We Need a Mother(ship)

USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1) An artist’s conception of the Afloat Forward Staging Base. USMC Photo

Navy Times recently published an article “In war with drug trafficers, Coast Guard stretched thin.” There was a particular quote by the Commandant that caught my eye,

“Some 400 metric tons of cocaine cross U.S. borders every year — a drug trade valued at tens of billions of dollars, Zukunft said. Once upon a time, Coast Guard cutters would post a watch and wait for drug boats to get close, but now, there’s enough technology to detect them as they approach.

“The only problem: There aren’t enough ships and airplanes to catch them all.

“’We have an awareness of 80 percent, but we can only target 20 percent,’ Zukunft said. ‘We’re giving 60 percent of what we know, literally, a free pass.’”

This repeats similar comments we have heard from SouthCom. We have good information on drug trafficers, and we could catch a lot more if we just had more vessels available to respond. Note we need more vessels, not more highly capable vessels. This is part of what prompted my call for “Cutter X,” but there is another way. Instead of long endurance ships, perhaps, given support, shorter range assets could do the job.

Meanwhile, over in San Diego, NASSCO is building something that might make a useful contribution to addressing the need for more vessels by facilitating the use of less capable assets, a mothership, or Afloat Forward Staging Bases (AFSB).

“The design of the AFSB variant adds a flight deck, berthing, fuel storage, equipment storage, and repair spaces. With a rotating crew of civilian mariners and military personnel the ship can operate forward almost continuously, providing a base of operations for everything from counter-piracy/smuggling, maritime security, and mine clearing to humanitarian aid and disaster relief.”

With the exception of mine clearing, those missions are all in the Coast Guard’s wheelhouse. These or similar vessels could serve as mother ships or tenders for WPBs or WPCs extending their endurance and reach, supporting them far from their homeports and providing a base for supporting helicopters and UAVs.

We may be able to send only one or two large cutter at a time to the Eastern Pacific, but perhaps we could send six or so WPBs or WPCs.

They could also be used in responding to Natural disasters like Katrina or Sandy. They could be effectively a mobile Coast Guard group with both air and surface assets. If ice strengthened they could assume that role in the Arctic.

As big as they are, these ships have very small crews, and are relatively inexpensive to build–more than the OPC, but less than the Bertholfs. Certainly we should try the concept using Navy vessels first. In fact the first is expected to replace the USS Ponce, where it will presumably have some interaction with the six 110s serving with the Fifth Fleet.

84 thoughts on “We Need a Mother(ship)

  1. I really think AFSB are going be a big part of the Navy’s future. In addition to being a staging base for smaller vessels, the ability to stay on station and serve as a carrier for ISR drones like scan eagle and fire scout is going to be a huge asset, and only going to be come more important over time.

    I think they are a little more expensive than you indicated Chuck. If I recall correctly the MLP contracts were for about half a billion apiece, and the conversion to an AFSB was about 135 million on top of that. But as long as they are operating in a permissive environment, their logistical and aviation capabilities are spectacular.

    I have a lot of respect for Greenert, I think he is a forward thinking guy. He’s not rigid, he believes in the fundamentals, but he is also open to change and new ways of doing things.

  2. Then it looks like I was wrong too. I thought it was 500 + the AFSB upgrade, but it appears it is something like 370 +.the upgrade.

    I think the MLP’s went immediately into a lowered readiness state, but they intend to operate the AFSB’s right away. I know it seems like a waste of money to build a ship and immediately lay it up, but boring logistical things like a mobile landing platform are a big part of the difference between us and everybody else. No one else wants to pay for that stuff.

      • I sent you an email with different numbers from four websites~ Think over $600 mill is a true Programmatic cost

    • once MLP will be assinged to each of two MPSrons in FOS after they have finished these proof of concept tests.
      Who knows where the AFSB will go? Neither MLP nor AFSB are worth the money, rather are cobbled together designs “given” to NASSCO to fill that yard’s order book. It now has plenty of commercial ship orders, so the Navy made a political decision which was uneeded.

    • indeed an UGLY ship and a questionable approach to procuring a replacement for the PONCE~

      NO MLP are in FOS and will be assigned to the two MPSRONs. MLPs go into shipyard immediately after delivery to have a Core Capabilities Set installed (more money) to modify the ship to support the Marines.

