General Dynamics NASSCO held a keel-laying ceremony for the U.S. Navy’s third mobile landing platform, the future USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP 3), Nov. 5
A keel-laying traditionally represents the formal beginning of a ship.
Although the fabrication of ship components often begin months earlier, authentication that the keel is “straight and truly laid” remains a key shipbuilding and ceremonial milestone.
The keel of MLP 3 was authenticated by Elizabeth Glueck, wife of Lt. Gen. Kenneth Glueck, commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command.
“This keel laying is the first of many major shipbuilding milestones in the life this ship,” said Capt. Henry Stevens, Strategic Sealift and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships. “Lewis B. Puller will bring tremendous capability and operational flexibility to the Fleet.”
The ship’s name honors Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller, a distinguished combat veteran of World War II and the Korean War. Lt. Gen. Puller is the only Marine to have been awarded the Navy Cross on five separate occasions. Each MLP has been named in honor of pioneering Marines. USNS Montford Point (MLP 1) is named for the 20,000 African-American Marine recruits trained at Montford Point Camp, N.C. USNS John Glenn (MLP 2) honors Marine combat aviator, astronaut, and retired U.S. Senator John H. Glenn.
Lewis B. Puller is planned to be the first MLP afloat forward staging base (AFSB) variant, further enabling the capability to transfer vehicles and equipment at sea while meeting AFSB operational requirements such as airborne mine countermeasures and special operations forces missions. At 837 feet long, each ship displaces more than 80,000 tons when loaded. The ship will have a maximum speed of 15 knots and range of 9500 nautical miles.
The Lewis B. Puller is expected to deliver to the Navy in 2015.
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft. Currently, the majority of shipbuilding programs managed by PEO Ships are benefiting from serial production efficiencies, which are critical to delivering ships on cost and schedule.
US Navy, November 6, 2013