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Army Watercraft

Army Watercraft provide the foundation for theater opening and reception of Army and joint forces committed in advancing the national military strategy and are an integral part of Force XXI for projecting and sustaining combat power. Waterborne logistics delivers 90 percent of all unit equipment and supplies of U.S. forces. Army watercraft - lighterage and floating utility craft (landing craft, amphibians, modular causeways and harbor craft) - provide the critical link between offshore arrival of combat power loaded aboard strategic sealift ships and placing that power ashore in a ready-to- fight configuration. Terminal operations and water transport, which includes strategic sealift and the logistic support provided by Army watercraft, are essential to projecting and sustaining forces engaged in a range of military opera-tions worldwide. While strategic sealift delivers over 95 percent of the tonnage required by operating military forces, Army watercraft become the critical link when that tonnage is projected over the shore, through fixed ports not accessible to deep-draft vessels, or through fixed ports not adequate without the use of watercraft (all classified as LOTS operations). Army watercraft units execute all functions required for successful theater opening, reception, and sustainment of the deployed force.

A proper mix of Army watercraft must be pre-positioned for availability during the early phases of force closure. Army watercraft can be prepositioned on FLOFLO ships, SEABEEs, and/or on the decks of other large vessels.

Traditionally, Logistics Over-the-Shore [LOTS] has been defined as operations wherein a vessel anchored in open water was discharged into lighters, with the cargo subsequently discharged over a bare beach. The current definition of LOTS encompasses not only the capability to provide initial sustainment for early entry forces over an unimproved beach, but also the following:

A LOTS operation may be conducted as part of the base, garrison, or theater development that immediately follows an amphibious operation or as a separate evolution when no amphibious operation precedes it. During LOTS operations, supplies and equipment are moved ashore and transferred to a transportation agency for onward movement. Because LOTS operations are inherently dangerous, risk assessment and risk management are ongoing requirements.

Certain conditions require a LOTS operation through major or secondary ports. If, for example, port facilities are denied to deep-draft shipping as a result of enemy action, a LOTS operation would be the alternative. Other circumstances requiring LOTS include inadequate port berthing capability or inadequate port facilities due to shallow water depths and/or enemy action. LOTS operations across a bare beach are the most resource-demanding in terms of the type and number of watercraft required. In many areas, the capacities of existing ports are not adequate to support theater tonnage requirements. This factor, along with the possibility of enemy insurgent activities, requires that plans favor widely scattered beach operations over large port complexes. In-the-stream anchor is an operation where a deep-draft vessel is anchored in protected deep waters, such as a harbor. Offshore anchor provides anchorage off the shoreline in unprotected deep water. From either of these anchorages, ships can discharge to lighters for subsequent discharge to a fixed-port facility, unimproved facility, or bare beach. Nearly 40 percent of all cargo entering a theater by surface means is delivered through dispersed beach terminals. Therefore, the theater’s senior terminal commander must continually plan for and open new beaches. These sites accommodate increased tonnages and replace the tonnage capacity of a port or unimproved facility that has been made untenable by enemy actions.

Watercraft fall into two categories, lighterage and floating utility. These two categories are defined according to the mission they perform.

Each vessel in the Army’s marine fleet bears an individual serial number, preceded by an applicable prefix. Vessel prefixes are as follows:

Landing craft mechanized-8.

The LCM-8 transports cargo, troops, and vehicles from ship to shore or in retrograde movements. It is also used in lighter and utility work in harbors. The LCM-8 is designed for use in rough or exposed waters and can be operated through breakers and grounded on the beach. The bow ramp allows RORO operations with wheeled and tracked vehicles. Its small size allows for use in confined areas. The LCM-8 can be transported by LSVs, LCU 2000s, LSTs, commercial bulk carriers, and heavy lift ships. Characteristics and capabilities include the following:

Lighter, amphibious, resupply, cargo, 60-ton.

The LARC-60 transports wheeled and tracked vehicles, including beach preparation equipment and general cargo from ship to shore or to inland transfer points. It is the only amphibian in the Army inventory, and the only vessel capable of landing on a beach through a breaking surf. The LARC-60 can be deck-loaded on a commercial vessel or heavy lift ship for transport overseas. It can be transported on a semi-submersible vessel, in the well deck of an LSD, or aboard a SEABEE. Characteristics and capabilities include the following:

Landing craft, utility, 1600 class.

