Page 45: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (June 2015)
Annual World Yearbook
An aerial view of the future littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Gif- fords (LCS 10) during its launch sequence at the Austal USA ship- yard. The launch of the Gabrielle
Giffords marks an important pro- duction milestone for the littoral combat ship program.
U.S. Navy photo cause the T-AKEs provide ammunition, The Navy has stationed ten coastal midable combination. while underway. PUMA is a battery food, fuel, and other dry cargo at sea. patrol boats (PCs) in Bahrain to operate The 380-ton PCs have a small crew powered, man-portable, hand-launched
The 689-foot T-AKE has the most car- with the Fifth Fleet. The PCs are an old- (four of? cers and 25 enlisted); are fast unmanned aircraft system made by go capacity and the biggest ? ight deck of er and small platform, but are assuming a (they can achieve speeds of 35 knots), AeroVironment of Monrovia, Calif. any combat logistics ship. Three of the bigger role in maritime security. Today and well-armed for their size. The system not only provides better 14 T-AKEs will be assigned to the Mari- they carry out missions that might have The 25mm Bushmaster guns have situational awareness for the crews, es- time Prepositioning Ship squadrons. previously been carried out by an Oliver been replaced with the remotely oper- pecially when conducting a boarding,
They ships were built by General Dy- Hazard Perry-class frigate, or are not ap- ated small arms mount (ROSAM), a sta- but also for operational commanders namics NASSCO in San Diego, Calif. propriate for an Arleigh Burke guided bilized version of the Mk 38 25mm gun, ashore. Because PUMA is battery pow- missile destroyer. That doesn’t mean controlled from within the skin of the ered, the ships don’t have to store dan-
MLP the DDGs will not be deploying to the ship. There are also .50 caliber machine gerous aviation gasoline on board.
The Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) Arabian Gulf, because they still have a guns that can be mounted. And now the PCs also have a vital role closer to home. is based NASSCO’s existing commer- mission there well suited for a ship with PCs are being “upgunned” Grif? n mis- Three of them are now based at Mayport, cial design for the Alaska class crude oil its tremendous capabilities, such as bal- siles for use against small surface targets. Fla., and will be available for operations carrier. MLP has a huge deck low to the listic missile defense. In fact, the PCs The PCs can operate the RQ-20 PUMA in the U.S. Fourth Fleet area of operation water so when the ship ballasts down, and DDGs together are a useful and for- AE unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in support of U.S. Southern Command.
LCACs and other craft can come and do to carry vehicles and cargo ashore. The
MLP can connect alongside with ships like the JHSV and LMSR to discharge their cargos for transfer to connectors that can bring it ashore.
A Core Capabilities Set (CCS) pro- vides modules to support a vehicle stag- ing area, vehicle transfer ramp, neces- sary mooring fenders and vessel lanes for LCACs. The ? rst two MLPs, USNS
Montford Point (MLP 1) and USNS
John Glenn (MLP 2), with get the CCS.
The third, USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP 3), will be equipped as an A? oat For- ward Staging Base (AFSB) variant. The
AFSB role is currently being carried out by USS Ponce (AFSB (!) 15, which for- merly served as an amphibious transport.
Ponce supports MH-53E Sea Dragon mine-sweeping helicopters in the Arabi- an Gulf, as well as other patrol and mine- clearance assets. Ponce has a combined
Navy and Military Sealift Command ci- vilian mariner (CIVMAR) crew.
Once scheduled to be disposed for want of a mission, the smallest combat- ant in the U.S. ? eet has had a resurgence. www.marinelink.com 45
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