2

Managing and Moving Materiel

The ability of naval forces to deploy and remain on station in international waters and to maneuver, engage, and redeploy quickly across the sea-land interface makes them a versatile military force in littoral areas. The variety of operations generates several very different types of naval logistic activity.

Figure 2.1 depicts the major naval logistic activities in a littoral area. Arrows at the top left portion of the figure represent the under-way replenishment of ships at sea. Although ships deploy with sufficient fuel, ammunition, and stores on board to permit them to operate independently for a long time, the duration of ship deployments, even in peacetime, usually exceeds substantially a ship’s ability to operate without resupply. In combat, frequent resupply—every two or three days—is a necessity. For example, a carrier battle group may use as much as 12,000 barrels of aviation and ship fuel, 150 tons of ordnance, and 30 tons of stores in one day when conducting surge operations.

To deliver the materiel to the fleet, the Navy moves fuel, ammunition, and other supplies in bulk, usually by commercial surface carriers, to overseas locations where they are broken out and positioned for forward support of the fleet. Fleet-operated combat logistic force ships (oilers, ammunition ships, and stores ships) then shuttle supplies from the resupply points either to the battle forces directly or to station ships (multiproduct, fast combat support ships) that accompany the battle groups. Under-way transfer of materiel from a logistic ship to a combatant is either by traditional high-line transfer between the two ships steaming side by side (connected replenishment) or by helicopter (vertical replenishment). Most replacement personnel, spare parts, and small items coming from CONUS move by air to overseas points and from there to ships during port visits



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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force 2 Managing and Moving Materiel The ability of naval forces to deploy and remain on station in international waters and to maneuver, engage, and redeploy quickly across the sea-land interface makes them a versatile military force in littoral areas. The variety of operations generates several very different types of naval logistic activity. Figure 2.1 depicts the major naval logistic activities in a littoral area. Arrows at the top left portion of the figure represent the under-way replenishment of ships at sea. Although ships deploy with sufficient fuel, ammunition, and stores on board to permit them to operate independently for a long time, the duration of ship deployments, even in peacetime, usually exceeds substantially a ship’s ability to operate without resupply. In combat, frequent resupply—every two or three days—is a necessity. For example, a carrier battle group may use as much as 12,000 barrels of aviation and ship fuel, 150 tons of ordnance, and 30 tons of stores in one day when conducting surge operations. To deliver the materiel to the fleet, the Navy moves fuel, ammunition, and other supplies in bulk, usually by commercial surface carriers, to overseas locations where they are broken out and positioned for forward support of the fleet. Fleet-operated combat logistic force ships (oilers, ammunition ships, and stores ships) then shuttle supplies from the resupply points either to the battle forces directly or to station ships (multiproduct, fast combat support ships) that accompany the battle groups. Under-way transfer of materiel from a logistic ship to a combatant is either by traditional high-line transfer between the two ships steaming side by side (connected replenishment) or by helicopter (vertical replenishment). Most replacement personnel, spare parts, and small items coming from CONUS move by air to overseas points and from there to ships during port visits

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force FIGURE 2.1 Naval logistic activity. or to the battle group either by carrier on-board delivery (COD) aircraft or by helicopter. In Figure 2.1, the dashed arrows between the amphibious ships and the land objective represent an amphibious assault by a Marine Corps air-ground task force. The traditional mode of amphibious operations has been to disembark the assault echelon close to shore (within 3 or 4 miles), establish a beachhead, secure the area to a distance of about 30 miles to protect it from enemy direct and indirect fire, build up a logistic support base, and then push out to other objectives. The Marine Corps concept for future amphibious operations, Operational Maneuver From the Sea, seeks to obviate the initial buildup of a beach support area by launching the assault from well over the horizon (25 miles or more), seizing initial objectives well inland (perhaps 50 to 100 miles), and providing from ships at sea much of the combat support and combat service support traditionally provided from the beach support area—command and control, fire support, aviation, and logistics. Providing logistic support from a sea base may be the most challenging of these tasks. In the lower half of Figure 2.1, the two arrows represent strategic sealift ships and maritime prepositioning ships transporting equipment to a port while strategic airlift delivers personnel and light equipment to a close-by airport. Ever

