By Mark Edward Nero
San Diego-based General Dynamics NASSCO has been awarded a $106 million contract by the US Navy for material and engineering support for the Expeditionary Mobile Base 5 (ESB-5), formerly known as the Mobile Landing Platform Afloat Forward Staging Base program.
The mobile base is a type of amphibious assault ship that serves as a floating base for amphibious operations and operates as a transfer point between large ships and small landing craft. The bases, which are designed to serve as a flexible platform, are a key element in the Navy’s airborne mine countermeasures mission. Each has accommodations for up to 250 personnel and a large helicopter flight deck.
In 2011, the Navy awarded NASSCO with a contract to design and build the first two ships in the newly created Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) program, the USNS Montford Point and USNS John Glenn. In 2012, the program expanded to a third MLP, reconfigured as an Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB), the USNS Lewis B. Puller. With the first three ships delivered, NASSCO is currently constructing the fourth ship in the program, the USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams.
NASSCO says its procurement of long lead-time materials is expected to be completed by March 2017.