Oct 21, 2014 18:12 UTC
Latest updates[?]: LPD-17 Flight II picked as the next LX(R) amphibious ships. But can the US Navy afford the price tag for "affordable" ships that cost 2-4x what other countries are paying for this capability?
LPD-17 San Antonio class amphibious assault support vessels are just entering service with the US Navy, and 11 ships of this class are eventually slated to replace up to 41 previous ships. Much like their smaller predecessors, their mission is to embark, transport, land, and support elements of a US Marine Corps Landing Force. The difference is found in these ships’ size, their cost, and the capabilities and technologies used to perform those missions. Among other additions, this new ship is designed to operate the Marines’ new MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, alongside the standard well decks for hovercraft and amphibious armored personnel carriers.
While its design incorporates notable advances, the number of serious issues encountered in this ship class have been much higher than usual, and more extensive. The New Orleans shipyard to which most of this contract was assigned appears to be part of the problem. Initial ships have been criticized, often, for sub-standard workmanship, and it took 2 1/2 years after the initial ship of class was delivered before any of them could be sent on an operational cruise. Whereupon the USS San Antonio promptly found itself laid up Bahrain, due to oil leaks. It hasn’t been the only ship of its class hurt by serious mechanical issues. Meanwhile, costs are almost twice the originally promised amounts, reaching over $1.6 billion per ship – 2 to 3 times as much as many foreign LPDs like the Rotterdam Class, and more than 10 times as much as Singapore’s 6,600 ton Endurance Class LPD. This article covers the LPD-17 San Antonio Class program, including its technologies, its problems, and ongoing contracts and events.
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Oct 13, 2014 15:00 UTC
Latest updates[?]: USS America commissioned as the 4th ship of its name.
Modern U.S. Navy Amphibious Assault Ships project power and maintain presence by serving as the cornerstone of the Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) / Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG). LHA/LHD are a key element of the Seapower 21 doctrine pillars of Sea Strike and Sea Basing, transporting, launching, and landing elements of the Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) via a combination of LCAC hovercraft, amphibious transports and vehicles, helicopters, and aircraft.
Designed to project power and maintain presence, LHA-Replacement (LHA-R, aka. LH-X, and now the New Amphibious Assault Ship or NAAS) large deck amphibious assault ships were slated to replace the US Navy’s 6 LHA-1 Tarawa Class vessels. They are based on the more modern LHD Wasp Class design, with the LHD’s landing craft and well deck removed in favor of more planes and hangar space. While its LHA/LHD predecessors were amphibious assault ships with a secondary aviation element, it’s fair to describe the America Class as escort carriers with a secondary amphibious assault role.
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Nov 18, 2013 14:21 UTC
You can live for weeks without food. A week without water will leave you dead, especially if you’re exerting yourself in unfriendly conditions. More bad news: water is heavy to carry, which means it takes a lot of resources to transport. There are all kinds of very clever single-soldier solutions for purifying water, but bases and outposts will need options that can scale and produce a steady supply. The US Marines are looking for expeditionary solutions, and TerraGroup’s TECWAR will be selling them some.
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Oct 06, 2011 14:01 UTC
What’s Plan B?
Small business qualifier Skill Metric Machine & Tool, Inc. in Delray Beach, FL recently received a 5-year, maximum $48.5 million, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for AM-2 metal matting accessory packages, in support of the Expeditionary Airfield program. Those packages contain items that help assemble, secure, and lock/stake the mats into place, so they can act as emergency airfields for USMC fighters, transports, etc. Work will be performed in Delray Beach, FL, and is expected to be complete in October 2016. $1.5 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured as an 8(a) small business set-aside competition via electronic request for proposals, and 1 offer was received by the US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ (N68335-12-D-0001).
This sounds boring, but it’s critical to the way the US Marines fight. Anywhere in the world, the Marine Corps can install 4,000 feet of AM-2 steel matting and begin operating its airpower. At the 2010 Battle of Marjah, for instance, the Marines expected a really difficult fight, and needed consistent close air support. All with limited aerial tanker support, and just 10 AV-8B Harrier jets based over 150 miles away, at Kandahar Airfield. That would mean too much flying back and forth, and not enough time over the battlefield. Instead, a 4,000 foot expeditionary airfield was built at FOB Dwyer, just 10 miles from the battle, as a forward arming and refueling point (FARP). Result? Just 30 minutes from departure to a fully-fueled return, and full close-support coverage thanks to a 4x aircraft sortie rate.