The US Navy has exercised an option for the construction of another auxiliary personnel lighter – small, a berthing barge used by the Navy to house crewmembers when ships are in port for availabilities or training cycles.
The $41 million contract from March 23 is for the fifth of potential six barges the navy is buying under a contract from September 2018.
VT Halter Marine expects to deliver the fourth unit this year and the contract for the fifth unit envisions a delivery by June 2022.
The navy’s barges are mobile and can be towed to new bases or shipyards to support changing fleet requirements and also offer potential use for humanitarian missions and other temporary assignments.
APL(S) are replacing barges that have been in use for up to 70 years. The youngest of the auxiliary lighters currently in use were delivered in 2000.
The new barges are 82 meters long, 20.95 meters wide with 2.2 meters of draft. Additionally, they are capable of seating 228 enlisted personnel and 56 officers for each meal. Each vessel is equipped with offices, classrooms, washrooms, laundry facilities, medical treatment areas, barber shop and fitness center. The vessels are being fitted with mixed gender berthing spaces for 74 officers and 537 enlisted personnel, for a total of 611 people.