The US Navy's first giant Mobile Landing Platform, basically a semi-submersible highway interchange artery on the sea, has been put to the test for the first time. Exercise Pacific Horizon saw the tanker-sized ship being used to convey outsized cargo from a cargo ship to the shore via hovercraft as part of a mock natural disaster response.
Make sure to read this past Foxtrot Alpha feature on the USNS Montford Point linked here to get a full background on what this ship, and her forthcoming sister ships, are capable of:
The concept of sea basing will increasingly be a mainstay of American strategy when it comes to everything from natural disaster response to operating in an area denial and anti-access combat environment (AD/A2). Being able to rapidly deploy assets from sea to land, and being able to operate at sea for a prolonged period of time when no land is accessible, is what this new strategy is all about with a particular focus on dealing with the vastness of the Pacific Theater.
Training events like Pacific Horizon shows that Mobile Landing Platforms and sea basing in general does work under benign circumstances, now the Navy and Marines will have to war game if such a concept can survive under much more threatening circumstances.
Regardless of the ship's survivability, reports from the fleet are clear, the USNS Montford Point can facilitate the conveyance of an amazing amount of gear, vehicles, personnel and supplies in an incredibly short amount of time.
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.com