Army maneuvers new watercraft program to award

By Michael D. ClowOctober 3, 2017

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WARREN, Mich. (September 29, 2017) -- Yesterday, the U.S. Army awarded Vigor Works, LLC located in Clackamas, Oregon, a 10-year, firm fixed price, Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract for the Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) (MSV(L)) engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase and subsequent production and deployment (P&D) phase. The total estimated value is $979.79 million. The MSV(L) program is specifically designed to deliver a new vessel that enables Army mariners to carry the modern, combat-configured equipment into diverse littoral settings--giving commanders greater maneuver options, especially in anti-access, area-denial environments.

"The range of operating environments our Soldiers face today--and will face in the future--continues to grow more diverse," said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Drushal, U.S. Army chief of Transportation. "Our mariners need modern, capable vessels that can carry today's Soldiers and equipment. Our commanders need the flexibility to maneuver in many different environments--including maneuvering from the sea. This vessel will do both and provide a critical advantage in future operations."

As the first new Army watercraft in decades, the Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) will displace the Army's fleet of Vietnam-era Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM-8) boats with a modern capability, giving commanders significantly improved seaborne maneuver flexibility. The MSV(L) will provide intra-theater transportation of personnel and materiel, delivering cargo from advanced bases and deep-draft strategic sealift ships to harbors, inland waterways, remote and unimproved beaches and coastlines, and denied or degraded ports.

"Army transportation investments over the last decade rightly prioritized vehicle capabilities, especially in the area of protection," said Col. Dan Furber, project manager, Transportation Systems. "While that was the right thing to do, it also deferred investment in the watercraft fleet and created a mismatch between the size and weight of ground systems and the watercraft designed to carry them. MSV(L) will restore operational relevance to the Army watercraft fleet at an important time."

Most importantly, the program will restore the Army's ability to carry the weight of modern combat platforms. With the expected ability to operate in five feet of water, the MSV(L) will be designed to carry a combat-configured main battle tank, two Strykers, or four Joint Light Tactical Vehicles into a wide range of littoral environments. With a planned range of 360 nautical miles and a speed of 15 knots fully laden, it will significantly improve the Army's ability to maneuver land power when and where commanders need it.

"I'm particularly grateful for the robust, consistent industry participation in this effort," said Scott Davis, a member of the Senior Executive Service and the Army's program executive officer, Combat Support and Combat Service Support. "Watercraft are not something we buy very often, but they are essential to meeting Army-unique maneuver requirements. Industry's steadfast participation in our industry days and other engagements absolutely made our requirements clearer and set this program on the path to success."

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.

The U.S. Army's Program Executive Office, Combat Support & Combat Service Support, headquartered here, oversees the Project Management Office, Transportation Systems, including all of the Army's tactical wheeled vehicles and watercraft. With more than 150 programs in active management and an annual budget of more than $3 billion, PEO CS&CSS is responsible for managing the design, development, and delivery of the majority of equipment across the Army's Transportation, Engineer, Quartermaster, and Sustainment portfolios.

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