On June 12, 2015 General Dynamics NASSCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (GD), delivered the U.S. Navy’s newest ship, the USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1). The ship is named in honor of the late U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant General Lewis «Chesty» Puller, the most decorated Marine and the only one to be awarded five Navy Crosses. Construction on the USNS Lewis B. Puller began in 2013.
«Today’s delivery of the USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1) to the U.S. Navy symbolizes an immense culmination of efforts made by the hard-working men and women of the General Dynamics NASSCO shipbuilding team», said Kevin Mooney, vice president of operations at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. «At NASSCO we are building and delivering affordable ships that are providing new and revolutionary capabilities for America’s Navy and Marine Corps».
The Afloat Forward Staging Base (ASFB) modifications add a 52,000 square-foot/4,831 square-meter flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, mission planning spaces and accommodations for up to 250 personnel. The ship is capable of supporting multiple missions including Air Mine Counter Measures (AMCM), counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and Marine Corps crisis response. The ship is designed to support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters, and will be upgraded to support MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft.
Earlier this year, NASSCO shipbuilders christened the ship with a ceremony at the company’s shipyard in San Diego. The commandant of the Marine Corps, General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., was the ceremony’s principal speaker. Ms. Martha Puller Downs, daughter of General Puller, served as the ship’s sponsor.
The U.S. Navy has awarded NASSCO a contract for the detail design and construction of a fourth Mobile Landing Platform (MLP), to be configured as another Afloat Forward Staging Base. Construction of the fourth MLP-4/AFSB-2 is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Propulsion: Commercial Diesel Electric Propulsion
Length: 785 feet/239.3 m
Beam: 164 feet/50 m
Displacement: 78,000 tons (fully loaded)
Draft: 29.5 feet/9 m (fully loaded); 39 feet/12 m (load line)
Speed: 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h
Range: 9,500 nautical miles/10,932 miles/17,594 km
Crew: 34 Military Sealift Command personnel
Accommodations: 250 personnel
USNS Montford Point (MLP-1)
USNS John Glenn (MLP-2)
USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1)
USNS (MLP-4/AFSB-2) – Under construction