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Sea Fighter to Haiti?

January 14, 2010


Mind you we are just talking, here. No confirmation, but a little “birdie” told me the FSF-1 Sea Fighter was headed into the Caribbean, near enough to be one of the first vessels on the scene. With her shallow water abilities and huge mission bays, she could be an excellent emergency asset, perhaps a temporary hospital or to transport relief supplies close to shore. I’m just saying, its sounds very feasible, and at least as useful as the giant aircraft carrier on its way (though whatever it takes to help).

These shallow water HSVs are born for such operations, much more so than traditional hulls. Imagine this giant ship, which huge bays but gets right up against the beach. It is an amazing capability, not the least for disaster relief but amphibious operations, and even mothership duties, as we see in this photo below of the HSV Swift refueling the mineship USS Avenger:

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Chuck Hill permalink
    January 14, 2010 4:02 pm

    They also have the CB90

  2. Chuck Hill permalink
    January 14, 2010 4:00 pm

    Maybe Mexico could help they have some of our old LSTs

  3. leesea permalink
    January 14, 2010 3:13 pm

    MPS sitting at Blount Island could bring in INLS pontoons to be made up into both Elevated Causeways and floating piers to discharge wherever any rolling stock. Also good for lighterage piers.

    Next thing of course is more Seabees for port reconstuction.

  4. Bill permalink
    January 14, 2010 2:21 pm

    @ B. Smitty;

    Heard that too..but also heard there are two, ptoentially three, other ports that could be used and that is being worked on right now. . All are distant from PAP, of course, which introduces the need for a lot more trucks, I would guess

  5. B.Smitty permalink
    January 14, 2010 1:32 pm

    I was just watching CNN at lunch. Sounds like port facilities in Haiti were heavily damaged. So offloading via RO/RO also might not be an option, at least short-term.

  6. leesea permalink
    January 14, 2010 12:42 pm

    Bill as you and I know there are many ferry services which have HSVs with extending ramps, and there are others which employ an interface barge at either end. There is no reason why an INLS pontoon or the like can’t be used in Port au Prince.

    That is why I am also suggesting a round robin service from either GITMO (immediately) or RRds (after activation). The later with its deep water port and airfield can serve as a great transhipment point for all the reconstruction maerials which will come along later. In the meantime, use HSV and inter-coastal ships which can get into PaP and send in the Seabees to rebuild the port’s facilities. (Because airlift cannot do all the transportation or for long – there is a war on!)

    HSFs are also a short term solution, the long term solution is partially at hand.
    I see the ascendency of the JHSV coming! They are already being counted as part of amphib ship groups.

  7. Bill permalink
    January 14, 2010 12:06 pm

    I realize the lack of a ramp is an achilles heel for FSF-1. She does (or at least used to) have helo refueling capability built in. However, I can’t see that helo loading/unloading would make any sense when the same birds would be so close to shore anyway…

    I guess that explains, in part, why we (we, as in my company) spend so much time chasing new ideas and concepts for moving tonnage between big ships and smaller ones to get it to shore.

  8. leesea permalink
    January 14, 2010 11:56 am

    Ops I forgot to add:
    JHSVs would be ideal for this evolution IF they could use a reatively nearby port such as GITMO or Roosevelt Roads (mostly deactivated).

    unfortunately both WPE and Swift are in other oceans! and the HSFs are 1200 miles away in NORVA.

    Helos are fine for flying light loads inland to small LZs but they need to do that repeatedly because the numbers of victims are vast.

    Mark my words the Tyranny of Tonnage will show how well DOD and the Navy can help out in this monumental undertaking

  9. B.Smitty permalink
    January 14, 2010 11:46 am

    If there are operational ports, FSF-1 will just dock and offload what it is carrying. Did they keep any ability to RO/RO with its recent upgrades?

    If not, then FSF-1 will have to rely on helicopters from other ships.

    Swift or Westpac Express would be more useful, IMHO, given their greater payloads and ability to carry vehicles. Amphibious ships will also be more useful, since they don’t need ports and can carry manpower, vehicles, supplies, and aviation.

    However in these situations, numbers definitely matter, so hopefully Sea Fighter can do some good.

    Comparing FSF-1’s value here to the Carl Vinson is comparing apples and oranges.

  10. leesea permalink
    January 14, 2010 11:41 am

    NOT such a good ship for this evolution – why? Because the ship is non-self-sustainng. That’s a technical term meaning it has NO means to move cargo off the ship other than by helo (for which its has NO M&R support). Such a ship needs a ramp (side or stern), a crane for non rolling lifts and some capability to make the runs over and over again.

    Sure small fast ships might help IF the port facilities in Port au Prince were intact and functioning like a modern port. But to date all I have heard is the port is damaged.

    The Navy would be much better of spot chartering the two fully functional Hawaii SuperFerrys sitting idle in Norfolk. They can transport more passengers and rolling stock, but once again delivery depends on port facilities. HSF do not have extending stern ramps (short ones) but the Seabees could easily construct one.

    Photo of Swift shows her with a stern ramp and full helo facility. Ship does not have a lot of POL tankage.

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