The U.S. Army has signed a contract with the ship design company BMT Group and the manufacturer Vigor Industrial since 2017 to jointly develop a new generation of “mobile support boats” to replace the LCM-8 landing craft that began service in 1959. Although BMT declared bankruptcy at the beginning of the year, the Army said that the mobile support boats development work will continue.
The LCM-8 currently in service with the U.S. Army and Navy, nicknamed the Mike Boat landing craft, has been in service since 1959 without major problems due to its sturdy structure. The hull is 22 meters long, 6.4 meters wide and has a speed of 9 to 12 knots. (17 to 22 kilometers), it can carry 58 tons of personnel and equipment for coastal landing operations.
However, since the M1A2 SEPv3, the main combat vehicle of the U.S. military, has added many electronic, armored, and active defense systems, the total weight exceeds 66 metric tons, and the LCM-8 cannot be used for transportation. A generation of transport boats took over.
The Maneuver Support Vessel (MSV) is 35.6 meters long and 8.6 meters wide, with a speed of over 30 knots (55 kilometers) empty and 21 knots (39 kilometers) fully loaded, with a maximum load-bearing capacity of 82 tonnes. Therefore, each MSV can carry an M1A2 SEPv3, plus additional town warfare or minesweeping equipment, the higher speed allows the MSV to move quickly within the theater or between different theaters, improving the survival rate.
Regina Rogers, director of the U.S. Army Surface Ship Program, said in response to an inquiry from the media Naval News that the original design manufacturer BMT Group was affected by the epidemic and the income could not be balanced. It declared bankruptcy to the court in February this year, but the Army will still Continue MSV development work with manufacturer Vigor Industries, unaffected by bankruptcy.
MSV expects to conduct sea trials this year and deliver the first four landing craft in 2025, gradually replacing the active LCM-8 fleet, which will join the LCAC Landing Hovercraft, Boeing MV-22 Osprey, V-280 Warrior Hansekowski The new generation of rotorcraft, such as the SB-1 Disdain, forms the important amphibious vehicle fleet of the US military in the Western Pacific.