In line with the so-called “Pacific Pivot” espoused by Pentagon planners who foresee a possible war in and along the Pacific Rim, the military has requested plans for a new family of military landing craft to be used by both the US Army and US Navy for water borne delivery of heavy assets. According to Defence News, the new Maneuver Support Vessel (Light), or MSV(L), will be required to transport either one M1 Abrams main battle tank, two Stryker infantry combat vehicles or up to four Joint Light Tactical Vehicles. The MSV would replace the current fleet of aging Landing Craft Mechanized that are still in service with both branches of the military.
“The Army plans to issue a request for proposals before the end of the year, make an award later in 2016, have a prototype in 2017, and be testing in 2018 and 2019,” says Defence News. “A 10-year indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract would cover three years of engineering and manufacturing development, two years of low rate initial production and five years of full production.”
Separately, the Pentagon cancelled a new amphibious assault vehicle a couple of years ago that was aimed at replacing the fleet of aging Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVPs) currently in US service. At the time, the Pentagon claimed there was no need to make a “forcible entry” onto a well-defended beach since the Marines and US Army haven’t had to wage an assault from the sea in over 60 years. Updates to a number of aging weapons platforms are currently underway across the entire spectrum of military vehicles, and with a potential conflict looming against certain East Asian countries, it remains to be seen if the Pentagon decides to re-open the matter and follow-up on a potential beach invasion candidate.