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Thread: Amphibious Configurations

  1. #1
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    Amphibious Configurations

    Should the USMC/USN ESG concept contain three amphibious ships or four?

    The below discusses the advantages of a four ship make-up:

    "17 A 60,000 square-foot enhanced MEU would be fitted into 104,000 square feet of actual space. This produces a combat loading factor of 1.7 versus the traditional 1.3. The current MEU lift print is 48,500 square feet. [BACK]


    19 The current lift print is even tighter because it includes vehicles preboated in the landing craft. A 1.7 combat loading factor eliminates the preboating and allows easy reconfiguration of the load plan afloat. A 2.0 combat loading factor would be needed if decontamination, container processing, and intermediate maintenance activity afloat were required. [BACK] "


    However the USN plans on maintaining only nine three amphibious ship ESG configurations:

    1 LHD/LHA(R)
    1 LPD
    1 LSD(2 in the FWDDEP ESG in Japan)

    Leaving two extra LSD's. Plus an LHD that will be assigned to the new MPF(F) squadron for a total of 31 ships: 10 LHD/LHA(R), 9 LPD, 12 LSD.

    With some change to current planning the USN could maintain as many as eight four ship configurations but of differing compositions.:

    Three:

    2 LHD
    2 LSD

    Four:

    1 LHD/LHA(R)
    2 LPD
    1 LSD

    One FWDDEP:
    1 LHD
    1 LPD
    2 LSD

    Of course the above would require two more LHA(R) one for the above and another for the MPF(F).


    The above is a variation of the below:

    "While a standard ELAG composition containing two large deck amphibious ships would be ideal, the program of record will not support such a design. The actual force would contain two ELAG varieties. Three ELAG (H)s would each contain a LHD, a Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship (LHA), a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship (LSD41), and a Harpers Ferry-class (LSD49) as their amphibious component. Six ELAG (M)s would each contain a LHD/LHA, two San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks (LPD17s), and a LSD41 or 49 in their amphibious component. The ELAG (H)s would be based to service the Northeast Asia and Mediterranean AORs where the experience of the last decade shows that split-ARG operations are most likely.

    The ELAG, incorporating an enhanced four-ship ARG/MEU (SOC), would become the central building block for establishing amphibious forcible entry capabilities. This approach becomes possible because the ELAG has enough space to accommodate a complete battalion landing team (BLT) set of equipment with room in its lift print for reconfiguration afloat."



    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    oh man

    Ya I think it is clear the Navy is so busy rushing to get a "Sea Base" they have overlooked the potential of alternatives that would not only be cheaper, but provide the same, if not increased capability.

    Example, the Sea Base takes two of the LHA(R) ships and an LHD so the Sea Base will have enough lift to support 1 MEB. I think this is flawed. While the Sea Base idea is great, the implimentation is done to move marines onto commerical ships instead of warships, something I have a serious problem with due to the reduction of amphibious capability. I think the Sea Base should be about logistics, while the Navy plan seems to revolve around the Sea Base being about insertion.

    A study of the Sea Base idea makes it clear the decisions driving the Sea Base concept, and amphibious ships in general are being driven by the MV-22. While I do think the MV-22 potentially gives a "game changing" capability, the over emphisis of the MV-22s speed is the problem, because it sacrifices heavy lift and traditional capability for the entire range of L class ships.

    I think the solution is to rebalance the MV-22/CH-53K plans to purchase 250 of each aircraft, redesign the MEB MAG to address this adjustments, and further recapitalize the L class fleet to provide adapatable options for both surface and sea deployment.

