GD to start work on fifth US Navy expeditionary mobile base ship

The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics NASSCO, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, a $106 million contract to procure long lead time material and engineering support for the fifth Expeditionary Mobile Base ship (ESB-5).

Formerly known as the Mobile Landing Platform Afloat Forward Staging Base program, Expeditionary Mobile Base is a ship that provides logistics movement from sea to shore supporting military operations.

The 239.3-meter-long ESD/ESB ships were based on an existing commercial design – the Alaska class crude oil carrier built by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), to ensure design stability and low developmental costs.

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, an AFSB reclassified as an ESB, the USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams.

Procurement of long lead time materials for the fifth ship is expected to be completed by March 2017.

The ESB is designed to serve as a flexible platform and a key element in the Navy’s airborne mine countermeasures mission, with accommodations for up to 250 personnel and a large helicopter flight deck.

Military Sealift Command, a transportation provider for the U.S. Department of Defense, operates the first three ships in the class.