Combined Ops

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday Ship History: Behold the LMSR





Modern military logistics includes the need for large quantities of material and equipment to be delivered in a hurry and in operating condition. One solution to the problem of filling that need has been the use of the RoRo, or "Roll On- Roll Off" ships.

Anyone who has ever driven a car onto a ferry has seen the concept of RORO in action.

You drive on and you drive off. But modern military ROROs hold a little more than the average ferry. For example, a US Large, Medium Speed Roll on/Roll Off (LMSR) ships hold the following:
*Each LMSR can carry an entire U.S. Army Task Force, including 58 tanks, 48 other tracked vehicles, as well as more than 900 trucks and other wheeled vehicles.
* The LMSRs are each crewed by approximately 30 civilian mariners who work for private companies under contract to the Military Sealift Command.
* The ships support both combat and humanitarian missions.
* Bob Hope-class, Watson-class and Shughart-class ships each have a cargo-carrying capacity of more than 300,000 square feet, equivalent to more than five football fields.
* Each LMSR has a slewing stern ramp and a removable ramp that services two side ports, making it easy to drive vehicles on and off the ship.
* Interior ramps allow easy traffic flow between decks.
* Two single pedestal twin cranes which can jointly lift 110-tons make loading and off-loading possible where shoreside infrastructure is limited or nonexistent.
* A helicopter deck allows for emergency landings.
What's that give you when you need to apply force somewhere?
The eight LMSRs dedicated to prepositioning can carry enough ammunition, food, water, fuel, equipment and other supplies to sustain up to 20,000 troops of an Army 2x2 heavy armored brigade for up to 15 days. These ships preposition U.S. Army equipment and supplies principally in the Indian Ocean.
Of course, the LMSR is just part of the US Afloat Prepositioning Force that also includes the Maritime Prepositioning Ships (MPS) that provide the US Marines support as follows:
One squadron of MPF ships can provide all the equipment and supplies to support a U.S. Marine Expeditionary Brigade of about 15,000 personnel for 30 days. The ships are capable of off-loading at piers or offshore with special lighterage equipment. Each ship has roll-on/roll-off capability and a flight deck for helicopter operations.
In other words. given the airlift to get the troops in place, the US could put 35,000 Marines and soldiers in place and mission-equipped for extended operations in a hurry. The importance of this prepositioned capacity set out here.

Thought you might like to know.

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