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force since the early 1980s, Marine Corps operations have been supported by three squadrons of maritime prepositioning ships—leased merchant ships of the roll-on and roll-off design. Each squadron is loaded with the equipment and 30 days’ worth of supplies for a Marine Corps expeditionary brigade and is deployed in an area of potential conflict. When secure port and airfield facilities are available, a brigade-size Marine Corps unit can be airlifted to the theater of operations, marry up with equipment that has been unloaded from the prepositioning ships, and be prepared for combat in less than 15 days. The follow-on echelon of a Marine air-ground task force—whatever Navy and Marine Corps equipment and personnel cannot be moved to the theater of operations in amphibious warfare ships—also is moved by strategic sealift and airlift. When maritime ports are not available or are inadequate to meet needs, the maritime prepositioning ships and strategic sealift ships are offloaded onto lighters or rapidly constructed causeways for movement of equipment ashore. Such operations, called logistics over the shore (LOTS), are depicted in Figure 2.1 by the dashed arrows above the port. The panel speculated on the possible role of a 50-knot sealift ship to transport materiel and troops rapidly from CONUS to an area of military engagement. First principles of hydrodynamics suggest that such a large ship (length greater than 1,400 feet) operating at 50 knots would meet requirements for power and displacement hull design. Although such a large, high-speed ship might be an alternative to the maritime prepositioned ship—it would minimize the demands on strategic airlift and would make LOTS operations in sea state 3 attainable —other operational considerations do not make the concept attractive at this time. These reservations include the deep draft of the ship that limits the possible geographical areas of operations, the potential for heavy casualties when under attack, and the inability to transit the Panama Canal. Whereas the logistic activities depicted in Figure 2.1 share the common goal of managing and moving materiel to using forces, they do so under different operating conditions and often require different capabilities—different technologies—to be effective. The following sections discuss opportunities for applying technology to improve logistic capabilities in three of the major naval logistic activities: (1) supporting naval forces at sea, (2) supporting Operational Maneuver From the Sea, and (3) conducting logistics-over-the-shore operations. SUPPORTING NAVAL FORCES AT SEA The U.S. Navy supports its forces at sea more efficiently and more effectively than does any other navy in the world. The methods have evolved and been refined over many years of experience. Both connected and vertical replenishment are used for all types of ships, often concurrently. Although improvement is always desirable in the maximum weight of transferred loads, or in the separation of ships, or in extending the range of weather conditions under which replen

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force ishment can be performed safely, such improvements probably are marginal. With one exception, both methods work well and are reliable. The exception is rearming the vertical launch system (VLS). Rearming the Vertical Launch System The Navy’s vertical launch system for missiles is rearmed by lowering a new missile canister into each launch cell, one at a time. When rearming at sea, each of these heavy missiles, in its canister, is transferred from the logistic ship using the standard alongside (connected) replenishment method. The missile canister is then manhandled over to the launcher, upended by a crane, and lowered into a cell. Even in calm seas, controlling the pendular motion of the missile dangling from the crane is difficult, slow, and dangerous. Consequently, rearming of the VLS is normally done only at pierside or in a protected harbor. Because of these limitations, the Navy has chosen not to provide an at-sea VLS rearming capability in the latest block of its newest class of destroyers (Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer). Table 2.1 shows why at-sea VLS rearming rates are unsatisfactory to the point of being almost useless. Fully rearming a ship’s capacity would take 17 to 35 hours—in calm seas. The Navy is working on an approach, called the transportable rearming method (TRAM), that may be able to achieve a vertical launch system rearming rate of 15 missiles per hour. The logistic ship would transfer a device to the combatant that, once the device has been mounted on rails on the missile launcher, would receive the missile canister, move it to the launch cell, and hold it in place while it is lowered into the tube. At the expected rates, full rearming would take 4 to 8 hours. Today, missile inventories are small compared to the number of vertical-launch cells. Mission success may depend on being able to move missiles at sea from a disabled ship to one capable of performing a combat mission; from a ship rendezvousing at sea with one that is just deploying; or from a ship whose current TABLE 2.1 Estimated Alongside Times for Replenishment Ship Type VLS Missile Capacity Current Full Replenishment Time (3.5 missiles per hour) Full Replenishment Time with TRAM (15 missiles per hour) CG-47 Ticonderoga-class cruisers 122 35 hours 8 hours DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers 90 26 hours 6 hours DD-963 Spruance-class destroyers 61 17 hours 4 hours

