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USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2)
USNS John Glenn (T-MLP-2) underway in January 2014
USNS John Glenn underway in January 2014
Career Flag of the United States.svg
Namesake: John Glenn
Owner: Military Sealift Command
Ordered: 27 May 2011[1]
Builder: NASSCO
Laid down: 17 April 2012
Acquired: 2014 (scheduled)
Status: Under construction
General characteristics
Class & type: Montford Point-class mobile landing platform
Displacement: 34,500 tonnes[1]
Length: 765 feet (233 m)
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h)[1]
Range: 9,000 nautical miles[1]

USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2, ex-MLP-2)[2] is a United States Navy Mobile Landing Platform ship named in honor of John Glenn, a Naval Aviator, retired United States Marine Corps colonel, veteran of World War II and the Korean War, astronaut, and United States senator.[3]


LCAC 19970620

A US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC)

The Mobile Landing Platform is a new concept, part of the Maritime Prepositioning Force of the future. To control costs, the ships will not be built to combat vessel standards and are designed primarily to support three military hovercraft (such as the Landing Craft Air Cushion), vehicle staging with a sideport ramp and large mooring fenders. A decision was made to eliminate helicopter capability and ship-to-ship transfer of heavy equipment.[1]

The propulsion motors are of British design and build. Power conversion company Converteam was selected as the supplier of Integrated Power Systems with the award of an additional contract to design and supply the electric power, propulsion and vessel automation system.[4]

An auxiliary support ship, its role would be a seagoing pier for friendly forces in case accessibility to onshore bases are denied. Such flexibility would be useful following natural disasters and for supporting US Marines once they are ashore.[1][3] The MLP in its basic form possesses a core capability set that supports a vehicle staging area, side port ramp, large mooring fenders and up to three landing craft air cushioned vessel lanes.[3]



Sean Stackley and John Glenn at the christening ceremony in February 2014

The ship's keel was laid down on 17 April 2012 at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego, California.[5] It was christened on 2 February 2014 and was attended by John Glenn and his family. Other Navy and Marine guest speakers that attended the ceremony include Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisitions) Sean Stackley, Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert, and Lieutenant General John A. Toolan.[6]

The John Glenn was delivered in 2014 to the Military Sealift Command's Maritime Prepositioning Force.[5][7][8] As an MLP, the ship is under the command of the United States Navy's Military Sealift Command, and thus will not be commissioned into the US Navy (hence her designation prefix, "USNS").[1] Now that the ship has delivered, it will undergo further construction additions at the Vigor Shipyard in Portland, Oregon.[8]

Ship re-designationEdit

Effective 4 September 2015, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus officially announced the creation of a new ship designation, "E" for expeditionary support. Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) will be called Expeditionary Fast Transport, or EPF; the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) will be called Expeditionary Transfer Dock, or ESD; and the Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) variant of the MLP will be called Expeditionary Mobile Base, or ESB. The new designation was pursuant to a memorandum sent to Secretary Mabus from Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert dated 31 August 2015.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "The US Navy’s Mobile Landing Platform Ships (MLP)". Watershed Publishing. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Navy Renames Three Ship Classes, Creates ‘Expeditionary’ Designator in Naming System". USNI News Blog. United States Naval Institute. 4 September 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (4 January 2012). "Navy Names First Three Mobile Landing Platform Ships". U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  4. "Conversion to Supply Propulsion Systems for US Navy's Mobile Landing Platform Program". 3 August 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "General Dynamics NASSCO Begins Construction of the Future USNS John Glenn". NASSCO. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  6. "USNS John Glenn christened: Navy names ship in honor of the former astronaut and Ohio senator". The Plain Dealer. February 2, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014. 
  7. Scott, Richard (30 September 2010). "Floating world: US Navy eyes Mobile Landing Platform as sea base pontoon". Jane's Information Group. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 USNI News Editor (March 13, 2014). "NASSCO Delivers Second Mobile Landing Platform". United States Naval Institute News. Retrieved May 3, 2014. 

External linksEdit

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