    For example, the Marine Corps current 2015 Baseline MEB Requirement:

    Reinforced Infantry Regiment
    2 Inf Bn
    2 Tank Co
    2 LAR co
    2 AA Co
    3 Arty Btry
    1 EFSS Btry
    2 Cbt Engr Co

    Composite MAG
    3 JSF sqdn
    1 EA sqdn
    1 HMLA sqdn
    1.25 CH-53 Sqdn
    4 VMM Sqdn
    1 KC-130 Sqdn

    Brigade Service Support Group
    DS Co ACE (FW)
    DS Co ACE (RW)
    3 Inf BN DS Co
    Mech Unit DS Co
    Arty Unit DS Co
    GS Bn

    Total Equipment:
    106 EFV
    54 LAV
    30 M1A1
    18 LW155
    6 EFSS

    6 HIMARS
    215 JTRS
    799 HMMWV
    33 ITV
    335 MTVR
    134 LVS
    9 UH-1Y
    18 AH-1Z
    30 JSF
    5 EA-6B
    12 KC-130
    48 MV-22 (36)
    20 CH-53 (32)
    8 UAV

    14484 personal
    1886 equipment

    By adjusting the MAG from 48 MV-22s to 36, and the CH-53Ks from 20 to 32, the balance needed to provide lift to the MEB would allow L class ships to support fully the same requirements of the Sea Base. This would produce the following:

    8 LHD with baseline 33 aircraft per LHD:

    12 CH-53K
    4 MV-22s
    3 UH-1Y
    6 AH-1Z
    2 MH-60S
    6 Joint Strike Fighters

    4 LHA could then deploy with a baseline:

    12 MV-22
    12 JSF
    2 MH-60S

    With the increasing costs of the LSD ships, particularly due to the abuse by neglect they took during the 90s, the current build of 9 LPD-17s could be extended to 24 ships with 2 V-22s per ship.

    Under the 8 LHD, 4 LHA(R), and 24 LPD-17 L class fleet, the Marines would then have the following MAG capability on L class ships:

    96 CH-53K (32) (3 MEB)
    128 V-22 (36) (3.5 MEB)
    24 UH-1Y (9) (2.6 MEB)
    48 AH-1Z (18) (2.6 MEB)
    96 Joint Strike Fighters (30) (3.2 MEB)

    By taking V-22s from LPD-17s and replacing with H-1s instead, the L class fleet would then have greater than 3 MEBs in all catagories except vehicle space, which would come to 2.93 MEBs.

    Under this proposal, the USMC could form 8 ESGs based around 1 LHD and 3 LPD-17s, supported by 1 CG 52 guided cruiser, 1 51/79 guided-missile destroyer, and 2 LCS ships. During a crisis, 2 MEUs could combine to form a massively capable task force. They could then augment the 8 ESGs with 4 LHA(R)s that regularly deploy with the ESGs, with the intention to keep at least 1 LHA(R) with every 2 ESG groups deployed.

    That would make 1 eight-ship task force ESG able to deploy on the surface with 6 LCACs and 2 large-displacement landing craft, or by air with 12 CH-53K and 10 MV-22s, or 22 MV-22s if the LHA(R) is attached. If the Marine Corp can reduce to 9 ESGs, why not 8 ESGs with 4 of those ESGs augmented?

    By combining 2 eight-ship task forces, and 1 LHA(R) the Marines could support 8 rifle companies with multiple insertion options, including: 6 under armor in EFVs; 2 reinforced tank companies; 2 fires groups, augmented by 10 five-inch naval guns and approximately 800 VLS cells; 24 JSFs, 32 MV-22s, 24 CH-53s, and 18 H-1 helicopters; or 12 LCACs and 4 large-displacement landing craft. The 2 LHDs could also receive and house significant additional reinforcements. The 1 LHA, 2 LHDs, and 6 LPD-17 force would have the surge capacity to base almost 10,000 total troops with supplies up to 15 days.

    Add another 9 ship LHA(R) augmented ESG to the above force, and you have at least 1 MEB in every catagory of the 2015 baseline, and that still leaves 5 ESGs (+2 LHA(R)s not committed).

