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Theater Logistics Vessel (TLV)

The lessons learned from the US Central Command (USCENTCOM) deployments to the Persian Gulf and Somalia indicated that Army watercraft could not deploy to the theater in the time needed. Most units did not arrive in theater combat ready. The personnel arrived often weeks before their equipment. Therefore, the Transportation Corps needed a vessel that could reposition men and their equipment in theater with speed and efficiency.

When Army Chief of Staff, General Shinseki, outlined his plan for Army Transformation, this became the Army Transportation Corps focus. CW4 Ray Aube, of Combined Army Support Command (CASCOM) at Fort Lee, VA, became the project officer for the Theater Logistics Vessel (TLV). In 1998, CW4 Aube began to talk with naval architects and read naval literature to determine what the state of the art in watercraft design was. He researched emerging trends in watercraft technology and considered the possible military applications.

Coincidentally, the military and commercial industry was independently looking at high-speed watercraft designs. The industry was rapidly moving in the development of this technology. The Europeans were looking at developments in mono-hull designs while the Australians experimented with the catamaran hull design. In 1998, Incat was building a catamaran where the dead weight was becoming equal to the ship? light-weight or the pounds of cargo was equal to each pound of the ship?s weight. This technology allowed the craft to attain higher speeds.

Aube then began to research and write his Operational Requirements Document (ORD) and completed the draft in 1999. The Department of the Army's Operational Requirements Document (ORD) for the Theater Logistics Vessel (TLV) was completed 13 December 1999. His boss, COL Robert Kubiszewski forwarded it and Headquarters, Department of the Army approved the draft ORD on 17 January 2000. With this document, the Department of the Army officially recognized the need for faster watercraft as a requirement.

The Theater Logistics Vessel (TLV) Operational Requirements Document (ORD) noted that current Army watercraft were not optimized to support Objective Force operational movement & maneuver. They are slow, lack passenger capability, no self-sustained capability; limited force protection capability.

In April 2000 the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM), Watercraft Systems Management Office (WSMO) sought information from interested sources toward a potential future procurement of a Theater Logistics Vessel (TLV). The TLV would be used for movement of rolling stock and containers. Lift-on/lift-off and roll-on/roll-off cargo operations are required. The TLV will be primarily used to support the offload of ships and for intra-theater movement of cargo. TLV must be able to self-deploy across the ocean loaded with material handling equipment (port opening package). It will use shallow ports and be able to unload and load at the beach.

The requirements are expressed in terms of threshold and objective. Threshold requirements are those that at a minimum, must be satisfied. Objective requirements are those which are desired, but exceed the required minimum or threshold. Information is desired on existing vessels that currently meet, or may be modified to meet, these requirements. However, the Army was also interested in designs and concepts, which could potentially meet these requirements.

COL Samuel M. Cannon, at TACOM, became a believer in this concept. While Aube had thought of limited troop movement, Cannon said, "Let's get ambitious and move lots of troops." Cannon established contact with the shipping industry to lease the Theater Logistics Vessel (TLV). He decided upon the catamaran design. After examining several designs, TACOM decided upon the high-speed, 96 meter wave piercing, sealift catamaran built in Tasmania by Bollinger/Incat L.L.C., an Australian company. In 2002 the program subsequently became the High Speed Vessel (HSV) Program. This was no longer a replacement for LSV. Rather, the focus was solely on intra-theater transport, with high speed upload and discharge.

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