  3. I assume this would work similar to a concept the CG has played with a few times, albeit on a smaller scale, but never seems to take off.

    Previous trials would use a WHEC or WMEC as a mothership to WPBs, with the WHEC or WMEC providing food/fuel and Command and Control to the WPB. The WPBs would be pouncers for the WHEC/WMEC…

    So instead of the WHEC/WMEC/WMSL you have a WAFSB doing the same thing… The question is, would this be a cheaper option than deploying a WHEC/WMEC/WMSL? Also, one of the benefits of using a capitol cutter is that they move – would a WAFSB be just as mobile, and still be effective? I think an anchored WAFSB would just shift trafficking routes – a mobile mothership allows that “base” to shift quickly an easily to changing conditions, and intel…

    Would the added logistics costs of getting food, fuel, and parts out to a deployed WAFSB still amount to savings over a WHEC/WMEC/WMSL? I assume that FAS to a WAFSB would be handled by USN – would they be willing to modify the oiler schedules to accommodate the needs of a WAFSB? Given where the CG sits on the USN’s priority list – I’d bet that this would be a big problem.

  4. gCaptain has some pictures of both the AFSB and the MPL

    If we are talking about forward basing at sea, supporting the more sea-worthy FRC’s might not be a bad stategy in the expanse of the Pacific.
    Overal with a “WAFSB” i what I am thinking about anti-piracy off Somalia mostly. The FRC with fast boats and more firepower and endurance would do better as escorts.

    I think the Navy could be sold on buying and manning one for Persian gulf/Mediteranean support for both their patrol boats and LSC’s and our patrol boats/cutters (all of which have the same manning and armament requirements) .

    • I do belive the USS Ponce already in PG supports the cutters on ops?
      Outside on the (only) two AFSB, the USCG cannot expect USN support~

  5. The way that the Navy has ballooned the AFSB rqmts, I think we are going to have to distinquish the AFSB as cobbled up design from more realistic and practical motherships which are plussed up logistics versions of older stationary tenders. Somewhere in the middle fall what I think is a Station Ship for the USCG?

      • The T-AKE are highly UNREP centric ships. They are in merchant terms a parcel ship. Meaning they can deliver small packages and large items as well as POL ot ships via UNREP or VERTREP. They would have to be modified to support cutters or small combatants skin-to-skin. It could be done, and NASSCO would like the business.
        There are so many good medium sized tenders (modern AGP), it is tough to choose from. The key elements are alongside support by crane or gantry; relief crew berthing; a flight deck/hangar; a significant command center plus all the logistics needed.
        Both Harry at Think Defence and I have suggested putting most of the above on a semi-submersible ship.

  6. As an alternative to a new, unproven platform, why not use an existing one? The Navy’s Dock Landing Ships (especially the newer editions) have the capability to support FRC’s and other small boats, as well as having a significant flight deck support capacity. Especially if we were to look at hybrid civilian mariner/military crews, the cost/capability formula appears in our favor!
    BM1, USCG Retired

    • Are the docks on the LSDs deep enough to accommodate something as large as a WPB or FRC?

      I seriously doubt there’s enough overhead clearance for a WPB or FRC in the dock…

      • generally speaking USN amphib do not have deep wet well docks. MLP only has 18 ft of water over its deck (which is crammed chock full of things for offloading Marine gear).
        That having been said there are PLENTY of heavy lift ships with wet well docks or full semi-submersible decks which could easily lift a WPB or FRC. Note that USCG cutters have been lifted by MSC chartered ships to the PG.

      • I’m going to disagree. The Gunston Hall (LSD-5) transported the Flagstaff and Tucumcari (both PGHes) to Vietnam in her well deck. While it is rarely done, the flight decks on (at least the older, not sure about newer) LSDs, can be removed altogether or “slid” out of the way to allow small but tall vessels to be transported in the well deck. It’s not extraordinarily practical from an operational standpoint, and nowadays, with fewer and fewer amphib assets, and the availability of flo-flo vessels, I’d say it’s mostly impractical (which is probably why nowadays no one thinks much about the LSDs being thusly capable).

