Monday, March 04, 2013

Mobile Landing Platform. We got it. Now what?

AOL has an article on the MLP that I find a bit difficult to stomach.  Read it all here, but a tidbit.
Saturday saw the formal christening of the USNSMontford Point, the first of a new class of Navy vessel, theMobile Landing Platform, meant to revolutionize the conduct of amphibious operations. By serving as a kind of floating pier, the MLP allows an amphibious force to offload heavy combat vehicles and bulk supplies at sea, without having to capture a major seaport -- which can be a bloody chokepoint in seaborne operation.
Revolutionize the conduct of amphibious operations?

I don't know about that!  What I do know is that instead of acting to get new LSD's, the Marine Corps and Navy instead chose to procure a ship that is of questionable value with regard to the near term Amphibious Fleet.

In an era of declining budgets, a smaller Marine Corps and fewer hulls in the water was this really the ship that the nation needs?

While you consider that, take a look at JLOTS and consider some of the modifications that could be made to make that system more useful for offload.  I don't know what the platform at the bottom of the ship's ramp (in the pic below) is called but a half dozen of those lined up side by side would allow multiple off/on loads of vehicles from ships to LCACs simultaneously.

We could have and should have spent this money more wisely.

NOTE:  This is just another procurement issue that the Marine Corps has been silent on.  We hear next to nothing from them on the MPC, ACV and now MLP.  I like the F-35 but it isn't the Marine Corps' universe.  Neither is the MV-22.  Time to get this shop in order.  Take care of these equipment issues!



  1. IIRC it's a RRDF - Roll-on/Roll-off Discharge Facility. Part of the INLS system.

    Don't think LCACs can "fly up" on an RRDF. I would need to be semi-submersible.

    Leesea would know for sure.

    1. would it need to fly onto the platform or could it nudge up to it and lower its ramp so vehicles could drive on?

    2. There's something called an Air Cushioned Vehicle Landing Platform (ACVLAP) that's meant to mate to an RRDF. Don't know if it's just a demonstrator program, or a fielded capability though.

    3. i'll look that up but if i remember correctly an LCAC is suppose to be capable of clearing like a 2 meter obstacle so it should be able to get up on that platform without problem.

    4. "The LCAC is currently not able to effectively operate in a JLOTS function due to problems of mating with the RRDF, however. The LCAC is restricted to moving cargo to and from Navy amphibious ships and not from standard sealift ships. This problem of receiving cargo from the RRDF can be overcome with the use of an Air Cushioned Vehicle Landing Platform (ACVLAP). The ACVLAP is a floating platform that when positioned alongside an RRDF allows the LCAC to receive rolling stock. The LCAC drives up onto the ACVLAP. Rolling stock is then able to drive from the RRDF over the ACVLAP and onto the awaiting LCAC. The 27 percent reduction in offload times assumes the availability of two ACVLAPs per JLOTS operation."

  2. LCAC cannot fly up onto INLS/RRDF. That operation was tested before the MLP design/contract phase. Basically they could not easily be controlled on a tilted deck. They play "bumper cars" to get into a wet well. Coming onboard longitutidally is reqd. But wait that couldn't be done with the NASSCO cut down tannker (corporate welfatre) design!
    SOOOO the idiots at NAVSEA decided to build three "little wet wells" into the side of MLP core cap set to allow for LCAC load/discharge.
    I have seen "mating platforms" for air cushion craft since the 1980s (US Army LCAV), none worked very well, but maybe the ACVLAP would? Guess the Navy decided not to use it?

    BTW MLP program started about the same time as LSD(X) but progressed faster due to lower cost. How $500 mil per hull is a lower cost option is beyond me?

    I have proposed all along to spend MORE money making amphibs MORE capable of inter-operating with CLF, MPF and sealift ships

    OTOH most landing craft and even HSVs can marry to the INLS/RRDF quite well up to SS3. Which is certainly sufficient for most offshore ops but NOT the USN which wants to punch the envelop up to SS4+ dah (I suspect that last might be a Marine wishful need?)


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