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Prototype US Army watercraft launched

The MSV(L) will replace US Army LCM-8s. (US Army)

The first Manoeuvre Support Vessel (Light), MSV(L), for the US Army was launched on 10 October following delays to the project, army officials confirmed.

Contracted shipbuilder Vigor has built the MSV(L) according to the 117 ft (35.66 m)-long Caimen-90 design from British naval architect firm BMT.

The prototype will be delivered during the second quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2023, and will be followed by an order for four low-rate initial production (LRIP) vessels, US Army's Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support (PEO CS&CSS) spokesperson told Janes .

“Testing of the prototype will inform the LRIP production decision. To mitigate supply chain risks, the army has procured the first LRIP's early order material in anticipation of an April 2023 favourable production decision, allowing vessel production to begin at that time,” the spokesperson said.

“The first LRIP vessel is expected to be delivered to the army in FY 2025,” the spokesperson added. It will be received by the Army Watercraft Company and replace the unit's existing Vietnam-era Landing Craft Mechanised-8 (LCM-8).

A contract awarded in September 2017 for USD979 million includes options for up to 36 vessels. However, in December, the army adjusted the Army Acquisition Objective down to 13 vessels.

In the army's announcement, Colonel Beth Behn, the army's chief of transportation, said that the project has “surmounted several hurdles” relating to the Covid-19 pandemic workforce and supply chain issues.

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