- Aug 14, 2009
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"MAST Asia 2017: Mitsui Unveils Japanese MLP Concept"
At MAST Asia 2017 (Maritime Air Systems & Technologies), the naval defense exhibition currently held in Tokyo, Japanese company Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding (MES) unveiled its Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) concept.
Mitsui's MLP is designed for large scale transportation of LCACs, MBTs, vehicles, cargo and equipment, with multi-mission and modular features. In addition to its aviation operations and amphibious capabilities, this MLP can act as an offshore base.
The design differs from the American MLP which comes in two variants: The Expeditionary Transfer Dock (ESD) variant for amphibious operations and the Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) variant focusing on aircraft operation. Mitsui's design appers to combine both roles on a single design.
Unlike the ESB, there is no aviation hangar forward. There are four helicopter spots on the "almost" flat top. There is an elevator for stores and equipment next to spot #2. There is also a ramp allowing vehicles access between the two main decks.
The Japanese MLP concept measures 240 meters in length, 39 meters in width and 7 meters in draft for a displacement of 21,000 tons and a speed of 15 knots. The maximum complement of the vessel is 240 people.
According to Mistui, the main missions of the MLP include island defense as well as humanitarian assistance / disaster relief.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) is reportedly looking to boost its amphibious capabilities in order to protect its Southern Islands. MES, which delivered "Osumi" and "Shimokita" LPDs to the JMSDF a few years ago, also unveiled a new LPD and a new LHD design at MAST Asia. Navy Recognition will be covering these designs soon.
MLP designs and the "sea basing" concept in general seems to be getting popular outside of the US. You may recall from our LIMA 2017 coverage that the Royal Malaysian Navy is also exploring (and using to some extend) this concept.