    This plan is achieved under cost if the Navy adjusts the MV-22 and CH-53K current buy plans to 250 of each model (- about 125 MV-22s and + about 100 CH-53Ks), scrap the current Sea Base plan, cancel the future LSD(X) plan, and build 24 LDP-17s at a rate of 2 per year. The Navy would save around 8 billion dollars using current CBO pricing models, which the Navy could use to build whatever "Sea Base" technology they need to fill the gaps in the plan proposed.

    And by the way, hopefully that 8 billion would go into the Maersk S class design that was never persued despite the support by the Defense Science Board Task Force for Seabasing. With a 400 million price tag for a 6 ship buy, it would be a key enabler for the Army 101st Airborne BCT integration into the Sea Base, not to mention provide significant capability for the USMC 'insertion' and logistics, and provide a much needed capability to deploy additional heavy units like tanks. That would leave 5.6 billion for the oilers and replenishment ships required to support the logistical 30 day requirement.



    With the 3 ESG + 2 LHA(R) task force, supported by 1 Maersk S class ships for USMC aviation, and 4 Maersk S Class Army vessels, 2 T-AKEs, and 10 T-AOs for logistical support, the US could support a joint deployment of over 20,000 Army and Marine troops and equipment that can be taken ashore in less than 36 hours and fully supported logistically for 30 days.

    A lot of the research for these concepts has been done, but the rush for the quick and dirty Sea Base and demand for large numbers of MV-22s keeps these ideas from getting any time of day in the Pentagon.

  3. #3
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    Interesting post.

    Do you have link for your "2015 baseline MEB"?

    The two I have are somewhat different:

    http://hqinet001.hqmc.usmc.mil/pp&o/...F(F)%20MEB.ppt

    http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2005expwarfare/mccarthy.pdf

    Thanks.
    Last edited by rickusn; 15 Apr 06, at 08:47.

  4. #4
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    I forgot a coupla other links. One that has a comparison of an MEB/MEU done just before the MEB was reconfigured and the other that goes with the other two.

    http://www.nps.navy.mil/SEA/JELo/SEA...#slide0737.htm



    http://hqinet001.hqmc.usmc.mil/i&L/v...20Feb%2005.ppt

    or

    http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:...s&ct=clnk&cd=7
    Last edited by rickusn; 16 Apr 06, at 04:38.

  5. #5
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    Its interesting to note the Army also as one of the previous links did plus this one:

    https://ucso1.hq.navy.mil/n8/a_webdoc01.nsf/lookup/85256DB30052B10985256F5B004A2805/$file/Seabasing++for+10+Feb+OPNAV+Brownbag.ppt

    http://hqinet001.hqmc.usmc.mil/i&L/v...20Feb%2005.ppt.

    or

    http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:...s&ct=clnk&cd=1

  6. #6
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    MEB Baseline 2015 applies to MPF(F) Sea Base, not to L class ships. There really isn't a good way to rate L class ships outside of MEU, MEB etc.. because the configurations are different every time the MEU is sent out. Unless a MEB was configured at port, it would be pretty difficult to get a preset MEU from L class ships.

    Example, a MEU centered around LHD-1 might be centered around all medium vehicles with extra fires and only 1 tank platoon, while a MEU based on LHD-4 might have an entire tank company onboard, which is traded for either fewer troops over all or lighter troops with less equipment.

    The McCarthy baseline is the current varient for Sea Basing.

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    True. But im wondering where you got your numbers.

    They dont match exactly anything Ive read.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickusn
    Should the USMC/USN ESG concept contain three amphibious ships or four?

    Any thoughts?
    A few I've just been away for a while.

    "17 A 60,000 square-foot enhanced MEU would be fitted into 104,000 square feet of actual space. This produces a combat loading factor of 1.7 versus the traditional 1.3. The current MEU lift print is 48,500 square feet. [BACK]
    Where did the above quote come from? And where do they get their numbers from. It doesn't seem like it was from anyone that is in the Gator Navy or Marine feedback from those that had been on MEUs.

    Why do we want the added empty (wasted) space? And have they factored in the additional POL requirements of the larger amount of gear and the fuel carrying capabilities of the various ships?

