transfer station or floating pier at sea, improving the U.S. military’s ability to deliver equipment and cargo from ship to shore when friendly bases are denied, or simply don’t exist. That’s very useful in disaster situations, and equally useful for supporting US Marines once they’re ashore.
It’s an interesting and unusual concept, one closely connected to the au courant concept of “seabasing”. The final MLP design changed substantially from the initial requirements, which lowered the platform’s cost along with its capabilities. Time will tell if the initial choices and tradeoffs were well-conceived or not. With contracts to build the ships underway, the remaining question is whether the ships can be built to meet the more limited promises that are being made now.