General Dynamics Awarded $128 Million to Build 1st Afloat Forward Staging Base

The Department of Defense awarded six separate defense contracts Wednesday, worth $960 million in total. Among the largest of the contracts awarded:

General Dynamics' (NYSE: GD  ) National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. subsidiary was awarded a $128.5 million contract modification to perform detailed design and construction work necessary to convert the U.S. Navy's planned Mobile Landing Platform USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3) into an Afloat Forward Staging Base (T-AFSB-1).

The Puller will be the first of a (short) line of Mobile Landing Platforms designed to function as floating forward staging bases for amphibious assaults, humanitarian aid work, anti-piracy missions, and mine-sweeping. Measuring 837 feet long and displacing 80,000 tons, the vessel will have room to carry up to four CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters, and nearly 300 special operations and other troops. It will be designed to travel at speeds up to 15 knots, and to have a range of 9,500 nautical miles. A total of two AFSBs are currently expected to be built, the Puller and an as-yet unnamed vessel currently designated MLP-4.

NASSCO laid the keel for the Puller on Nov. 5 and expects to deliver the vessel to the Navy in October 2015.

Artist's conception of how USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3) will look when complete. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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Rich Smith

As a defense writer for The Motley Fool, I focus on defense and aerospace stocks. My job? Every day of the week, I'm monitoring the news, figuring out the winners and losers, and tracking down the promising companies for you to invest in. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook for the most important developments in defense & aerospace, and other great stories.

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