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force mission does not depend on firing missiles to one whose mission does. Whether or not the TRAM proves to be a satisfactory solution, finding and installing in the fleet a way to rearm the vertical-launch systems at sea should be a high priority for the Navy. In the long term, the role of missiles in naval warfare is likely to grow substantially from today’s use of a small number of long-range cruise missiles and air-defense missiles to reliance on ship-based missiles for high-volume strike and close-support missions. If it does, continuing to rearm one cell at a time will not suffice. More efficient means of resupplying ships and of loading launchers will be needed. The Navy should start now to outline concepts for the design of both combatants and logistic ships that will enable rapid resupply of large quantities of missiles. Delivering Warfighter-Ready Stores The emphasis in under-way replenishment is on rapid transfer of materiel from the combat logistic ship to the combatant. Once that transfer occurs, the combatant too often is left with pallets or cargo nets of stores dumped on its decks. Moving the materiel below into storerooms where it can be properly identified and located may take days, and the materiel is generally not available for use until this takes place. The strikedown and stowage process on board the combatant could be greatly speeded if materiel arrived on deck packaged, labeled, and sequenced for rapid stowage. In the commercial retail industry, items no longer are delivered in bulk to storerooms where the retailer unpackages and price-labels them before putting them on display shelves or racks. Instead, stores demand that vendors deliver goods in shelf-ready, or rack-ready, condition, so they can be moved directly from delivery trucks, often by the vendor, to the sales floor. The Navy could be doing the same for shipments to its warships—providing supplies that are warfighter ready. Resupply points and replenishment ships could have in computer databases information about the configuration of each ship and about its storerooms, strikedown routes, and locations of materiel on board. Shipments directly from a supply point to a combatant, which are frequently made to aircraft carriers, could be packaged and labeled expressly for the destination ship’s intended storage space. Items requisitioned from the logistic ship’s shopping list could be similarly packaged and labeled on board the logistic ship. All transfers from the combat logistic ship to the combatant would then be ordered in such a way as to permit the most efficient strikedown and stowage. Future logistic processes for providing materiel to forces at sea also should exploit the advantages that containers offer to storage, handling, and movement of materiel. Loading of combat logistic ships with munitions and supplies follows the pallet-by-pallet methods of break bulk carriers that are obsolete and vanishing from commercial trade. Commercial logistic operations are turning to intermodal

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force (truck, rail, and ship) shipping of containerized cargo for almost all goods except bulk commodities such as wheat and coal. Whereas pallets hold 1 to 2 tons of materiel, offer poor access to individual items without breaking open the package, and provide little control of items afterward, an international standard 20-foot sea container holds 12 to 15 tons and, if properly configured and labeled, can provide ready access to its contents while retaining protected and secure storage. Today’s naval logistic system uses efficient, commercial, intermodal transport capabilities only as far as a port. There, supplies are broken out of containers, loaded as break bulk cargo onto combat logistic ships, and eventually transferred to combatants. Although transferring standard, commercial containers (8 feet × 8 feet × 20 feet) at sea and handling them on board combatants may be unrealistic, a logistic system that exploits commercial practices to the maximum extent possible would have great advantages in the efficient support of forces. For example, the Navy could move containerized materiel onto combat logistic ships, and then break out supplies into smaller shipments for transfer to combatants. The containers could then serve as “virtual” depots. Instead of being stuffed to maximize the use of volume, they could be configured internally as accessible storage, perhaps opening on the sides for access. They would then serve as on-board storerooms. Design of Next-Generation Dry-Cargo Shuttle Ships The ammunition and stores ships the Navy now uses for shuttling supplies from CONUS and overseas supply points to battle groups at sea will be reaching the end of their normal 35-where lifetimes early in the next century (Table 2.2). The Navy is starting to examine alternatives for the next generation of shuttle ships. The time is opportune to look beyond the design of a logistic ship to redesigning the entire process of supporting ships at sea, with a view to reducing manpower requirements and to exploiting technologies that will be available in the next decade. The following technologies in particular should be addressed: TABLE 2.2 Combat Logistic Force Ships   Number of Active Ships Average Age (Years) Ammunition ships (AE and TAE) 7 26 Stores ships (AFS and TAFS) 8 30 Oilers (AO and TAO) 16 8 Fast combat support ships (AOE) 7 16

