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USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3/T-AFSB-1)

|Ship image=USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3/T-AFSB-1) |Ship caption=An artist’s conception of the Afloat Forward Staging Base.

|module= Career Namesake: Lewis B. Puller, Sr.[1][2]Awarded: February 2012[3]Builder: NASSCO - San Diego, California[1]Cost: $134.9 million US$ (FY 2014)[4]Laid down: 5 November 2013[1]Commissioned: est. 2015[1]Status: Under constructionNotes: Operated by Military Sealift Command |module2= General characteristics Class & type: Montford Point-class Mobile Landing PlatformDisplacement: Approx. 78,000 long tons (87,000 short tons) fully loaded[5]Length: 764 ft (233 m)[6][Note 1]Beam: 164 ft (50 m)[7]Draft: 25.5 ft (7.8 m)[7]Installed power: Diesel-electric[7]Propulsion: Integrated power systems[8]
Two (2) propellers[7]Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)[1][7]Range: 9,500 nautical miles (17,600 km; 10,900 mi)[1]Boats & landing
craft carried: Accommodation barge (298 mission-related personnel max.)[3]Complement: 34 civilian mariners[7]Armament: None[7]Aircraft carried: Up to 4 CH-53 heavy-lift transport helicopters[3]Aviation facilities: Helicopter landing deck and hangar[3]Notes: Afloat forward staging base variant[3] }} USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3/T-AFSB-1) is the first purpose-built afloat forward staging base (AFSB) vessel for the United States Navy. It will be one of two ASBS variants of the U.S. Navy's planned fleet of Mobile Landing Platform vessels. When completed in 2015, Lewis B. Puller is slated to replace the USS Ponce (AFSB-(I)-15) currently operating with the U.S. Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

Both Lewis B. Puller and its unnamed sister ship (MLP-4) will differ significantly from the U.S. Navy first two Mobile Landing Platform support vessels, the Montford Point and John Glenn. These two ships facilitate the 'seabasing' of an amphibious landing force by acting as a floating base or transfer station that can be prepositioned off the target area.[9]

The Lewis B. Puller and MLP-4 will serve as afloat forward staging bases (AFSB) to support special forces missions, counter-piracy/smuggling operations, maritime security operations, and mine clearance, as well as humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions. AFSB vessels are designed to support low-intensity missions, allowing more expensive, high-value amphibious warfare ships and surface combatant warships to be re-tasked for more demanding operational missions for the U.S. Navy.[3] These AFSB variants are slated to operate in the Middle East and the Pacific Ocean.[6]

As an MLP, the Lewis B. Puller will be operated by the Military Sealift Command. Consequently, the ship will not be formally commissioned into the U.S. Navy, and consequently, its designation prefix will be "USNS."[9] Most of the civilian mariner positions - both entry-level and licenced - will be filled with members of the Seafarers International Union's Government Service Division and the American Maritime Officers union.[10] When completed in 2015, the USNS Lewis B. Puller is slated to replace the USS Ponce, the U.S. Navy's interim AFSB support ship.[3]

Design features[edit | edit source]

The overall design of the USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3/T-AFSB-1) is based on the hull of the civilian Alaska-class oil tanker.[6] The Puller will be outfitted with support facilities for its mine-sweeping, special operations, and other expeditionary missions. An accommodation barge will also be carried to support up to 298 additional mission-related personnel.[3] The Puller's aviation facilities include a flight deck with landing spots for two heavy-lift transport CH-53 helicopters, as well as additional deck space for two more CH-53s. The Puller will also have a helicopter hanger, an ordnance storage magazine, underway replenishment facilities, and deck space for mission-related equipment storage.[3]

GE Power Conversion will provided the complete electric power, propulsion, and vessel automation system for all MLP ships. This integrated power system (IPS) will also involve the ship's tandem propulsion motor powered by variable-frequency drives, harmonic filters, and high-voltage switchboards.[8]

Namesake[edit | edit source]

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3/T-AFSB-1) is named after Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller, USMC. A distinguished combat veteran of World War II and the Korean War, Puller is one of the most, if not the most, decorated individual in the history of the United States Marine Corps.[1][2]

Construction history[edit | edit source]

The United States Navy ordered MLP-3 in February 2012 as part of the Fiscal Year 2013 appropriation for the U.S. Department of Defense via the National Defense Sealift Fund (NDSF).[3][4]

The keel-laying ceremony for the USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3/T-AFSB-1) took place at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, California, on 5 November 2013. The keel of the Puller was authenticated by Elizabeth Glueck, the wife of Lieutenant General Kenneth J. Glueck, Jr., the commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command.[1][6][11] Mrs. Glueck validated the Puller's keel by welding her initials onto a steel plate that will be permanently affixed to the ship, remaining a part of the Lewis B. Puller throughout its service life.[11]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. NavSourve.org lists the overall length as 785 ft (239 m).
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 "Keel Laid for Future USNS Lewis B. Puller". NNS131105-20. Naval Sea Systems Command Office of Corporate Communications. 5 November 2013. http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=77482. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 James Marconi (5 January 2012). "Navy Names First Three Mobile Landing Platform Ships". Military Sealift Command Public Affairs. United States Navy. http://www.msc.navy.mil/N00p/pressrel/press12/press01.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 "U.S. Navy Program Guide 2013". United States Navy. 6 November 2013. http://www.navy.mil/navydata/policy/seapower/npg13/top-npg13.pdf. Retrieved 2013-12-05. "See pages 101–102" 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) - Afloat Forward Staging Base". Military. GlobalSecurity.org. 15 November 2013. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/mlp-afsb.htm. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  5. "Mobile Landing Platform – MLP". Fact Sheet. United States Navy. 14 November 2013. http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4600&tid=675&ct=4. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Updated: Keel Laid for First Dedicated Afloat Forward Staging Base". USNI News Blog. United States Naval Institute. 6 November 2013. http://news.usni.org/2013/11/06/keel-laid-first-dedicated-afloat-forward-staging-base. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 "USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3)". USNI News Blog. NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive. 29 March 2013. http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/88/8803.htm. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Lauren Maffeo (3 August 2011). "General Dynamics NASSCO Commissions Converteam to Supply Power Systems to US Navy". GovCon Executive. http://www.govconexecutive.com/2011/08/general-dynamics-commissions-converteam-to-supply-power-systems-to-u-s-navy/. Retrieved 2013-12-05. "General Dynamics NASSCO has commissioned Converteam to supply integrated power systems to the U.S. Navy, a move that follows the engineering solutions company’s multimillion-dollar contract to design and supply the complete electric power, propulsion and vessel automation system for the Mobile Landing Platform program." 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "The US Navy’s Mobile Landing Platform Ships". Defense Industry Daily. Watershed Publishing. 18 August 2010. http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/The-US-Navys-Mobile-Landing-Platform-Ships-06525/. Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  10. "MLP Contract Award Means New Jobs for SIU Members". February 2013. http://www.seafarers.org/seafarerslog/2013/February%202013/MLPContract.htm. Retrieved 2013-12-08.  and "New jobs for AMO as MSC awards mobile landing platform contract to Ocean Ships". American Maritime Officers. January 2013. http://www.amo-union.org/Information~Page~201301-01.html. Retrieved 2013-12-08. 

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