The military tries again to sell part of its underrated naval fleet


Almost two years ago, Congress called on the U.S. military to curb plans to dramatically reduce the size of its obscure and generally underrated fleets of amphibious landing ships, landing craft and a variety of other maritime assets, which are also referred to as “army navy”. This came after The war zone reported for the first time that the General Frank S. Besson USAV-class logistics support vessel SSGT Robert T. Kuroda was for sale, a listing that was quickly pulled from the General Services Administration auction website. Now a number of Army ships are available for purchase again, showing that the service is moving forward again with at least some of the previously planned divestitures.

A banner ad currently on the GSA Auctions website indicates that a total of nine Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM), eight Landing Craft Utility (LCU), four small tugs, one large tug and one crane barge, will be subject of an offer between July 7 and July 16, 2021. At the time of writing, all of these vessels are listed on the site.

The actual sizes of the Army’s various craft fleets are unclear, but as of 2018 it numbered 36 LCM Mk 8 (LCM-8), 34 LCU-2000, 16 small tugs, 8 large tugs, and two crane barges, spread over a number of active service units and so-called reserve units, as well as storage in stocks offered around the world in the event of an emergency. The reserve component includes the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. It is also not clear whether the vessels and barge for sale were now from active or reserve items.

While the overall size of the Army Navy remains largely the same, the 23 maritime assets that were put up for sale through GSA represent a much smaller portion of the total PWC fleet that the service had attempted to downsize in 2019, before the intervention of legislators. . One of its largest Logistics Support Vessels (LSVs), some of which were originally on the chopping block, is also missing from the auction listings, at least so far.

The army has eight LSVs, six of which are displacement vessels of around 4,200 tons which are similar in some respects to Land Ship Tank (LST) type vessels, a kind of amphibious warship that the US Navy no longer operates. The latter two of these ships are members of a separate and larger subclass with various additional features that give them greater operational range and improved performance on the high seas. You can read more about them in this past War zone history. It should also be noted that the Navy is now working with the Marine Corps on acquiring a new class of Light Amphibious Warships (LAWs), which are also closer to LSTs in general design and capabilities.

It is also important to note that the Army continues to move forward with plans to purchase a fleet of new Maneuver Support Vessels (Light) or MSV (L), which you can read in more detail here, to replace its LCM-8. The service’s most recent budget request for fiscal year 2022 calls for $ 76.6 million to purchase two MSV (L), which, if approved, would add to the funding he has already received to purchase a pair of these boats in the current tax cycle.

“The two LRIPs [Low-Rate Initial Production] vessels are required for production verification testing (PVT), reliability, availability and maintainability (RAM) testing and operational testing, ”according to official budget documents. The military has said in the past that it wants to purchase 36 MSV (L), in total, to replace all of its LCM-8s on a one-to-one basis. As a result, the surrender of nine Vietnam War LCM-8s, at least, may not have an impact on the overall size of the Army Navy.

The Army’s proposed budget for FY2022 also includes $ 44.4 million for various other boat-related activities, the bulk of which would go towards extending the life of one LCU-2000 and four Modular Pavements (MCS), the latter being used to help move the vehicles and other equipment of larger ships ashore in the absence of traditional port facilities. This funding would continue years of efforts to extend the life of the service’s LCU-2000 fleet and its MCSs.

The military’s efforts to ensure service relevance in future high-end conflicts, particularly in the Pacific against China, appear to be a major factor in revising its watercraft plans. The Trump administration’s national defense strategy, which was released in 2018, placed a renewed emphasis on preparing for so-called “great power competition” with close adversaries, such as China and Russia.

“The military has decided to suspend the transformation of personal watercraft while we assess the overall requirements for personal watercraft necessary to support the national defense strategy,” said a spokesperson for the service. The war zone in August 2019. “The initial analysis identified excess capacity beyond existing requirements.”

The sections of the budget proposed by the service for fiscal year 2022 for future MSV (L), as well as the maintenance of its various existing fleets, refer to “Multi-domain operations” (MDO) and “Joint operations on all domains ”(JADO). The MDO is the military component of the larger US Army-wide JADO concept.

When it comes to the military, in its most basic form, “the [MDO/JADO] The concept describes how the US ground forces, as members of the joint and multinational team, deter adversaries and defeat enemies close to their highly capable peers in the period 2025-2050 ”, according to the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Finally, conflicts spread across a large part of the Pacific, potentially against China, have been a key objective of the MDO within the military and the JADO throughout the US military.

“Army Personal Watercraft Systems (AWS) provide … [an] possibility to access several entry points via the coasts and inland waterways (river corridor) IOT [in order to] keep the forces in an anti-access / denial of area (A2 / AD) bubble, ”explains the army’s budget request for fiscal year 2022.

This month, one of the Army’s LSVs, USAV Lieutenant-General William B. Bunker, helped move elements of the I Corps of service from the unit’s home base to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Wash. some 5,600 miles across the Pacific to Guam as part of Exercise Forager 21. This exercise “is designed to test and refine the Theater Army and Corps ability to deploy ground forces in the Pacific, to execute command and control, and to effectively conduct multi- areas across Oceania, ”according to the Army.“ Through innovation and experimentation during Forager, the Theater Army is finding new ways to use the Army’s personal watercraft systems to increase commander’s logistical options and present new dilemmas to adversaries. “

So while you can jump on GSA auctions right now and place a bid for a variety of Army landing craft and tugboats, or that crane barge, the future of the Army Navy looks great. safer than it was two years ago.

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