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force Telecommunications and computing technologies for planning, tracking, and controlling materiel movements; Modeling and simulation for operational decision support; Automatic identification technology for marking and locating items; Automated stowage planning for both logistic ships and combatants; Automated on-board materiel handling; Packaging, both for warfighter-ready distribution and for minimization of waste materials; and Use of intermodal containers (containers that can be transported efficiently by truck, rail, ship, and in some cases, air). SUPPORTING OPERATIONAL MANEUVER FROM THE SEA The Marine Corps must be prepared for a broad range of military operations. Amphibious assault, however, is the prime high-risk mission for which Marines are uniquely trained and equipped. Deploying from amphibious warfare ships in helicopters, air-cushion landing craft, or amphibious assault vehicles, the Navy can position marines to land on hostile shores and conduct military operations in virtually any littoral area in the world. Marine air-ground task forces, tailored to the mission, offer U.S. theater commanders the potent and flexible capabilities of combined land, sea, and air power. Because amphibious operations start by moving forces and supplies from ship to shore under trying and often hostile conditions, these operations are always difficult to support logistically. As the Marine Corps moves toward its concept of Operational Maneuver From the Sea, conventional logistic capabilities will be stretched to their limits and, in many cases, will fall short of providing the support demanded by combat operations. Technology must play a role in creating new logistic capability. Thus, it is on logistical support of Operational Maneuver From the Sea that the panel concentrates (Figure 2.2). Logistical Implications of Operational Maneuver From the Sea As the Marine Corps defines its concept for Operational Maneuver From the Sea and the types of equipme8t and forces it will employ, logistic needs will change dramatically from today’s.1 Current sustainment requirements for two notional Marine Corps forces are shown in Table 2.3. The experiments that the Marine Corps is conducting with new tactics (e.g., Sea Dragon) have at their very core substantial reductions in the sizes and types of units placed ashore. By 1   The logistic implications of Operational Maneuver From the Sea were explored in the Naval Studies Board report The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1996.

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force FIGURE 2.2 Operational Maneuver From the Sea. keeping as much command and control, fire support, aviation, medical services, and logistics at sea for as long as possible, shore operations and the need for logistical support will be reduced primarily to that of combat maneuver units. The large cantonment areas, airfields, fuel and ammunition storage areas, hospitals, headquarters, and other support facilities will not be needed ashore, nor will the communications, transportation, protection, and other services that large populations of support personnel require. Thus, by not putting support functions ashore, the logistic workloads associated with supporting them there will be avoided, which will reduce the logistic “footprint.” Equipment design also will play an important role in determining future support requirements. The Marines will look to technology to provide combat equipment that is much easier to transport and much more reliable and maintainable than today’s. They will strive to exploit the airlift capabilities of the Osprey (MV-22) tilt-rotor aircraft and the heavy-lift helicopter (CH-53 or its successor), the landing craft, air-cushioned (LCAC), and the advanced amphibious assault vehicle (AAAV) to move and support Marine Corps units ashore. Having equipment such as combat vehicles, artillery, and material handling equipment that can be moved readily by these two aircraft and by the LCAC will be essential to effective operations. Yet, even if the quantities are smaller, supporting Operational Maneuver

