US Army picks Vigor to build its new maneuver support vessel

The US Army has picked Vigor Marine to build the service’s new landing craft, dubbed maneuver support vessel (light) – MSV(L).

Worth almost a billion dollars ($979.7m), the contract is the largest award in Vigor’s history.

The award comes concurrent with a “Milestone B” decision that moves the program into its engineering and manufacturing development phase.

Over the next four years, the Army will work with Vigor Works, LLC as it produces a full-scale prototype for additional evaluation and to inform the program’s final requirements.

A “Milestone C” decision and authorization for low rate initial production of the first four vessels are scheduled for the end of fiscal year 2021, followed by a full-rate production decision in fiscal year 2023. The Army seeks to buy 36 total vessels for use by Army mariners around the world.

As the first new watercraft in decades, the Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) will displace the Army’s fleet of Vietnam-era Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM-8) boats with a modern capability, giving commanders significantly improved seaborne maneuver flexibility.

The MSV(L) will provide intra-theater transportation of personnel and materiel, delivering cargo from advanced bases and deep-draft strategic sealift ships to harbors, inland waterways, remote and unimproved beaches and coastlines, and denied or degraded ports.

“Phase one of the program will begin immediately and center on design refinement and prototype construction,” said Tim Kolb, general manager of Vigor Ballard who spearheaded the proposal process. “The contract calls for one prototype vessel, four vessels under low rate production, and up to thirty two additional vessels for use by Army Mariners in even the most difficult environments.”

The Vigor MSV(L) design was developed in partnership with BMT following a detailed study of the Army’s needs and the available design options to fulfill those needs.

The landing craft’s tribow monohull is an innovative yet deceptively simple design that provides superior maneuverability and stability in high sea states, through the littorals and within inland waterways in support of land-based operations.

“This award is the culmination of a five year process of research and development that first began with Kvichak prior to its merger with Vigor,” Vigor CEO Frank Foti explained. “We are grateful for the exceptional work done by our entire team and honored to have been selected to serve the Army in this important project.”