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Joint Modular Lighter System (JMLS)
Amphibious Cargo Beaching Lighter

The Commander in Chiefs (CINCs) require a sea state three (SS3), service-interoperable Logistics Over the Shore (LOTS) and Joint LOTS (JLOTS) capability to support expeditionary and theater sustainment logistics when ports are degraded or unavailable. Since SS3 conditions exist greater than 50% of the time in some critical areas of operation, failure to operate in SS3 may be a war stopper for these CINCs.

Both the Navy Lightered (NL) and the Army Modular Causeway Section (MCS) systems are sea state limited, with performance degrading rapidly as conditions advance through sea state two (SS2). Both systems are also limited in their transport options to the LOTS site. The size of the NL system makes it difficult to transport aboard other than specialized shipping assets. Though the Army's MCS can be transported unassembled aboard standard commercial containerships, assembly on site is time, labor, and equipment intensive, and limited to calm water conditions.

NL and MCS limited deck space is a concern. Large items such as 20 foot cargo boxes leave little room for personnel movement on the deck of the causeway section, thus increasing the risk of personnel injury or loss during rough sea operations. Some user interest in the addition of guardrails or handrails was expressed. However, this was tempered by concerns of durability and added maintenance

Documents relating to the cargo carrying capabilities of transport vessels indicate that five ship types are capable of transporting causeway sections. These include breakbulk vessels, containerships, barge carriers, RO/RO ships, and special mission/support vessels. The ISO compatibility of the MCS makes it possible to store dismantled sections within the holds of cargo vessels as ISO containers. The NL sections, on the other hand, are too large to store in the holds of cargo vessels. Therefore, they must be transported on the decks or hatch covers of cargo vessels, or lashed to the sides of the vessels.

Because cargo vessels contain a greater amount of hold space than extra deck space, far more MCS sections can be loaded onto a cargo vessel than NL sections. However, when loading either of these causeway sections, weight limits are reached before space becomes a problem. The obvious size problem of the NL, and the weight restrictions associated with transporting both the NL and MCS, underscore the need for a design which features ISO-compatible modularity and a better size to weight ratio. A lighter, modular system would allow a greater number of sections to be shipped in each cargo vessel or the same number of sections could be shipped with corresponding savings in fuel. A lighter, modular system would also ease wear-and-tear on handling equipment.

NL sections are assembled once and never disassembled. They are transported as whole causeway sections to the operational area. NL causeway users were pleased with the rapid deployment of the NL causeway. MCS users envied the greater convenience of NL deployment.

Joint Modular Lighter System (JMLS) History

The Joint (Army and Navy) Modular Lighterage System (JMLS) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program took place from 1997 through 2000. The JMLS was to provide configurable platforms to move supplies and equipment from ship to ship and from ship to shore. The Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program tested and analyzed the JMLS platforms and concluded the JMLS would not meet Navy "logistics-over-theshore" requirements. In August 2001, the Army decided to withdraw from the program. NAVFAC investigated improvements to the JMLS, and starting in September 2002, proceeded under the Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) name.

The Maritime Prepositioning Force is the foundation of the Navy's prepositioned assets. Three squadrons of Maritime Prepositioning Ships (MPS) are forward deployed in support of Commander, Pacific Command, Commander, Central Command and Commander, European Command. Each squadron is able to provide 30 days of over-the-shore support to a Marine Air-Ground Task Force or Brigade equivalent. Causeway/ferry units (Naval Support Elements) are essential components of MPS squadrons since a developed/undamaged port facility may not always be available (or tactically located). The flexibility and comprehensive logistical support these ships provide is vital to the Marine Corps' ability to sustain a presence ashore in the early days of emergency/combat operations.

The Navy was the lead in the Joint Modular Lighter System (JMLS), which was pursued via a 1998 Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD). JMLS was a joint Army/Navy effort to demonstrate a sea state 3-capable lighterage for Joint Logistics Over-The-Shore (JLOTS) operations. It demonstrated a service-interoperable prototype causeway lighter system that can be safely assemble and operated (in a loaded condition) through sea state 3. This capability would permit the rapid planning, deployment, and execution of more responsive and efficient logistics support to JLOTS operations. JMLS would permit the Army and Navy to acquire a single lighterage system, thus producing savings from economies of scale production and reducing total life-cycle costs. US Joint Forces Command was the operational sponsor.

This system was procured according to new guidelines that require the acquisition to be performance-based (e.g., SS3-capable, ISO transportable, etc.). Performance Based Logistics (PBL): PBL is a product support strategy in which the logistics requirements are stated as expected results (outcomes), and wherein the responsibility and accountability of meeting these expectations fall on the Government, the designated Product Support Integrator (PSI), and their support provider(s). A PBL Contract: assigns the responsibility for all performance and outcomes to the PBL contractor.

