The US Army has issued a request for information, seeking industry input for the “maneuver support vessel (next) (MSV(N))”, a new medium/heavy lift/landing craft requirement.
The MSV(N) is envisioned as a complementary platform to the MSV (light) fleet, which is currently being built by Vigor Marine.
The new platform would replace the General Frank S. Besson-class logistics support vessels and LCU-2000 landing craft utility, which entered US Army service as early as the 1980s.
As outlined in the RFI, the MSV(N) should have a strengthened hull to allow loading and unloading aground. The vessel is to be able to beach/retract with no outside assistance at a beach gradient of 1:30 with a maximum of 1,000 short tons without damage to propulsion.
With a payload of 1,500 short tons, the MSV(N) design should envision the capability to transfer up to 75 combat ready military vehicles or 60 double stacked 20’ ISO containers.
The RFI further stated that the vessels are to feature identification friend or foe (IFF) systems, at least two remote weapon stations and C4ISR capabilities.
The army currently operates 34 LCUs and 8 LSVs. It is unclear how many MSV(N) vessels could be expected to be procured.
While the procurement of the next generation of medium/heavy lift/landing craft is still in the early stages, the army’s maneuver support vessel (light) program is well underway. Vigor Marine started construction on the first prototype unit in September 2019.
A total of 36 MSV (L) are replacing the service’s ageing Mike Boats under a contract worth close to $1 billion. The initial production of four vessels is expected to start in 2022.