Vigor held a keel laying ceremony yesterday marking the first milestone in the construction of the Army’s next generation landing craft, the maneuver support vessel (light) or MSV-L.
The prototype is named in honor of SSG Elroy F. Wells, an Army watercraft operator killed in action in 1970 in Vietnam. 
The nearly billion dollar contract to build MSV-Ls was awarded to Vigor in October 2017. The new design, developed in partnership with BMT, will dramatically improve the capabilities of the current LCM-8 and provide the optimal combination of performance, operational flexibility and lifecycle cost while maintaining the reliability and versatility of the Army’s current craft, Vigor said.
Vigor CEO Frank Foti welcomed the crowd with remarks delivered by Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler from Washington’s 3rd Congressional District; Anne McEnerny-Ogle, mayor of Vancouver; Timothy Goddette, U.S. Army Program Executive Office, Combat Support & Combat Service Support; and Col. Jered P. Helwig, U.S. Army Chief of Transportation.
The ceremonial welds by Rep. Beutler and Col. Helwig marked not only the start of the MSV(L) program but also the beginning of a new era in shipbuilding at Vigor’s recently acquired state-of-the-art all aluminum fabrication facility in Vancouver, Vigor said. Vigor expects the site to employ up to 400 workers by 2023 building high performance military craft, workboats and aluminum fast ferries in addition to MSV(L).
Once the SSG Elroy F. Wells is completed and testing and refinements have been completed, the schedule calls for four vessels in the low rate production phase, followed by up to 32 vessels once full rate production is underway. Vigor’s MSV-L team consists of a number of key partners including BMT, Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding and Northrop Grumman.
Learn more about the MSV-L here.