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US Navy picks five to develop concept designs for new light amphibious warship

stern-landing vessel design
Illustration: Sea Transport Solutions graphic of a stern-landing vessel design

After releasing a request for information in May 2020, the US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) has now selected five companies that will develop concept designs for the service’s new “light amphibious warships” (LAW).

The five yards that received the contracts include Fincantieri, Austal USA, VT Halter Marine, Bollinger Shipyards and TAI Engineers.

While the navy did not reveal the contract values, a USNI News report said the total amount of the contracts was less than $7.5 million.

A construction award for up to 30 ships in the new class is slated for FY 2023.

The navy is purchasing the LAW for operations in small, undeveloped ports and beaches. Secondary functions may include force sustainment and reconnaissance.

These vessels will endure weeks-long deployments and trans-oceanic transits, operating within fleet groups or independently. According to previously released details, the new class of vessels will have to operate at 14 knots for a minimum of 3,500 nautical miles, transiting open ocean up to Sea State 5 while fully loaded.

NAVSEA further said the LAW would be able to beach on sand, gravel, shale, small stone, and man-made marine ramps. They will support on/offload of all existing US Marine Corps vehicles to beach areas with gradients of 1:40 or steeper, and fording depths of 42” or less.

It was also noted that using or adapting commercial ship designs, or build to print from a historic design/existing detailed designs will also be allowed to reduce technical risk and cost.