U.S. Army's New Landing Craft Enters Production 80 Years After D-Day

Maneuver Support Vehicle Light carrying Abrams tanks 9 photos
Photo: Vigor
Maneuver Support Vehicle LightManeuver Support Vehicle LightManeuver Support Vehicle LightManeuver Support Vehicle LightManeuver Support Vehicle LightManeuver Support Vehicle LightManeuver Support Vehicle LightManeuver Support Vehicle Light
On June 6, 1944, about 150,000 troops from allied nations headed for French shores in what was to be the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. That's 80 years since brave souls managed to complete one of the most difficult military maneuvers in existence, amphibious landings under fire, on a scale never before seen.
For the task at hand, the Allies used pretty much all hardware at their disposal, from gliders to sidearms, but one crucial tool in getting troops to French shores was the landing craft. In all, Operation Neptune needed over 4,100 of these vessels to get soldiers ashore.

Generally speaking, a landing craft is a vessel than can move on water, carrying people and vehicles from sea to sure that amphibious landings need to be performed. Since the era of the Second World War, the overall design of these ships deployed in service with American forces hasn't changed much.

Today's soldiers serving with the U.S. Navy and Army use something called the Landing Craft Mechanized 8 (LCM-8). Known to its operators as the Mike Boat, the vessel dates back to the time of the Vietnam War (it's made since 1959), thus in dire need of replacement with something that can keep up with the times.

Back in 2017 the Army decided it's time to go for a new landing craft, and assigned defense contractor Vigor a contract to handle the development of such a new piece of hardware. The first prototype of the new family of landing craft, the SSG Elroy F. Wells, was completed two years ago.

Just as the world is getting ready to mark the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings, Vigor announced it had begun low rate initial production of the new landing craft, something that will officially be known as the Maneuver Support Vehicle Light (MSVL).

The ship is a tribow monohull made of aluminum and powered by three 2,600 hp engines and an equal number of waterjets. It's a pretty big vehicle, coming in at 117 feet long (35 meters) and offering a deck area of 1,697 square feet (158 square meters).

The MSVL, whose design is based on the BMT Caimen-90 landing craft, can move over water at speeds of 24 mph (39 mph) when loaded with one Abrams main battle tank, two Stryker armored vehicles, and additional payloads. It can travel for a distance of 414 miles (667 km).

A key aspect of any landing craft, its ability to come ashore, is ensured by a raised center jet and a four-foot draft fully laden. That should allow the MSVL to deliver its cargo on the shallowest of beaches.

The Army will give Vigor a total of $1 billion over the next ten years. In exchange, the company has to make one prototype ship (it already did that), four ships under the low-rate production phase that was just announced, and possibly 32 more of them once production really gets going.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
Press Release
About the author: Daniel Patrascu
Daniel Patrascu profile photo

Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories