CONREP Standard Tensioned Replenishment Alongside Method (STREAM)
Connected Replenishment (CONREP) is a way for Ships to replenish other Ships at sea of needed Supplies. This involves rigging a cable to the ship they are supplying and sending supplies over a ram-tensioned Wire system known as Standard Tensioned Replenishment Alongside Method (STREAM) using a system of pulleys to travel the Wire. In this method, the ship maintains a steady course and speed, while the receiving ship comes alongside at 80-200 feet. The replenishment ship can service two ships at a time, one on either side. Depending on the material to be transferred, the ships are connected together with wires which run through UNREP rigs where fuel hoses or trolley devices are passed. When fueling, the hoses are hooked up and fuel is pumped to the receiving ship. When transferring supplies, they are palletized and sent over to the receiving ship. The trolley is then returned to the replenishment ship for another load.
UNREP using the STREAM system is currently limited to approximately 5,700 lbs (~2.5 LT). During underway replenishment, a combat logistics ship pulls up alongside a US Navy ship and they cruise at 12-14 knots - nearly 15 miles per hour - approximately 180 feet apart. Lines are sent between the ships, then steel support cables are sent along the lines, tethering the logistics ship to its customer. Cargo moves between the ships along the steel cables. This transaction can take several hours, or in the case of aircraft carriers transferring ammunition, days to complete.
Current fueling-at-sea, or FAS, transfers generally make use of a standard 7" hose. However, hose size and the resulting pump rate can vary depending on the delivery and receiving ship. Current UNREP operations generally conduct fuel transfer at speeds of 12 to 16 knots and at a standoff distance of 150 to 180 feet. In addition, U.S. ships normally transfer fuel by STREAM rig, by spanwire rig, bye close-in rig, or by a spanline rig. The STREAM rig is generally preferred in UNREP operations because it allows greater ship separation.
Connected and vertical replenishments of explosive ordinance between ships at sea can be some of the most hazardous and cumbersome activities for Military Sealift Command mariners. But thanks to a new bomb pallet devised by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head, Earle, N.J., Detachment, these activities could be safer and easier. This new bomb pallet design is strapless and organized around A-frame packaging. The pallet also features built-in rigging rings. The new platform sandwiches ordnance between upper and lower frames with reusable rigid metal fasteners. This configuration eliminates the need for the throw-away steel strapping used on older pallets. It also helps reduce the amount of solid waste a ship must handle and dispose of while at sea. This new design could be implemented once the required funding is secured.
The rigging rings allow for direct connection to a universal sling during hoisting. The universal rings also reduce by half the varieties of slings necessary to vertically replenish bombs between ships. Sling reduction results in significant cost savings including fewer styles to procure, stow, inventory and inspect. Additionally, unlike the current package, the new pallet design places bombs in a position that aides in their final assembly aboard aircraft carriers. The result is increased speed and efficiency for aviation ordnancemen.
The current pallet design uses steel strapping that is discarded after one use. Saving money and cutting down on waste are two reasons why research on a better design began. The strapless bomb pallet would replace the current method for transporting and lifting bombs. The older pallet concept, which has been employed for more than 30 years, involves a two-piece adapter that is attached to the top and bottom of the ordnance to permit forklift handling and stowage. Several pieces of steel strapping are then used to hold the frames together, locking the bombs in between. The straps provide a secure way to package the bombs. The straps are not reusable, however. Also, when there is tension on the straps they can pose a safety hazard to the handler when they are released. Removing the steel straps and improving the lift rigging help ensure a safer work environment for MSC crew members and Navy Sailors alike. All of this equates to increased productivity, cost-savings and reduced potential for worker injury.
The Institute of Packaging Professionals named the design its 2002 Ameristar contest winner. The award automatically enters the bomb pallet into the World Packaging Organization's pre-eminent WorldStar Packaging Competition. Although the new pallet design has been successfully tested, by 2002 its developers were still working to find a sponsor for its implementation into the fleet."This design is the result of a two-year program to develop a safer and more cost-effective bomb pallet.
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