    • Why not use the LSD? two reasons, cost and perception. The new LSD is expected to cost at least $1.4B. The current run of LPDs cost even more. And if we are going to park this off the cost of Latin America, we don’t want it to look like an invasion; we want it to look like a merchant ship. Latin American countries are sensitive to the possibility of US intervention in their affairs (with good reason). This is why in the past Coast Guard vessels have been allowed to call in Costa Rica, while Navy ships have been excluded.


      • Thinking about it, even parking an AFSB offshore of a latin american country would likely be a political problem. Newspapers would mischaracterize it as some sort of blockade and a threat to their soveriegnty, and populist politicians would use the issue to score points.

        Maybe if it was a few hundred miles offshore, it would be doable. But I still think it would be an issue with most Latin American countries.

  7. Here’s my question, why can’t we simply take all the all the old LSD and LPD’s and convert them for Command ships for the smaller Patrol boats and cutters. We can use the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship & The Cleveland class of amphibious transport dock as command and mother ships for the Patrol boat force

    • because the USN is sinking those ships! Newer ones in high demand by Marines. And because the USN takes poor care of older amphibs, making them basket cases for conversion.

  8. http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2013/08/23/US-announces-further-Marines-move-to-Darwin.aspx?COLLCC=4245426343&

    This article indicates the Montforde Point will be based at Guam and that 3 JHSV’s will be based in the region as well. I saw something else a while ago with some quotes from Greenert saying that an AFSB is the most likely interim solution until a new ARG can be moved to the region.. A lot of this is dictated by the moving of Marines from Okinawa.to Guam and Darwin. But can’t find the link anymore.

    • One MLP will be assigned to each of the two MPSRONs. One at Diego Garcia and one at Guam/Tinian. AFSB is a expensive, behomuth with a limited capability set in search of an AOR. $600 mil x 2 could have bought four other ship types to support seabasing.
      The fact that the Marines demanded and got TWO MLPs at around $500 million each is a testament to the misallocation of funds.

    • This is a area where leasing might be a good idea, although the amount they are charging as sited in the article appears high, we probably don’t need as much modification as is being done on that ship or even that large a ship.

      • I am wondering, why can’t we use Large, Medium-Speed Roll-on/Roll-off ships such as the Bob Hope-class vehicle cargo ship and the Watson-class vehicle cargo ship to support small to Medium patrol boats

      • I think the MSC award for a Mariime Support Vessel for NSWC has been suspended? And that MSV was overloaded with govt rqmts.
        KISS principle = lower operating costs = lower acquisition costs

    • The MSV was awarded to Maersk and has been protested by Crowley twice. Do NOT believe half of what you read posted by Mike Boring.

  9. MLP is very capability plus, very American overkill, but it is a good idea. Docks aren’t trivial features. MLP allows you to unload virtually any type of ship at sea. There is a difference between the assault phase and the sustainment phase; online I see too many conversations where that difference is overlooked mostly by ignorance. What the US needs is something cheap, large, and fast sans dock. It needs the modern equivalent of these,


    For day to day running man them to modern civilian standards so say a crew of 20-ish. But build them with accommodation for 500 or so. You would have a fast freighter able to serve the MLP, a depot ship if needs, and anything else you can think up. Cargo capacity over docks. Let’s be real amphibious ships will load and discharge their cargoes by the wall more often by dock and LC.

    You needs something sensible to replace LCAC.

    • Currrent MPS and some MARAD RRF already possess the capability to dischare at sea onto lighterage they lift to theater. The USN and Marines tacked on specific rqmts that were not really necessary and in the process gutted the MLP of of it true Flo/Flo capabilituy. All of those extra rqmts were in original MLP design, all of those jacked the MLP cost through the ceiling.
      Roger the USN needs a good fast landing craft not necessarily a hovercraft.

      PS I worked on converting the El Paso and Mobile to T-LKA with CIVMAR and reserve crews.

      • Yes I know about lighters. But you have to agree that it is a substantial jump in capability. Would you rather drive a truck off a stern ramp on to a lighter for it to proceed to shore at a snail’s pace or drive from one big ship to another then onto a safely beached LCAC to move to shore at a good speed?

        I was hoping that the MLP would be used to lift some connectors in theatre but heck it is a defence project we can’t expert everything to go right.

        Anyway my original point still stands. This,

        is more impressive than this……….

        and so isn’t to be sniffed at as a capability.