The LCU-1600 transports wheeled and tracked equipment and gen-eral cargo from ship to shore, shore to shore, and in retrograde operations. RORO missions are accom-plished using the vessel’s bow and stern ramps. It is valuable in LOTS operations and intratheater trans-port using harbor and IWW routes. The LCU-1600 is not capable of self-deployment over open oceans. It is deployed aboard vessels such as HLPSs, barges, and FLOFLO ships. It can also be loaded on Navy LSTs, LSDs, or commercial bulk carriers. Charac-teristics and capabilities include:

Small tug, 65-foot.

The 65-foot tug moves non-propelled barges in harbors and IWWs. Secondary functions include general utility uses, fire fighting, salvage, and assisting in the docking and undock-ing of large vessels. Overseas deployment is by deck loading aboard a heavy lift ship or by towing by a larger vessel. Characteristics and capabilities include:

Large tug, 100-foot.

The 100-foot tug is used to berth and unberth large oceangoing vessels and for heavy towing within harbor areas. Secondary func-tions include general utility uses, fire fighting, and salvage operations. It may also be used for limited off-shore towing between terminals. Depending upon distance, weather, sea conditions, and crew training, the 100-foot tug can self-deploy or be transported by FLOFLO. Characteristics and capa-bilities include:

Floating machine shop.

The FMS consists of 14 re-pair shops, an onboard 9-LTON crane, and an internal monorail trolley system. The shops are bat-tery, blacksmith, carpentry, electrical, engine, fuel injection, machine, sheet metal, paint, pipe fitting, radar and radio, refrigeration, shop fitting, and welding. The FMS can accomplish DS/GS level maintenance, repair, rebuild, and overhaul. The FMS can support the sustainment phase of operations. It is not self-propelled; therefore, it must be towed to overseas locations. Characteristics and capabilities of the FMS include:

Crane, barge, 89-ton.

The BD 89T is used to load and discharge heavy lift cargo that is beyond the capacity of ship’s gear. It is com-monly called the 100-ton crane which is the short ton capacity rating. The BD 89T is not self-propelled; it can be towed overseas or deck-loaded aboard a semi-submersible ship for transport. Its characteristics and capabilities include:

Barge, deck or liquid cargo, BG 231C (fuel).

The BG 231 transports liquid or general cargo in harbors and inland waters. It can transfer liquid products from off-shore tankers to shore facilities. The BG 231 can also serve as a refueling point for watercraft operating in the area. The barge is equipped with two skegs aft; this improves its towing capability by helping to keep it tracking on course. It can be towed overseas or deck-loaded aboard an HLPS. Characteristics and capa-bilities include:

Barge, deck cargo, BC 231A.

The BC 231 trans-ports containers, general cargo, and wheeled and tracked vehicles in harbors and IWWs. It is particu-larly suited for transporting tracked and wheeled vehicles. It is equipped with two skegs aft, thereby improving its towing capability by helping to keep it tracking on course. The BC 231 can be loaded aboard ships or towed overseas. Characteristics and capa-bilities include:

Barge, deck cargo, BC 7005.

The BC 7005 trans-ports containers, general cargo, and wheeled and tracked vehicles in harbors and IWWs. Because of its flush deck without fore and aft sheer, it is particu-larly suited for transporting vehicles. The BC 7005 was built without skegs, making it easy to maneuver at port terminals where piers are in close proximity. The BC 7005 can be deck-loaded aboard ships or towed overseas. Characteristics and capabilities include:

Landing craft, utility 2000.

The LCU 2000 ) transports rolling and tracked vehicles, containers, and outsized and general cargo from ships offshore to shore (LOTS), as well as to areas that cannot be reached by oceangoing vessels (coastal, harbor, and IWWs). It can be self-deployed or transported aboard a FLOFLO vessel. It is classed by the ABS for full ocean service and one-man engine room operations and is built to USCG standards. The LCU 2000 succeeds the 1646 Class LCU and replaces the 1466 Class in both the Army’s Active and Reserve inventories. The Army has 35 LCU 2000s. Characteristics and capabilities of the LCU 2000 include:

Logistics support vessel.

The LSV provides worldwide transport of general and vehicular cargo. LSV missions include intratheater line-haul in support of unit deployment or relocation; tactical and sustained resupply to remote, undevel-oped areas along coastlines and on IWWs; and support to the discharge and backload of ships in RORO or LOTS operations. Six LSVs are in the Army inventory. LSV characteristics and capabilities include:

Large tug, 128-foot.

The 128-foot LT ) is designed for ocean and coastal towing operations. All six LTs were fielded in 1994. LT missions include: assisting bulk and special cargo ships to berth or anchorage; shuttling non-self propelled barges and other floating equipment from location to location during LOTS operations; and providing ocean, coastal, and inland waterway tow service for Army logistic support. The LT is self-deployable worldwide. Characteristics and capabilities include:

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