Army Finalizing Requirements for ‘Heavy’ Watercraft

By Josh Luckenbaugh
Maneuver Support Vessel (Light)

Vigor LLC photo

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Army is modernizing its watercraft to ensure the service’s combat systems and vehicles get where they need to go in austere, coastal environments.

In October, the Army launched a Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) prototype, which will eventually replace the service’s Vietnam-era Landing Craft Mechanized-8. The vessel — developed by Vigor LLC — is the service’s “first new major watercraft system acquisition in more than 20 years,” Brig. Gen. Samuel “Luke” Peterson, the Army’s program executive officer for combat support and combat service support, said in an Army release.

The Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) prototype is currently undergoing testing and “already demonstrating capabilities that we are extremely excited about,” Peterson said at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Tactical Wheeled Vehicles Conference.

“The speed on this vessel is tremendous, and the capabilities it will provide for resupplying and augmenting forces in an [Indo-Pacific] type of environment is truly tremendous,” he said.

Now, the Army is finalizing requirements for a larger version of the Maneuver Support Vessel, Peterson said.

The Maneuver Support Vessel (Heavy) is “a key requirement coming out of my user community,” he said. “We’ve worked very hard to make sure we understand what it is the Army needs in this type of capability — partnered with our Navy and Marine Corps partners as well — to make sure that we've got the right requirements going forward.”

In comparison to the 117-foot-long Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) — which “can haul one combat configured M1 Abrams tank, or two Stryker combat vehicles, or four Joint Light Tactical Vehicles,” per the Army release — the Heavy version will be “probably in the 400-foot range,” said Wolfgang Petermann, the Army’s project manager for transportation systems.

The larger vessel will have a crew of “around 30” and feature “smart subsystems” to reduce crew load, he said.

As of March 1, the Army was “on the cusp of taking … a recommendation” to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Doug Bush to initiate the Maneuver Support Vessel (Heavy) program, Peterson said. The Army is planning to issue a contract in the second quarter of 2024, Petermann said.

Topics: Army News, Tactical Wheeled Vehicles

Comments (5)

Re: Army Finalizing Requirements for ‘Heavy’ Watercraft

The MSV(H) and the LSM will have similar missions, but not the same. By law the Navy has to support the Marine efforts. They do not have to support the Army missions the same way. The Army has missions assigned and has to have its own assets to accomplish that mission. The Navy took the TSC/EPF away from the Army (as an Army maritime office I was against that) and I think the Army is now regretting that move. The EPF's are civilian crewed and I believe that the support for the Army must come from vessels crewed by soldiers.

Bob at 4:42 PM
Re: Army Finalizing Requirements for ‘Heavy’ Watercraft

Would this craft not also be perfect for the Marine Corps island-hopping strategy? Why are these two services wasting our tax dollars investing in similar concepts? Can we not cooperate?

Craig at 12:45 PM
Re: Army Finalizing Requirements for ‘Heavy’ Watercraft

MSV(Heavy) and the LSM should be one and the same vessel. SMH.

DaSaint at 6:12 PM
Re: Army Finalizing Requirements for ‘Heavy’ Watercraft

The US Army Needs to see if it can add modular weapons systems from the US NAVY to these watercrafts. These Watercraft may have to fight its way to the beach.

James William Etter at 3:54 AM
Re: Army Finalizing Requirements for ‘Heavy’ Watercraft

Craig: perhaps with the Navy as well?

Thomas P Roberts at 6:50 PM
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