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force TABLE 2.3 Amphibious Force Sustainment Requirements (short tons per day) Class of Supply Marine Expeditionary Unit (short tons/day) Marine Expeditionary Brigade (short tons/day) Subsistence 42.3 375.1 General supplies 39.2 235.2 Petroleum oils and lubricants 8.8 56.9 Barrier materials and bulky supplies 0.4 3.8 Ammunition 187.4 562.1 Major items 18.1 72.4 Medical 17.2 58.5 Spares and repair parts 21.6 121.0 Total 335.0 1,485.0 SOURCE: Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. These planning factors areunder revision. New sustainment requirements will probably be lowerthan those shown here. From the Sea will require some major changes in the way logistic operations are performed. The Navy and Marine Corps must learn to perform at sea the logistic functions traditionally performed in the beach support area. For example, one of the purposes of the beach support area has been to receive and store bulk shipments of supplies, then break them out for distribution. The Navy has only limited at-sea capability to provide this essential distribution function for sizable Marine Corps operations. Logistic bases ashore, if any, may be primarily for fuel and munitions and may be temporary—that is, relocated frequently to better support combat operations and present only fleeting targets to the enemy. Combat units may be widely dispersed, making traditional support operations infeasible. Logisticians will have to think in terms of mobile supply points that rendezvous with combat units, rather than of traditional logistic bases and main supply routes. With ships operating offshore and combat units well inland, supply lines, both over water and over land, will be longer as shown in Figure 2.2. Land routes may offer the greatest challenge because land lines of communication may be securable only temporarily, if at all. Meeting the logistic challenges of Operational Maneuver From the Sea requires thinking through the entire process of supporting amphibious operations—what has to be done and how it might be accomplished. The Marine Corps has indeed begun to assess the logistic requirements and implications of OMFTS. For example, the recent Hunter Warrior series of experiments, in part, examined some of these issues, as did the Naval Studies Board in its recent study on

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force regional conflict in the next century.2 Although it may be too early in the development of the concept to be precise, it is clear that new capabilities will be needed in at least three key areas: (1) logistic command, control, and communications; (2) sea-basing of platforms; and (3) ship-to-unit transport of supplies. These key areas are discussed in turn in the following sections. Logistic Command, Control, and Communications Logistic operations in the fast-changing, mobile warfare environment envisioned by Operational Maneuver From the Sea will have to be thoroughly but rapidly planned, tightly controlled, and precise in delivering the support required when and where it is needed. Data, communications, and automated decision-support aids will be the lifeline of logistic operations. Logistic commanders and staffs will require timely information on the tactical and logistic situations, the location and status of logistic assets, and the implications of current and alternative courses of action. They will need much of the same information about friendly and enemy forces that operations staffs have—maps, disposition of friendly and enemy forces, weather data, and operations plans. In addition, they will need data on the location and condition of roads, rail lines, ports, and storage areas. Finally, they will require complete information about logistic assets—for example, location and condition of supplies, status of en route shipments, and location and status of transportation and materiel handling equipment. Technologies for automatic identification and tracking of shipments; for monitoring truck and materiel handling equipment performance; for automatically reporting expenditure by supported units of ammunition, fuel, and other supplies; and for monitoring logistic processes—all of these will have direct application. Logisticians will also need the means to use effectively the vast amounts of data available to them. They will have to develop the knowledge-based decision aids—models, simulations, and algorithms —that will enable early recognition and anticipation of logistic requirements; identification, assessment, and selection of alternative courses of action; and monitoring of the status, progress, and performance of logistics. Creating these tools will require both new technology and attention to the decision rules that define how logistic processes will work. Long-range, secure, assured communications for command and control of logistic operations and for exchange of logistic data will be essential. Today’s logistic operations at the tactical level are conducted primarily via voice radio. Tomorrow’s logistic operations will depend on a steady stream of digital data updating files on unit locations, supply status, equipment performance, parts 2   Naval Studies Board. 1996. The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional onflict in the 21st Century, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force availability, shipments, and the myriad of other details necessary to coordinate logistic activities. To meet the needs of Operational Maneuver From the Sea, logistics will require the same high priority for communications traditionally reserved for operational and intelligence traffic. Ensuring that the databases and communications networks are free from penetration and contamination also will be as essential for logistic data as it is for operational and intelligence data. Sea-basing of Platforms If logistical support of forces ashore is to be based at sea, the Navy and Marine Corps must be able to perform—25 to 50 miles at sea and in large enough volume—the maintenance and materiel distribution functions now performed ashore. These include receipt, repair, storage, breakout, packaging, and shipment—the basic logistic functions. The size of the sea-basing requirement will depend on the size of the force being supported and on the duration of sea-based support. Today, naval forces can support special operations teams from their amphibious warfare ship sea base almost indefinitely, although most missions are of short duration. Since an amphibious ready group normally has on board 15 days’ worth of supplies for its embarked Marine Corps expeditionary unit (a 2,000-marine air-ground team consisting of a composite air squadron and a reinforced ground battalion), it probably could support such a unit for some time without a beach support area, but for just how long is uncertain. The ships are not normally loaded with long-term maintenance and sustainment operations in mind. In any case, supporting a large force for an extended period—for example, a brigade for 30 days—is clearly beyond current capability. Several alternatives seem worth exploring: New-design amphibious warfare ship. Amphibious warfare ships are basically logistic ships designed for transporting and disembarking Marine Corps units. They have good offloading capability in their well decks and helicopter decks. They have good command, control, and communications for both the Navy and the Marine Corps. Once the Marine Corps units are disembarked, the support ships have considerable unused space. What they lack for the sea-basing function is the storage and materiel handling capability needed to sustain a sizable operation. A new-design amphibious warfare ship may be able to accommodate both the current amphibious landing role and the sea-basing sustainment role. Amphibious warfare ship paired with a combat logistic ship. A combat logistic ship has the storage and materiel handling capabilities that today’s amphibious warfare ships lack. It is a seagoing supply depot. It can transfer fuel and cargo to other ships at rates sufficient to support operations of a battalion-sized unit. However, it lacks the amphibious warfare ship’s well deck for discharging cargo via lighter and sufficient flight deck capacity for sustained heavy-lift heli