    The current lift print is even tighter because it includes vehicles preboated in the landing craft. A 1.7 combat loading factor eliminates the preboating and allows easy reconfiguration of the load plan afloat. A 2.0 combat loading factor would be needed if decontamination, container processing, and intermediate maintenance activity afloat were required.
    If you eliminate the preboat, than you have an Landing crafts worth of wasted space.

    I have been on more than 1 MEU that we had to reconfigure the load plan. Normally in a friendly port but also afloat. Push the LCAC/LCMs out refloat the boat and conduct a stern gate marry up in stream. Got the whole well deck to play with.

    Decontamination processing of vehicles can take place in the well deck, Just like Ag washdowns sometimes get done. Personnel will either get deconned on shore (pref) of stations can be set up forward of the flight deck(hanger bay if equipped) on LSD/LPDs, Hanger decks or the well deck. Normally 1 ship out of the ESG/ARG will be tasked with that mission if needed. Better to contaminate 1 ship vice the whole ARG.

    If you are doing scheduled IM on anything but A/C on float then the MEU Maint Officer needs to be fired. If its ground side equipment and due to operations, chances are the MSSG will not have the mechanics nor the parts. And if they do it is embarked on one ship, normally the LSD. That stuff is normally done ashore before reembarking.

    Just to show how old I am I've been on a few 5 ship ARGs with a MAU

    As Rick asked, Galrahn, where did you get your numbers and what do you base your assumption that this is all MV-22 driven?
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  9. #9
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    I pulled the numbers from the MCCDC website, but now I can't find where i got it. I want to say I pulled them off early this year after the section changes were annouced. I will find the link. I notice they match almost exactly to the following link, in fact the numbers are exact regarding equipment.

    http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2005expwarfare/mccarthy.pdf

    If that link is accurate, then I may be off in terms of 1 Inf Btn, which I think I am anyway because the numbers wouldn't add up without another inf btn.

    As to the MV-22, I am convinced it is driving all changes. The Sea Base idea is a good example, the Sea Base is stealing 1 LHD and 2 LHAs for the sole reason of being able to meet the requirements put on the MAG by the MV-22. Without the MV-22, any number of alternatives could be done instead. The refits to current LHDs to support the MV-22 comes in at about 9 million per MV-22, I think that cost needs to be added to the MV-22 cost, to give a more accurate representation of the MV-22.

    The MV-22 offers a revolutionary capability in terms of speed and range to an assault from the Sea by the Corp, but only for the assault phase, not for the follow on logistics and lift capability of equipment. By comparison, the highest estimation of cost currently for the CH-53K is still over 1/3 cheaper than the MV-22 and requires no refit to current L class ships.

    The planned air component of the LHD with the MV-22 is:

    12 MV-22
    4 CH-53
    4 AH-1Z
    3 UH-1Y
    2 MH-60s
    6 AV-8B / JSF

    In order to use this wing, 108+ million will be spent per LHD to convert the hanger to support the MV-22, and even after that conversion, all 7 H-1s will be locked into place, meaning the MV-22s will have to be moved around in order to pull the H-1s out.

    The emphisis on the MV-22 speed is where the money is being spent. The problem isn't the new capability, it is the emphisis of it. By replacing 100 MV-22s with 100 CH-53Ks, and assume the CH-53K is 70 million per (which is about 15 million more than expected), the savings in buying the CH-53K is 3 billion dollars, and the lift capability for the MEU/MEB/MEF is greatly enhanced. There is no reason to reduce the capability of lift for every ESG simply so the Sea Base can achieve the desired results of the MV-22, it makes no logical sense, particularly since the most utilized mission of the ESG in the last 5 decades is humanitarian, not assault by the sea, which requires heavy lift, not speed.