On September 23, 1998 CDI Marine Co., Portsmouth, Va., was awarded a $7,567,000 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the advanced engineering development of a detailed design, prototype development, demonstration testing of and limited production (phase II) of joint modular lighter system (JMLS). This system provides a means of discharging cargo from strategic sealift ships and moving cargo to shore in the event a port is denied, degraded or not available. The JMLS is an advanced concept technology demonstration design approved for development by the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology and is intended for use by both the Navy and Army. The target-cost-plus-target-fee amounts not to exceed $20,588,344. Work will be performed in Baltimore, Md. (75%), Fairfax, Va. (9%), Portsmouth, Va. (9%), and Severna Park, Md. (7%), and is expected to be completed by December 1999. Contract funds will not expire by the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured on a best value basis using a phased approach. Phase I was competitively procured with 76 proposals solicited and seven offers received and award was made to three contractors. Phase II/III award is being made using a limited competition basis among the three phase I contractors. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, is the contracting activity (N47408-98-C-7519).

In 2000 the Joint Modular Lighter System (JMLS) program completed fabrication of powered and non-powered eight foot-wide modules and ancillary hardware and delivered hardware to Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek. The Contractor conducted test and demonstration (T&D) program including sea trials of powered subsystems. T&D program included technical testing of JMLS hardware, supported by Government furnished equipment. Technical testing addressed system performance and interface issues. Following completion of the contract, the government corrected reliability and safety discrepancies identified during T&D. Government conducted test and evaluation (T&E) program to obtain Army safety releases prior to military personnel operating the craft in Sea State 3 (SS3) and to support a military utility assessment scheduled for 2ndQ FY01. Safety releases were obtained for several subsystem capabilities. However, the Army and Navy decided to pursue fielding a wider 24-foot module instead of the current eight foot-wide module. By the end of the year JMLS commenced interim capability support period.

The Joint Modular Lighterage System (JMLS) was delivered to the Fleet in the summer of 2001. In 2001 the Joint Modular Lighter System concluded the interim capability support period to end the ACTD.

In August 2001, the Army decided to withdraw from the program. NAVFAC investigated improvements to the JMLS, and starting in September 2002, proceeded under the INLS name.

Joint Modular Lighter System (JMLS) Design

The Joint Modular Lighter System (JMLS) is comprised of powered and non-powered floating platforms. The platforms are assembled from International Organization of Standardization (ISO) container compatible interchangeable, modular components (modules) and other equipment. JMLS will be used to support Commander in Chief (CINC) Organization & Operations plans.

The purpose of JMLS is to provide the CINC a method of discharging dry cargo from Strategic Sealift Ships and moving cargo to shore in the event a port is denied, degraded or not available. JMLS permits dry cargo throughput through sea state 3 conditions. In addition, the system shall be fully interoperable with all Joint Logistics Over The Shore (JLOTS) equipment and have maximum flexibility to be adapted to multiple uses in support of Logistics Over The Shore (LOTS) and JLOTS operations. JMLS accommodates both Roll-On/Roll-Off (RO/RO) and Load-On/Load-Off (LO/LO) of rolling stock and cargo."

The Joint Modular Lighterage System (JMLS) enabled Barge Ferry operations in Sea State 3. The Joint Modular Lighterage System (JMLS) is used for transporting Roll-On/Roll-Off (RO/RO), Lift-On/Lift-Off (LO/LO) and break bulk cargo ashore from military/commercial ships instream. This system is being developed as a joint Army/Navy program. JMLS is intended to replace the Army?s existing Modular Causeway System (MCS). JMLS will be composed of powered and non-powered floating platforms or subsystems. The subsystems will be assembled from International Organization for Standardization (ISO) container compatible, interchangeable, modular components (modules) and other equipment. JMLS will be offloaded, assembled, operated, disassembled, retrieved and back loaded through Sea State 3 (SS3) (threshold) and Sea State 4 (SS4) (objective) conditions. The JMLS will be operated and maintained by soldiers in MOS 88K and 88L. Modular sections can be arranged to form subsystems of different configurations. This will allow commanders greater flexibility in determining the best method of discharge based on their operational situation.

There are five distinct subsystems: 1) Warping Tug (WT), 2) Causeway Ferry (CF), 3) Roll-On/Roll-Off Discharge Facility (RRDF), 4) Floating Causeway (FC) and 5) Air Cushion Vehicle Landing Platform (ACVLAP). The first four are common with the Modular Causeway Systems, while the Air Cushion Vehicle Landing Platform is new. The Army had no plans to procure any ACVLAP units, as it does not currently operate Air Cushion Vehicles.

