Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Monday, May 05, 2003

Interesting article about America's sealift capability.

The past decade has seen dramatic changes around the world. Throughout this period, the Strategic Sealift Program, under the Program Executive Office Ships, has quietly designed, built, and delivered the largest and most capable roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) vessels in the world. These large, medium-speed, RO/ROs (LMSRs), whose conversion and construction were managed by the Strategic Sealift Program, are vital to carrying out the U.S.-led global war on terrorism and to the effort to remove weapons of mass destruction from the control of hostile nations such as Iraq.

All but one of the 19 LMSRs are now operating under the direction of the Military Sealift Command (MSC--the sea-transportation provider for the Department of Defense)--and moving the U.S. military's tanks, trucks, and other essential cargoes around the globe, on a 24/7 basis.

Today's Strategic Sealift Program grew out of the U.S. military's experiences during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, when the U.S. Marine Corps had much of its equipment already prepositioned in ships overseas, but most U.S. Army equipment had to be moved from land bases--both in CONUS (the Continental United States) and overseas--by surge and commercial sealift. The decades-long decline of the U.S.-Flag Merchant Marine also led to an increased reliance on foreign-flag shipping for the transport of vital U.S. military cargo.

The lift capability of each LMSR is pretty impressive.

A single LMSR can carry, for example, the outsized air and ground vehicles and other equipment and supplies needed by:

An Air Assault Battalion Task Force
32 Helicopters
1,100+ Vehicles
100,000+ Square Feet of Stores and Supplies
An Armored Battalion Task Force
58 M1A2 Abrams Tanks (with full combat loads of fuel and ammo)
6 Bradleys
950+ Support Vehicles
100,000+ Square Feet of Stores and Supplies
Prepositioned Forces
60 Bradleys
650+ Other Vehicles
100,000+ Square Feet of Stores and Supplies

Collectively, the ships built and converted under the Strategic Sealift Program can carry or preposition over five million square feet of military cargo. This translates into a military force of more than 1,100 M1A2 Abrams tanks, over 100 Bradleys, and over 18,000 support vehicles--along with the supplies, food, and spare parts needed to sustain this force for an extended period of time.

< email | 5/05/2003 09:52:00 AM | link

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