T-AE 26 Kilauea
The Ammunition ships's mission is transport and deliver of bombs, bullets, missiles, mines, projectiles, powder, torpedoes, and various other explosive devices and incendiaries, as well as associated ordnance cargo to the various ships in the Fleet, while underway. This type of support is necessary in order to achieve and maintain the Navy's requirement for a high degree of logistical independence. These efforts enable the Navy to more effectively perform its functions of sea control and projection of power ashore. Their Secondary Mission involves providing limited quantities of fuel, water, and combat store products, in addition limited ship repair and maintenance services, as well as special project services. To get their job done they utilize (CH-46) SEA KNIGHT Helicopters for Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP), as well as the conventional Connected Replenishment (CONREP) abilities using seven CONREP Stations.
This modern class of auxiliary support ship has brought an increased capability to the Fleet for underway replenishment. With their advanced design replenishment facilities, they can more affectively accomplish the rapid transfer of ammunition and other cargo to Fleet units at sea. The ships replenish other Fleet units with bombs, bullets, missiles, mines, projectiles, powder, torpedoes, various other explosive devices and incendiaries, as well as associated ordnance cargo. Secondarily, they maintain a replenishment-at-sea capability for limited quantities of fuel, water, and combat stores. The ships also have facilities for limited ship repair and maintenance services, as well as special project services.
The ships conduct simultaneous vertical and underway replenishment in support of operating forces, providing ammunition from six stations (2 starboard and 4 port), stores, fleet freight, mail, personnel and other items from one station (either port or starboard), and conduct vertical replenishment providing ammunition, stores, fleet freight, mail, personnel, and other items from one helicopter platform with a detachment of two helicopters for periods normally not to exceed 32 hours per week. UNREP hours are L- considered to commence with the setting of flight quarters or with "first line over" and terminate with the securing of flight quarters or "last line clear" depending on which evolution begins/ends first.
The ships have four cargo holds, which break down into 14 magazines. A magazine is the level within the cargo hold, and is defined as a magazine due to the stowage of ammunition and the requisite fire detecting and fire fighting items found on each level. The four cargo holds are serviced by six high speed cargo weapons elevators. The ships have a certified helicopter flight deck and can handle any US military helo as well as most commercial and allied helicopters. There are 7 unrep cargo transfer stations and 1 fuel delivery station. The ships can receive fuel at sea from any of 4 stations. Flint is also self-sufficient in the loading and discharge of ammunition or cargo from the ship to a pier or barge. There are four cargo booms which allow shore or barge transfer.
Modern Underway Replenishment (UNREP) facilities include the capability to support and operate two assigned medium-lift "Sea Knight" Helicopters - the Navy's CH-46. This added dimension of logistic support capability allows for the Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) of ordnance cargo and combat stores. Fleet units requiring resupply inside, or even somewhat outside, the immediate horizon of the support ship can now be served by VERTREP utilizing these helicopters. They also maintain the capability for Connected Replenishment (CONREP). This can be accomplished simultaneously with VERTREP. There are seven CONREP stations - four stations to port and three to starboard. They can all be rigged for the Standard Tension Replenishment Alongside Method (STREAM) System. The STREAM System employs a specially designed trolley riding on a constant high-tension span wire. As dictated by the operational situation and resupply requirements, any or all of the station can be utilized concurrently. One ship can be replenished underway alongside to port, while another ship is being serviced alongside to starboard.
The ships are outfitted with a Fleet satellite communication system. In comparison to other systems, this modern and efficient system is less likely to suffer processing delays due to radio frequency interference or message traffic backlogs. Command and control directives and operation orders can be processed on a near real- time basis, as can logistic requirement requests from other Fleet units.
The ships are equipped with an automated propulsion system. This system permits personnel in the Pilot House to control the ship's speed directly, as the propulsion plant responds to their orders. The system also features a mode that allows personnel in the engineering operation station to light-off boilers and operate the propulsion plant by remote control. The ships have three oil-fired Foster Wheeler D-Type Boilers, each capable of full power of producing 87,900 pounds of steam-per-hour, at a pressure of 615 pounds-per-square-inch. The main propulsion plant consists of a high pressure steam turbine to a low-pressure steam turbine geared-drive combination which can develop up to 22,000 shaft horsepower. This drives a single shaft, with a six-bladed propeller, 20 feet in diameter. The ships have a speed capability in excess of twenty knots, which is enhanced by their bulbous bow, as is their sea-keeping ability in rough seas. This better enables her to keep pace with fast-moving Task Forces at sea.
