China appears to be developing a Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) similar in concept to that being built by the United States, reports the Beijing-based Sina Military Network.
Photos of a Chinese military vessel resembling the US Navy’s MLP were recently released by the Chinese military magazine Modern Ships, leading to speculation that China is trying to develop its own “floating base.” Continue reading →
The Pentagon is rushing to send a large floating base for commando teams to the Middle East as tensions rise with Iran, al-Qaeda in Yemenand Somali pirates, among other threats.
In response to requests from the U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, the Navy is converting an aging warship it had planned to decommission into a makeshift staging base for the commandos. Unofficially dubbed a “mothership,” the floating base could accommodate smaller high-speed boats and helicopters commonly used by Navy SEALs, procurement documents show.
Special Operations Forces are a key part of the Obama administration’s strategy to make the military leaner and more agile as the Pentagon confronts at least $487 billion in spending cuts over the next decade.
Lt. Cmdr. Mike Kafka, a spokesman for the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command, declined to elaborate on the floating base’s purpose or to say where, exactly, it will be deployed in the Middle East. Other Navy officials acknowledged that they were moving with unusual haste to complete the conversion and send the mothership to the region by early summer.