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force copter operations. By pairing the two types of ship, the unique capabilities of each could be exploited. The combat logistic ship could perform the essential storage, breakout, and packaging of materiel and then transfer it to the amphibious warfare ship for movement to Marine Corps units. Although the loads that the combat logistic ships now carry are not tailored to marines’ needs, these loads could be adjusted. However, cargo would have to be handled twice, once on the logistic ship and again on the amphibious warfare ship. Amphibious warfare ship paired with a maritime prepositioning ship. This is a variation on the previous concept. Its advantage is that the maritime prepositioning ship is dedicated to carrying Marine Corps equipment and supplies. However, right now, these ships are not configured for under-way replenishment operations. For instance, materiel is not stored to permit selective offloading; the ships are of the roll-on and roll-off design, better suited to deploying forces than to sustainment operations; and they lack the crew needed for materiel handling and distribution. All of these could be changed if the Marines want these ships to perform the dual missions of prepositioning and sea-basing. Because leases for the current maritime prepositioning ships expire in 2010, now is a good time to explore options for the ships’ use and design. Sea-based support ship. A new ship class specifically for the sea-basing mission could be designed. Figure 2.3 depicts a concept for a ship having the principal features desired for sea-basing, that is, automated container handling, stowage, and retrieval; workspace for breaking out and repackaging; hangar space for maintaining aircraft or other equipment; heavy-lift helicopters; well-deck for lighters or air-cushion vehicles; and an unobstructed 900-foot flight deck. Also included in the concept by its originator was a new-design, fixed-wing, container-carrying aircraft. The sea-based support ship would be a large ship, designed for storing and distributing supplies in large quantities. Additionally, it would contain the necessary communications and computer capacity to provide a logistic operations center. FIGURE 2.3 Sea-based support ship. SOURCE: AGRILOG, Inc. 1995. Marine Corps Logistics “2010,” prepared for Naval Facilities Engineering Center, December 1.

