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U.S. Army looking for the Replacement for the Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM-8)

This is a discussion on U.S. Army looking for the Replacement for the Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM-8) within the Army & Security Forces forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; It’s been several months since the US Army issued an RFI to identify a replacement for their aging LCM-8s. A ...


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Old November 12th, 2014   #1
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U.S. Army looking for the Replacement for the Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM-8)

It’s been several months since the US Army issued an RFI to identify a replacement for their aging LCM-8s.
A little background: The Army’s LCM-8s serve essentially as cargo lighters. Supporting harbor/port operations. Most vessels are long past their anticipated service life.

The existing fleet basic characteristics:
  • Length: 74 feet
  • Beam: 21 feet
  • Displacement: 58 LTONs (unladen); 111 LTONs (laden)
  • Deck area: 620 square feet
  • Range: 332 NM at 11 knots (unladen) one-way; 271 NM at 9 knots (laden) one-way

IMO the RFI for what they are calling the ‘Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) (MSV(L)’ identifies a significant capability upgrade. This follows what can only be considered a downgrade that the US Navy undertook when the replaced their LCM-8s on prepositioned ships with the Maritime Pre-positioning Force Utility Boat (MPFUB)

Links to the MSV(L) RFI specifications document can be found here:
https://contracting.tacom.army.mil/m...m8/replcm8.htm (must download doc to view)
or a readable document on Scribd. here:
https://www.scribd.com/doc/244163691...n-02-15-Apr-14

Basic Threshold Requirements:
  • Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station II (CROWS II)
  • Survivable in SS7. ( “survivable” means that crew, cargo and passengers are unharmed, the vessel maintains sea keeping integrity, and it remains fully capable of resuming full operations when conditions permit)
  • Fore and Aft ramps to allow drive-through operations, and one ramp configurable for small boat launch & recovery
  • Payload capabilities:
    • Four Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) w/trailer, crew and all personnel equipment
    • Two Strykers (any variant) with SLAT armor, crew and all personnel equipment
    • Two Bradleys (M2A2/M3A2) with crew and all personnel equipment (must be enough deck space to lower the vehicle’s rear ramp)
    • One M1A2 Abrams tank with crew and all personnel equipment
    • One Rifle Platoon of the Infantry IBCT with crew and all personnel equipment (This seems like a low number, as a vessel capable of carrying the other equipment noted would likely be able to carry an Infantry IBCT Company)
    • Capable of safely transporting one fully-loaded at maximum weight 40-foot or two fully-loaded at maximum weight 20-foot ISO containers
    • MSV(L) shall be capable of safely transporting material and personnel in SS3 (Objective requirement for SS increases to SS5)
  • Maneuver and conduct all operations in a minimum of four feet of water, allow the bow ramp to be deployed in a minimum of two feet of water
    (Objective requirement able to maneuver and conduct all operations in a minimum of two feet of water)
  • Speed: capability to move at a sustained speed of 18 knots laden in SS3; 24 knots unladen in SS3 (Objective requirement capability to move at a sustained speed of 22 knots laden in SS3; 30 knots unladen in SS3)
  • Range: Conduct operations in SS3 as follows:
    • 400 Nautical Miles (NM) at sustained speed of 24 knots when unladen round trip; and 360 NM at sustained speed of 18 knots laden round trip
    • Continuous operations, for a period of 24 hours without refueling or re-provisioning
      (Objective performance: round trip operations @SS4, 500 NM @ sustained 30 knots unladen, 400 NM @ sustained 20 knots laden)
  • Transportability: capable of being loaded and moved on Heavy Lift Ship (HLS) or semi-submersible vessel (Objective: capable of being loaded via lift on/lift off and moved on Large, Medium-Speed RO/RO vessel)
  • Anticipated production quantity is 36

As I stated, the MSV(L) threshold requirements (let alone the objective ones) would be a significant upgrade over the LCM-8s in service.

While I’m no subject matter expert in amphibious landing systems, the conceptual or operational craft that immediately came to my mind as possibly meeting these requirements were the: ST Marine Brave 75t; BMT Caimen 90 Fast; QinetiQ PACSCAT; Socarenam L-CAT/EDA-R. Also, I was reminded of an old Textron concept, which would need to be scaled down significantly, the Textron High Speed Landing Craft Utility (HSLCU). (old patent document: Patent US6792886 - Planing landing craft - Google Patents ).

Also, from the MSV-L Questions & Answers link on the TACOM page, there seems to be some interest from a Turkish entity.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
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The Army has made their selection for the future Maneuver Support Vessel (Light)
Vigor Press Release - Vigor wins award to build the U.S. Army’s Maneuver Support Vessel (Light), MSV(L), a new generation of landing craft for U.S. Army.
Quote:
"... The Vigor MSV(L) design was developed in partnership with BMT following a detailed study of the Army’s unique needs and the available design options to fulfill those needs. It dramatically improves the capabilities of the current LCM-8 and provides the optimal combination of performance, operational flexibility and life-cycle cost while maintaining the reliability and versatility of the Army’s current craft. ..."
Defense News - Army awards billion-dollar contract for 100-foot landing ships
Quote:
WASHINGTON – The Army has awarded a nearly $1 billion contract to the Oregon-based shipbuilder Vigor Works to replace its aging Mike Boats with a larger, faster Maneuver Support Vessel (Light).

The contract announced Thursday is a firm fix-price contract for $979,794,011 with an estimated completion date in 2027.

The MSL(V) replaces the Landing Craft Mechanized 8, a 74-foot boat with a top speed of 9 knots that first entered service in the late 1950s.
Base on released art work, and Vigor's press release stating they developed the vessel with BMT it is a modification of BMT's CAIMEN-90 Fast
I believe this will the first actual operational development of BMT's "tri-bow monohull" form.
Vigor-BMT MSVL -80-.jpg

The Army's media release provides some answers on further development and production
Army maneuvers new watercraft program to award
Quote:
"... The award comes concurrent with a "Milestone B" decision that moves the program into its engineering and manufacturing development phase. Over the next four years, the Army will work with Vigor Works, LLC as it produces a full-scale prototype for additional evaluation and to inform the program's final requirements. A "Milestone C" decision and authorization for low rate initial production of the first four vessels are scheduled for the end of fiscal year 2021, followed by a full-rate production decision in fiscal year 2023. The Army seeks to buy 36 total vessels for use by Army mariners around the world. ..."
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