Vigor Industrial lays keel for US Army’s generation landing craft

19 September 2019 (Last Updated September 20th, 2019 11:10)

Vigor Industrial has laid the keel for the first next-generation landing craft being built for the US Army.

Vigor Industrial lays keel for US Army’s generation landing craft
Officials at the keel laying ceremony of the first Maneuver Support Vessel (Light). Credit: Vigor Industrial LLC.

Vigor Industrial has laid the keel for the first next-generation landing craft being built for the US Army.

The keel-laying ceremony of the Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) (MSV(L)) was attended by Vigor and US Army representatives.

Vigor won the ten-year $979.39m contract in October 2017 to build the MSV(L). The landing craft will replace the Army’s ageing LCM-8 Mike boats.

The company is developing the prototype for the boat under the first phase of the programme.

The prototype is named after SSG Elroy F Wells, a US Army watercraft operator who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1970.

Vigor will move to the low-rate production phase of four vessels once testing of the prototype is completed.

A further 32 boats will be built in the Full Rate Production phase.

Vigor Industrial said in a statement: “The ceremonial weld marked not only the start of the MSV(L) program but also the beginning of a new era in shipbuilding at Vigor’s recently acquired state-of-the-art all-aluminium fabrication facility in Vancouver.

“Vigor expects the site to employ up to 400 workers by 2023 building high-performance military craft, workboats and aluminium fast ferries in addition to MSV(L).”

The company’s partners in the programme include BMT, Gladding-Hearn and Northrop Grumman.

Vigor developed the MSV(L) design in collaboration with BMT. The design will improve the capabilities of the current LCM-8 boats.

The 35.6m-long MSV(L) features a tribow monohull configuration and can achieve a top speed of 20k.

The boat is for use by army mariners and provides a range of more than 360nm. It also offers manoeuvre options in anti-access environments.