In case you didn’t see this on Friday, the Pentagon is converting the 1970s-vintage amphibious assault ship USS Ponce into a mothership for special ops and countermining missions in the Middle East, the Washington Post is reporting.
The 570-foot long ship’s big flight deck and well deck are well suited to carry the choppers and small boats that SOF troops would use to execute raids from this floating assault base. In fact, a Navy market survey document laying out requirement to develop a floating base that can be used in the Persian Gulf says whatever ship is chosen must be able to carry 370 people, have a 20-person operations center, accomodate “4 MH-53 size helicopters” and a have up to 12 small vessels like riverine patrol boats and 7-meter Zodiac boats lash up to its side at any one time. Click through the jump to read the Navy’s market survey and the requirements for the floating base.
Here’s the Navy’s solicitations for company’s to convert the Ponce into that mothership, and quickly, in order to get the vessel to the seas around the Middle East and you can bet the Horn of Africa too. The Ponce is expected to serve as the SOF and counterming ops mothership until a more permanent floating base can be built, according to the Post.