    So why spend 3 billion for less lift and more speed? Why steal 2 LHAs and 1 LHD for a Sea Base? Why spend 9 million+ per LHD to refit a hanger to support 12 MV-22s, why build 375 MV-22s and only 150 CH-53Ks when the MV-22 costs over 100 million per and the CH-53K only around 55 per (expected, will likely go up as per historical)? Specialization has never been a good idea for the Marine Corp, the key has always been flexibility, not specialization, so why specialize on "speed" by building 4 ships specifically to use the MV-22 at the expense of balance, which allows the Corp to stay flexible? The LHA is expected to operate 23 JSFs or 28 MV-22s, or a mix of both + 2 MH-60s. If specializing the LHA for the MV-22 is not a big deal, what is the big deal of adjusting the LHD to compensate for loss of air lift capability?

    When it is all said and done, the ExWar ship among other Sea Base designs was not persued because of cost, specifically the cost of having to build a ship large enough to handle the required number of MV-22s needed to move 1 Inf Btn 200 miles in 1 9 hour period of darkness. It takes 96 sorties at 4.5 hours per sortie round trip (including offload, reload, and resupply) to move 1 lt Inf Btn 200 miles. The only way to achieve that was to steal 2 LHAs and put 16 MV-22s on each, and an additional 1 LHD with 12 MV-22s to get 48 MV-22s (see the MEB 2015 baseline above), that way 2 sorties per MV-22 can achieve the requirement.

    Everything else, from the reduction to 9 ESGs, to the increase in hanger size, etc.. has been derived from the persuit of that single requirement under the Sea Base model, a requirement derived to justify the high cost of the MV-22 btw.

    If I am wrong, please let me know, I'm just going by what I see so clearly my opinions are subject to being incorrect.

    For a really good look into current US Navy thoughts on Sea Basing, I recommend reading Chapter 5 of Newport Paper #26. His overview of the current Sea Base is very well done, and the author provides a very different approach to Sea Basing which makes a lot of sense to me, specifically his emphsiis on logistics and L class ships. The author also makes a great case for building 24 LPD-17s, and why the LPD-17 is the best L class ship ever built.

  10. #10
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    WW ll Amphibious Ship

    All these modern ships have lots of improvments but some 60 years ago we went to war with what was available and were perchance assigned to.
    Here is the USS LCI (L) & (G) 450 that sailed the Pacific area and participated in the Kwajalein, Marianas, and Iwo Jima campaigns.
    She was 158 ft long with a 23 ft beam. She drew 4 feet at the bow and 5 at the stern.

    Here's a link to my web-site where I have numerious pictures of WW ll ships.
    Scroll down to the LCI Amphibious ships for pictures of LCI's - Landing Craft Infantry.

    Hamp's web-site
    This pic taken at Saipan 2/25/45 after being shelled at Iwo Jima 17 Feb 45 while covering UDT groups checking Iwo's beaches for the invasion two days hence. Damage visable on port side and starboard side had 4 hits. One KIA and 5 injured by shrapnel. All 8 LCI's in the group were hit with one ship sunk.

    [IMG][/IMG]
    Last edited by vaughn; 18 May 06, at 22:36.
    Hamp
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    WW ll Gator Navy

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    USS LCI (G) 474 sinking at Iwo Jima

    This picture of the USS LCI (G) 474 was taken after her remaining crew was removed and before the USS Capp finished sinking her with its 40mm guns. The LCI 474 was the only LCI ship sunk when Flortilla 3, Group 8 LCI's shelled Iwo's beaches with 20mm, 40mm, and 4.5 rockets to cover the UDT groups checking out Iwo Jima's beaches for the invasion two days hence. All LCI's received damage from being shelled by shore installations causing many injuries and deaths among the 8 LCI crews.

    Hamp
    USS LCI (L) & (G) 450
    WW ll Gator Navy

  12. #12
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    WW ll Landing Craft Infantry War bond Poster

    Here's a US World War ll LCI propaganda War Bond poster and a picture of LSM's firing their 4.5" rockets during the Okinawa campaign April 1 1945.



    Hamp
    USS LCI (L) & (G) 450
    WW ll Gator Navy

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