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T-AVB 3 Wright

Historically, the most difficult problem facing Marine aviation logistics planners was finding a rapid dedicated means of providing intermediate (I-Level) maintenance capability for forward-deployed aircraft. The mission of the T-AVB it to provide rapid and dedicated sealift for employment of a tailored aviation Intermediate Maintenance Activity (IMA) to support deployment of US Marine Corps fixed and rotary wing aircraft. The majority of the IMA equipment and supplies required to sustain forward deployed Fixed Wing (FW) and Rotary Wing (RW) Aircraft will be delivered via the T-AVB. Without the T-AVB, it would require approximately 140 C-141 lifts to deploy an equivalent I-level capability, to a crisis area.

In response to the urgent need to improve responsiveness and reduce airlift requirements during the critical initial stages of major force deployments, in the mid 1980s the United States Navy procured two (2) Roll-on/Roll-off Cargo Container ships (T-AVBs) to transport intermediate level aviation for support within a contingency area -- the USNS Wright and the USNS Curtiss. In addition, at about the same time, the Marine Corps introduced the Marine Aviation Logistics Support Program (MALSP) to ensure quick response times for crisis situations. MALSP ensured tailored support for a task organized Aviation Combat Element (ACE).

The T-AVB is a C5-s-78a Seabridge class, commercial, combination Container, Roll On/Roll Off (RO/RO) and Lift On/Lift Off (LO/LO) cargo ship adapted by Military Sealift Command (MSC) for use by the Marine Corps. Both T-AVB ships were acquired as a result of a Marine Corps "Feasibility Study of the Aviation Logistics Support Ship" dated 25 NOV 83. The ships have been modified for use by USMC I-Level aviation maintenance and supply organizations.

The USNS Wright is presently berthed at Baltimore, MD, and the USNS Curtiss is berthed at Port Hueneme, CA. The Curtis supports the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, MCAS Cherry Point NC, while the Wright supports the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing MCAS EL Toro CA. The ships are maintained in a five day Reduced Operating Status (ROS-5) by the Maritime Administration (MARAD). The ROS-5 status allows for a transition to full operating status within 120 hours. A civilian commercial US Merchant Marine crew is stationed aboard each ship to monitor equipment conditions and conduct vessel maintenance and repair. When activated, the ships are operated by the Military Sealift Command with civilian manning. During Operation Desert Shield the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing from southern California deployed to the Persian Gulf along with these two specialized aviation logistics support ships.

In the late 1980's the Marine Corps introduced the Marine Aviation Logistics Support Program (MALSP). MALSP incorporates a flexible "building-block concept," known as Contingency Support Packages (CSPs), that follows a pre-arranged deployment/employment scenario for assembling the right mix of Marines, support equipment, mobile facilities, and spare parts within a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) to support deployed aircraft. The key word is "flexible." Contingency support packages can be rapidly configured to support the contingency aircraft mix and marshaled for movement. CSPs are comprised of common and peculiar IMA and Supply support for the various deploying aircraft. Fly In Support Packages (FISPs)(30 days of support) are flown into the operational theater as part of the Fly-In Echelon (FIE). The balance/majority of the Marine Air/Ground Task Force (MAGTF) commander's tailored aviation logistics support arrives in theater aboard the T-AVB.

These converted ships provide the capability to carry the vans and equipment of a Marine Corps aviation intermediate maintenance activity and transport them to the desired theatre of operation. They have both a roll-on/roll-off and self-sustaining containership configuration which will permit them to offload both alongside and offshore. After the aviation equipment is offloaded, the ships have the capability to carry breakbulk, container and roll-on/roll-off cargo. Three basic modes of operation exist for the T-AVB; Operational Mode,Transport Mode and Combination Mode.

Berthing aboard the T-AVB is provided for: 41 crew members, 300 embarked troops, with an additional 25 berthing spaces for officers and SNCOs. Material Handling Equipment (MHE) aboard the ship includes: (11) ship booms (ten 30 ton and one 70 ton), (1) diesel powered front-loading forklift (15,500 lb. max. capacity) for MFs, (1) diesel powered side-loading forklift (16,500 lb. max. capacity) for MFs, (3) 6000lb electric forklifts for moving loose gear/pallets

A Helicopter Platform is located on the upper level over Main deck Hatches number 1 and 2 between Frames 35 and 61. The platform is capable of accommodating up to and including a CH-53E helicopter in landing, takeoff and for emergency parking in storm conditions. The purpose of the Helo deck is to handle the transfer of personnel and cargo.

Specifications

Displacement, Full Load 23,800 LT
Length Overall 602 Ft.
Waterline 560 ft
Beam 90 Ft.
Draft (Scantling) 34 Ft.
Draft Full Load (Mean) 29.8 Ft.
Shaft Horsepower (ABS) 30,000 HP
Accommodations Ship Crew 41
Embarked Troops 300
Officer/SNCO 25
Total Accommodations 366
Fuel Capacity3,200 LT Bunker C
Speed at 80% power 18 Knots
Light Ship Weight 14,000 LT
Containers Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs)

608 Maximum capacity in transport mode using 8'x8'x20' containers.
In the IMA mode, 300 MFs and 52 Access Modules are carried.

Ships

Name Number Builder Homeport Ordered Commissioned Decommissioned
WrightT-AVB 3 IngallsBaltimore 01 May 1986
CurtissT-AVB 4 IngallsHueneme18 Aug 1987

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