T-AKR 296 Gordon
Large, Medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships [LMSR]
Military Sealift Command's newest class of ships - Large, Medium-speed, Roll-on/Roll-off Ships, or LMSR - will significantly expand the nation's sealift capability in the 1990s and beyond. Nineteen LMSRs were converted or built at U.S. shipyards by the year 2001. The LMSRs will provide afloat prepositioning of an Army heavy brigade's equipment and a corps' combat support, as well as surge capability for lift of a heavy division's equipment from the United States. As wide and long as the FSS, the LMSRs carry almost twice the cargo because of the hull design and number of decks. Pedestal cranes and both side and stern ramps mean that the LMSR is ideally suited for undeveloped ports or logistics over the shore.
The need for additional military sealift ships was identified in a Congressionally-mandated study by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the early 1990s. The Mobility Requirements Study focused on Department of Defense transportation during the Persian Gulf War. It highlighted the urgent need for greater sealift capacity to transport military equipment and supplies during wartime and other national contingencies. In response to the sealift shortfall, an ambitious Strategic Sealift Acquisition Program was introduced. Plans called for adding 19 LMSRs which will provide five million square feet of capacity early in the next century.
The LMSR program currently has 19 ships, 5 of which will be conversions of existing commercial container vessels, and 14 of which will be newly constructed ships. All 19 ships use common cargo handling systems, procured by the Navy. LMSRs are being built by three contractors. A performance type procurement description was used, therefore specific ship configurations differ as the respective builders interpret the mission requirements.
During the initial Design Phase, the bidding shipyards conducted conceptual design studies in response to Navy-developed performance requirements and commercial standards. These concepts, along with additional design work by the Navy, were used to refine the performance requirements for use in the next phase of the program. In the Engineering Design Phase, five U.S. shipyards selected existing ships as conversion candidates and developed detailed proposals for their conversion into Large, Medium Speed RO/RO's (LMSR's) which met the refined requirements. At the end of this phase, two shipyards were authorized to proceed with the Detail Design and Conversion of five existing ships. Two ships were converted at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia. Three more ships were converted by National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO). These five roll-on/roll-off vessels are operated by Bay Ship Management, Inc. under US Navy Military Sealift Command charter, and are manned by US Merchant Marine personnel.
LMSRs can carry an entire U.S. Army Task Force, including 58 tanks, 48 other track vehicles, plus more than 900 trucks and other wheeled vehicles. The ship carries vehicles and equipment to support humanitarian missions, as well as combat missions. The new construction vessels have a cargo carrying capacity of more than 380,000 square feet, equivalent to almost eight football fields. In addition, LMSRs have a slewing stern ramp and a removable ramp which services two side ports making it easy to drive vehicles on and off the ship. Interior ramps between decks ease traffic flow once cargo is loaded aboard ship. Two 110-ton single pedestal twin cranes make it possible to load and unload cargo where shoreside infrastructure is limited or nonexistent. A commercial helicopter deck was added for emergency, daytime landing.
The LMSR ships are Large (950 feet long, 106 feet wide, 55,000 long ton displacement), Medium Speed (24 knots), Roll-on/Roll-off (RO/RO) vessels. The sealift ships will be capable of self-sustained RO/RO and Lift on/Lift off (LO/LO) operations at a pier and in a Logistics-Over-the Shore (LOTS) scenario through stern and side port ramps to a RO/RO Discharge Facility (RRDF). In addition, the LMSR will be capable of self-sustained LO/LO cargo operations in a LOTS scenario by interfacing with lighterage. The LMSR ships are not armed, and do not have a combat system. They do have C3I suite sufficient to perform their intended mission in conjunction with other Naval vessels.
Three cargo holds (Hold 1, Hold 2, and Hold 3) are located forward of the main machinery space, and on four cargo holds (Hold 1, Hold 2, Hold 3, and Hold 4) are located forward of the main machinery space and one cargo hold (Hold 5) is located aft of the main machinery space. Weathertight cargo hatches for Holds 2, 3, and 4 are located on 01 Deck (weather deck). The cargo hatchways for Holds 3 and 4 provide access to E Deck, while hatchways for Hold 2 provide access to D Deck. No hatch or hatchways are provided for LO/LO access to Holds 1 and 5. In addition, weather deck cargo space is available on the 02 Deck, aft of the cargo hold (Hold 4) is located aft of the main machinery space. Weathertight cargo hatches for Holds 1, 2, and 3 are located on A Deck (weather deck). The cargo hatchways provide access to the lowest cargo decks. No hatch or hatchways are provided for LO/LO access to Hold 4.
A day-only, visual-meteorological-conditions, emergency landing capability is provided through the helicopter landing facility located on the 02 Level, forward of the deckhouse. The facility is certified by the ABS and is in accordance with USCG NVIC 9-81. The helicopter landing facility has been configured to land CH-47D and CH-53E helicopters. When required, the helicopter landing facility may serve as a cargo stowage area. The helicopter landing facility is outfitted with foam hose reels fitted with non-collapsible hose and variable pattern nozzles and is capable of reaching all parts of the facility.
There are several fire extinguishing systems on the T-AKR 296 Class ships. These include fixed, high-pressure CO2 systems that protect the emergency diesel generator room, paint locker, incinerator room, pump room, and the bow thruster room; a fixed, refrigerated, low-pressure CO2 system that serves the main machinery space and auxiliary machine room number 2; a USCG-approved, 3-percent-foam system that serves the cargo stowage areas and main machinery space; foam hose reels for the helicopter landing facility; aqueous potassium carbonate systems for each deep fat fryer in the galley; and portable CO2 and dry powder extinguishing systems throughout the ship.
Although their official homeport is Norfolk, VA, the ships of Afloat Prepositioning Ships Squadron Four are always forward-deployed to the Persian Gulf and have no tie whatsoever to Virginia. The normal operational schedule for the ships is to be at anchor off Bahrain 75 percent of the time with some underway time in the Persian Gulf.
Eleven LMSRs, delivered by the end of FY 2001, are maintained in a 4-day Reduced Operating Status (ROS-4) as recommended by the OSD published Requirements Study (MRS) and the MRS Bottom-Up Review Update (MRS BURU). These ships provide the initial surge sealift Mobility Requirements Study (MRS) and the MRS Bottom-Up Review Update (MRS BURU). These ships provide the initial capacity required transport the lead combat forces from CONUS to a given area of operations and satisfy time critical warfighting surge sealift capacity required to transport the lead combat forces from CONUS to a given area of operations. The criteria for each readiness status was also specified in the MRS (i.e. Outporting, Sea/Dock Trials, critical warfighting requirements. The criteria for each readiness status was also specified in the MRS (i.e. Outporting, Maintenance). ROS-4 ships have a cadre crew assigned, outported at a layberth, and undergo annual sea trials, periodic dock Sea/Dock Trials, Maintenance). ROS-4 ships have a cadre crew assigned, outported at a layberth, and undergo annual sea trials, and required periodic regulatory drydockings/inspections.trials, periodic dock trials, and required periodic regulatory drydockings/inspections. Cost data incrementally increases as ships are delivered to the fleet and undergo an initial post delivery crew familarization/warranty maintenance period.
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