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force Mobile offshore base. From time to time, proposals have been made to adapt the technology of offshore oil-drilling platforms to the construction of platforms that could serve as offshore bases for military operations. Several different concepts exist. They share the notion of connecting a half-dozen or more very large, semisubmersible modules to form a mobile floating airfield long enough to handle military transport aircraft (5,000 feet for a C-17). The size and construction of the modules would make them very stable in the roughest seas. They would have cranes and ramps for unloading merchant ships and for transferring loads to shallow-draft lighters. Their spaces could be used for fuel and cargo storage, materiel handling, maintenance, billeting, and other support activities. Tests indicate that although they are not as mobile as ships, the modules could be self-deployable. Technical unknowns, however, still have to be resolved. Platforms of this size never have been constructed. The largest drilling platform now in existence, the Gorilla V, is one-half to two-thirds the size of a single module and is of a jack-up design, not a semisubmersible. Also, such large floating objects have never been linked together. Furthermore, wargames indicate that a mobile offshore base might present an inviting target for early enemy attack. Nevertheless, if such a floating platform proves technically feasible for a reasonable cost, it could provide the Marines an excellent sea-basing capability, especially for humanitarian relief, peacekeeping, and operations other than war. It could serve the combined purposes of maritime prepositioning, offshore staging, and sea-based sustainment of Marine Corps operations. Selection of the best alternative for a sea-based platform is not possible without definition of Marine Corps operational requirements, careful assessment of the current limits on supporting units from amphibious warfare ships, conceptual designs of ship options, and analyses of the cost-effectiveness of alternatives. The panel believes that because of cost and mobility considerations, a new ship design is likely to serve the needs of naval forces better than a mobile offshore base. Further, a multipurpose ship design, combining the features of a prepositioning ship, a sea-based support ship, or possibly an amphibious warfare ship, is likely to be the better choice. In any case, the Navy and Marine Corps should define future sea-basing and maritime prepositioning needs and should start exploring ship designs that will satisfy these needs. Ship-to-Unit Transport Operational Maneuver From the Sea will extend the distances between deployed units and their sea base of logistic support. Support of widely dispersed units well inland, without secure land lines of communication, will place a heavy logistic workload on air transport and high priority on protecting air lines of communication from enemy and aircraft fires. A large proportion of aircraft

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force sorties will be allocated to resupply missions. The heavy-lift helicopter (CH-53 or its follow-on) will likely be the workhorse. Although the CH-53’s payload is ample for the purpose when operating over short ranges under ideal conditions, some upgrade will be needed to provide adequate payload capability over longer distances and in a broader range of operating conditions.3 The tilt-rotor aircraft now under development (MV-22 Osprey) will probably be needed often for logistic missions. Precision airdrop and unmanned air delivery vehicles could complement vertical-lift capabilities. Because the range-payload characteristics of helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft will not be adequate, eventually a new-design very-short-takeoff-and-landing tactical transport aircraft is likely to be needed to span the distances modern warfare creates between logistic bases and maneuvering combat units. Although the concept of Operational Maneuver From the Sea would have no beach support area as now practiced, moving all supplies from ships 25 or more miles offshore directly to units well inland may not always be necessary or possible. Using efficient watercraft transportation to establish small, perhaps temporary, resupply points along the shore could greatly reduce the burden on air transport. With ships 25 or more miles off the coast, however, the 12-knot utility craft (LCU 1600) now carried with amphibious ships will be of only limited utility. The ship-to-beach transport burden will fall on LCACs, which, with their 60-ton payloads and 25- to 40-knot speed, are very capable. However, an LCAC is expensive to operate ($3,000 per hour), and its aluminum construction makes it somewhat vulnerable to damage. A relatively inexpensive, durable, high-speed lighter would be a valuable complement to air-cushion vehicles. Figure 2.4 shows such a craft, a sea sled, which would fit two abreast in the well-decks of amphibious warfare ships, carry a payload of nearly 200 tons, and maintain a speed of 30 knots with full load and 40 to 45 knots empty. Fuel and water pose the toughest transport problems. When distances exceed the length of a hose or of a rapidly installed pipeline, as they will under Operational Maneuver From the Sea, new means must be devised for both ship-to-shore transfer and distribution to units. One approach might be to use large bladders on board air-cushion vehicles or lighters as mobile supply points to rendezvous along the coast with tanker-design helicopters or combat logistic vehicles that would distribute the liquids to maneuver units inland. Such a concept would use the efficient water transport at least as far as possible, shortening the transport leg that must be accomplished by air or ground vehicle. 3   The CH-53 has a maximum payload of 32,000 pounds over an operating radius of 50 nautical miles at sea and 90°F. The maximum payload decreases with range, although it is capable of inflight refueling.