USS BUTTE was christened and launched August 7, 1967 in Quincy, Massachusetts and commissioned December 14, 1968 in the Boston Naval Shipyard. She was fitted out in Boston and was moved to her homeport of Norfolk, Virginia in December 1969. In July 1978, her homeport was temporarily shifted to Brooklyn, New York where she underwent a major overhaul. In June 1979, her homeport then became Naval Weapons Station Earle, Leonardo, New Jersey. BUTTE underwent another major overhaul in Mobile, Alabama from August 1985 to May 1986 and a short Phased Maintenance refitting yard period from April 1988 to September 1988. Over the next eight months, USS BUTTE was very busy preparing for upcoming assignments, including a deployment to the Mediterranean in May 1989. She passed every inspection with flying colors and got underway on 31 May 1989 for a five and one-half month deployment.
USS BUTTE has serviced more than 900 ships and has made thirteen major deployments along with several short cruises for "shakedown and training." The first was in the Western Pacific from December 1972 to July 1973 where she operated in the Tonkin Gulf and was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal with one battle star. Twelve of BUTTE's deployments were to the SIXTH Fleet in the Mediterranean. During the 1970 Jordan crises, the ship was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation for her peacekeeping role in that operation. BUTTE was awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal for a 1981 Indian Ocean deployment which also took her to the Mediterranean. A 1983 deployment took BUTTE to the shores of Beirut, Lebanon where she was awarded a second Navy Expeditionary Medal for her support of U.S. Embassies overseas, including those in Beirut, Lebanon and Tunis, Tunisia. During a 1984-85 Mediterranean deployment, she was rated as best ship in Service Squadron Two and, in May 1985, was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E" in Engineering, Damage Control, Command Control and Communications, Navigation/Deck Seamanship and Fleet Support. USS BUTTE was a big part of "OPERATION GOLDENROD" during a 1987 Mediterranean deployment when she helped with the arrest of two Lebanese terrorists in international waters off the coast of Lebanon. For the period 1 October 1987 to 30 March 1988, BUTTE was again awarded the Battle "E" Efficiency Award, demonstrating outstanding performance in Deck Seamanship, Communications, and Navigation.
The Chief of Naval Operations in 1993 approved the transfer of eight Kilauea-class of ammunition ships to the Military Sealift Command (MSC). Putting former combatant-fleet ships under MSC's control saves millions of dollars each year per ship. USNS Kilauea was the first ship of the Kilauea class ammunition ship to be transferred to Military Sealift Command on 01 October 1980. USS Flint was decommissioned and turned over to MSC Pacific on 04 August 1995 to commence an extensive habitability conversion in at Norshipco, Norfolk, VA. As a United States Naval Ship (USNS), Flint is "in service", not commissioned. On March 24, 1997 USNS Flint (T-AE 32) commenced ammunition operations in the Pacific. Butte was transferred in June 1996, Kiska in August 1996 and Mount Baker in December 1996.
USS Shasta (AE 33) was transferred to the Military Sealift Command for further service to the Pacific Fleet on 01 August 1997. Shasta was commissioned on 22 February 1972 in Charleston,South Carolina and has been homeported in the San Francisco Bay area ever since. During her quarter century of service, Shasta provided carrier battle group support in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Viet Nam War and in the Arabian Gulf during the Gulf War. She was sailing with the Nimitz Battle Group in the Straits of Taiwan during the 1996 Taiwan elections that drew interest from the Chinese main land. In addition to these deployments Shasta sailed to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean on eleven other occasions.
USS Santa Barbara (TAE 28) - transfered to MSC operation on 30 September 1998. The final ship -- Mount Hood -- is apparently pending transfer. Ships undergo a civilian modification overhaul during which accommodations are improved, main armament taken out and ships outfitted for reduced crewing by MSC.
MSC operated four ammunition ships in fiscal year 1999, while three more ships continued modification to civil service mariner standards. USNS Mount Baker and USNS Kiska completed major modifications during fiscal year 1999 and began duty with the numbered fleets. The conversion of Navy Combat Logistics Force ammunition ships to MSC civil service mariner standards continued during 1999. The conversion contract for USNS Shasta was awarded to Norfolk Shipbuilding Corporation in Virginia. Shasta arrived at the yard in March. Modifications were scheduled to be complete in February 2000. USNS Butte and USNS Santa Barbara remained in reduced operating status [ROS-90] during fiscal year 1999, both drydocked at Baltimore Marine, Inc.
The five ships of the improved Kilauea-class were to be slightly larger, with gas-turbine propulsion.
The new Auxiliary Dry Cargo Carrier ADC(X) was planned to replace aging ammunition ships and dry cargo ships in the Navy's Combat Logistics Force (CLF), including the T-AE 26 Class ships in the 2007 timeframe. The Military Sealift Command acquired a new class of combat logistics ships, hull designator T-AKE, named the Lewis and Clark class. The T-AKE auxiliary dry cargo carrier acquisition program consisted of 14 ships with a budget of approximately $4 billion. The T-AKE replaced the T-AE 26-class of ammunition ships and the T-AFS 1 and 8-classes of combat stores ships. Also, when a T-AKE operated with a T-AO 187-class oiler, it can also replace the AOE 1-class fast combat stores ship.