General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego has received a US$1.3 billion order for the construction of a new class of auxiliary ship for the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command. Work on the first of three so-called Mobile Landing Platforms will begin immediately for delivery in 2013.

The new ships will join Maritime Prepositioning Force squadrons strategically located around the world, in the Mediterranean, Eastern Atlantic and Diego Garcia. The forward-positioned ships are loaded with military equipment to enable rapid response by US Forces in the event of a crisis. The semi-submersible MLPs will provide a sea-basing capability able to offload equipment and supplies from other MSC ships at sea without the need for port facilities. These can then be transported ashore by LCACs.

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