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force FIGURE 2.4 Sea sled. SOURCE: Adapted from John K. Roper and Daniel Savitsky. 1982. “Conceptual Study of Simplified Landing Craft for Amphibious Vehicles (Summary Report),” Technical Report No. SIT-DL-82-9-2314, Davidson Laboratory, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N.J. CONDUCTING LOGISTICS OVER THE SHORE Although much attention is given to supporting the assault echelon of an amphibious landing, most logistic operations in support of the Marine Corps are likely to be conducted under relatively benign conditions. That is, the offloading of equipment and supplies from ships will not occur in the face of strong enemy opposition (although raids, saboteurs, and occasional missile attacks might not be ruled out). The maritime prepositioned equipment and the assault follow-on echelon are transported in merchant ships that require a secure environment for unloading. When possible, unopposed landings will take place at established ports, using commercial port facilities. In much of the world, however, port facilities are inadequate to handle the rapid influx of a large U.S. military force. Even where good facilities may have once existed, at the time of the landing they may have deteriorated or been too heavily damaged to meet military offloading requirements. In such situations, ships are unloaded onto lighters or rapidly assembled causeways for movement of cargo ashore. These operations are termed “logistics over the shore.” Logistics over the shore is conducted over unimproved shorelines or through fixed ports that are either inaccessible to deep-draft shipping or inadequate to handle the required throughput. The operations are conducted as close to shore as possible, preferably in a protected harbor. In-stream operations are typically 1 to 3 miles offshore. Greater distances increase lighterage transit time, thereby decreasing daily offload capacity, and also increase vulnerability to adverse sea state conditions.

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force Both the Army and the Navy maintain logistics-over-the-shore capabilities, although with somewhat different emphases. The Army, with its focus on theater waterborne logistic support and coastal transportation operations, relies primarily on the logistic support vessel (LSV) and the LCU-2000 utility landing craft. The Navy, with its focus on support of amphibious operations, relies primarily on floating and elevated causeway systems. Both Services maintain a variety of tugs, floating cranes, barges, and other floating craft to perform such critical functions as docking sealift ships, performing heavy lifts, clearing channels, and discharging petroleum. The capabilities of both are needed to meet joint requirements for major contingencies. The major shortcoming of today’s capabilities for conducting logistics over the shore is that they are severely limited by adverse weather or rough seas. Sea state 3 conditions bring offloading to a halt, and such conditions (or worse) prevail almost half the time in many areas of the world where future military operations may be conducted. In Korea, for example, sea state 3 or greater prevails 43 percent of the time in summer and 63 percent in winter. A number of developing technologies aim to overcome this environmental limitation. Stabilized cranes are being designed to move cargo safely from ships to lighters. Improved, modular causeways with higher freeboard are being developed to permit transport of equipment and cargo in rough seas. Roll-on and roll-off discharge facilities are being developed to enable efficient offloading of roll-on and roll-off ships. Experiments with rapidly installed sea barriers seek ways to dampen waves in the immediate area of unloading operations. Concepts for portable ports seek to develop means for quickly constructing piers that would enable ships to offload without using lighterage. Development of sea state 3 logistics-over-the-shore capabilities should remain a high priority. Even with the emphasis that the Marine Corps is placing on supporting its operations from the sea, the ability to conduct over-the-shore operations efficiently will remain critical to the rapid buildup of combat power ashore and the rapid withdrawal of forces for commitment elsewhere.