The Warping Tug (WT) assembles, disassembles and installs other JMLS subsystems. The WT will be self-propelled and will push, pull, restrain and maneuver each fully assembled, fully loaded JMLS subsystem through SS4 conditions. The WT also will be used to emplace and retrieve anchors and will assist with surf zone salvage.

The Roll-On/Roll-Off Discharge Facility (RRDF) is a floating platform that will provide sufficient buoyancy and structural and deck strength to accept a RO/RO ship ramp loaded with two main battle tanks while simultaneously having rolling stock and personnel on the platform. The RRDF will provide an interface for simultaneous loading of two lighters (one CF and one LCU-2000 or LSV)(threshold) and three lighters (two CFs and one LCU-2000 or LSV)(objective).

The Causeway Ferry (CF) is self-propelled and capable of being moored to an RRDF or alongside a ship and receiving rolling stock and LO/LO cargo from commercial & strategic sealift ships anchored in-stream and then transporting the rolling stock/cargo to the shore. The CF will be capable of conducting unassisted beaching and retracting and drive off of rolling stock and offload of cargo using material handling equipment (MHE). Rolling stock will be able to drive on the stern and off of the bow (drive through capability).

The Floating Causeway (FC) provides a floating roadway that will extend from the shore (mean high water line), through the surf zone and seaward for a maximum of 1,500 feet. The FC will operate in the surf zone through surf index 9 as defined in the Joint Surf Manual (COMNAVSURFPAC / COMNAVSURFLANTINST 3840) and will withstand a tidal range of 8 feet (threshold) to 12 feet (objective). The FC will feature a variable length roadway. (The objective of this requirement is to accommodate assembly of the shortest roadway, which will still ensure a depth of 20 feet of water at the docking pierhead at mean low tide.)

The JMLS design incorporates physical and personnel safety factors that will minimize potential human error in the operation and maintenance of the system. There are no voids on the deck that would cause a trip hazard to personnel. Protruding hardware will be eliminated to the extent practicable or positioned out of the way of personnel and operations. Components subject to high temperature or that are energized electrically will be shielded and/or insulated to avoid hazards to operating and maintaining personnel. All moving parts (such as drive shafts) will be provided with a guard to protect personnel. A lighting system will be provided that will illuminate all working areas of JMLS. (For loading and unloading, nominal illumination will be 30 lumens at three feet above the deck. The nominal illumination on the FC roadway will be 7 lumens at four feet above the roadway.)

Institutional training will consist of familiarization training on the operations, maintenance and employment of JMLS. The training will be incorporated into existing courses for MOS 88K, MOS 88L, and will be conducted with the JMLS simulator. Operations training will include training on normal operations stability of the platforms, damage stability, securing cargo, loading and tiedown instructions, how to operate in a seaway, emergency operations and emergency field repair. Engineer training will include preventive and corrective maintenance, for the complete system, throughout all levels of maintenance. Training at the supervisory/leadership level will focus on JMLS capabilities and operations, and Doctrine, Tactics, and Techniques (DTT) and will be incorporated into the existing courses for MOS 880A, MOS 881A, and MOS 88A. Training for the RC, will follow the same POI as the AC TATS Courseware and should address monthly and annual training cycles. Affected MOS RC configured courseware will be modified to TATS Courseware format and will include JMLS training.

The JMLS trainer device would be used primarily for MOS 88K Watercraft Operator unit training with additional use in the Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course (BNCOC) and MOS 88K10 Watercraft Operator Advanced Individual Training (AIT) courses at the institution. The Materiel Developer shall procure and support the necessary range and quantity of JMLS trainer devices to support institutional and unit training. The simulator shall be capable of training pilot/coxswain tasks required to operate a JMLS warping tug and a full-sized, self-propelled JMLS causeway ferry alone or in conjunction with multiple warping tugs. The training device shall be capable of simulating various sea states, wind conditions, traffic patterns, etc., expected to affect the warping tug or causeway ferry in all operational scenarios. The Materiel Developer in conjunction with the Training Developer and Army Training Support Center shall evaluate if software and hardware changes to existing simulators may be an effective means to complement, supplement or partially satisfy JMLS trainer requirements. This effort will not negate the need for a system specific JMLS trainer.

The JMLS cam and ball connector failed. The cam and ball was a component of the JMLS connector, and the cam and ball required manual connection to activate the connection. When the Navy discontinued the JMLS program and initiated the INLS program, the Navy replaced the cam and ball configuration with a hydraulic system. The Navy replaced the cam and ball configuration because the operational requirements document required the INLS to be capable of meeting force projections and sustainment requirements in environments greater than "Sea State 2" for the movement of cargo to and from commercial and strategic sealift ships. The operational requirements document defined Sea State 2 as wave heights from 1.5 to 3 feet and wind speeds ranging from 5 to 12.6 knots.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 12:47:04 ZULU