      • This post @ X:
        Unfortunatley MLP is limited to lifting three LCAC or SSC. The MLP is intended to work in the sustainment phase of amphib ops. Currently, the USN does NOT have ANY extra LCACs so the ones that you seen must come off amphibs. So you are comparing a hypothetical. Three LCAC combined payload is about 210 tons compared to a fully loaded 12 section USN barge ferry’s 500 tons is small. Yes the barge ferry is slower, but its component pontoons are in service now and lifted on MPS ships. SO INLS pontoons “in hand” versus landing craft in short supply?
        Of course, they are really complimentary methods of discharge, I just think that primary reliance on fast, expensive landing craft is not cost effective or efficient based on working with pontoon systems.
        IF the Navy had designed the MLP properly it could do BOTH LCAC lift and serve as an Intermediate Transfer Station at sea. From a time standpoint, it takes a long time to moor two big ship alongside, and add serveral hours to deploy sideport ramp system. I have seen an RRDF set up in two hours.
        P.S. the photo you show is an old RFA LSL and Mexeflote
        I could figure out how to insert a photo, so goto this USN image number
        GULF OF THAILAND (May 2, 2008) Marine equipment is off-loaded from the Military Sealift Command Marine Corps container roll-on/roll-off ship USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez (T-AK 3010) and moved along a roll-on roll-off discharge facility (RRDF) to shore in Thailand during Freedom Banner 08.

      • I’m currently working on a project which looks at throughput over the beach in a scenario very similar to the sustainment phase of an amphib operation. The BIG winner is neither lighters nor landing craft. A floating causeway is the mega-mover in this situation. I’ll send Chuck an article and see if he will post it as a stand-alone article, because it is not about providing a mother ship for patrol boat assets.

  10. I like the idea, although I think maintenance would be a hurdle to deploying WPB/WPCs with a mothership for sustained forward ops. Even with fuel and provisions available at sea, the ships still need to be pierside every ten days or so for routine maintenance, in addition to the casualties that will inevitably occur. Mooring to a mothership at sea for long would be challenging in anything but the most ideal sea state.

    That said, the concept can still be valid as long as the WPB/WPCs have a port they can access periodically. A mothership could extend their on-station time, maintain a parts inventory, and provide a sensor network and other capabilities (airborne use of force helos, unmanned air/sea vehicles, etc.) That concept could overcome some of the capability gaps between a WPB/WPC and high/medium endurance cutters (flight deck, C4ISR, endurance) and produce the equivalent of multiple high/medium endurance cutters on station with patrol craft.

    The Caribbean would be a logical place to start. Once the concept is proven, it would provide a blueprint for out-of-hemisphere expeditionary deployments.

    • Under the old “tender” concept, the tender would be moored in a quiet cove somewhere, rather that performing maintenance in open ocean. If we have friendly relations with a host country (or seize territory in war time) we might have a similar arrangement. For instance Colombia or Costa Rica might allow the ship to anchor in their waters, particularly if we could combine it with some training and support for their forces.

      The old 311s of the Barnegat Class were originally seaplane and torpedo boat tenders. They were very close in size to what I expect the OPCs to be. They included workshops, machine shops, tools, and trained technicians. Basically you bring along an engineering assist team of experienced specialists that you cannot include in the crew of every unit.

      My first ship was a 311, the McCulloch (WHEC-386). She had been a torpedo boat tender, USS Wachapreague (AGP-8, ex-AVP-56). She was flag ship for the torpedo boats that fought at the Battle of Surigao Strait. A little reading of her history gives you a taste of how they operated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Wachapreague_(AGP-8)

      There is a requirement in the OPC specs that they be able to replenish WPBs, but it was not clear in what I saw how complete the facilities were.

  11. If they use the new build AFSBs in the same way they’ve used the Ponce in the Persian Gulf, then it is a different asset than a typical sealift ship.

    The Ponce is being used to sustain ongoing low intensity operations. Things like ISR (with Scaneagles) and as a staging point for minesweeping helicopters. I understand what others are saying that it will be a logistical asset for high intensity amphibious operations after a beachead has been secured, but the concept as I have read it is that it will be used for other tasks as well.

    • James your are right. Neither the MLP nor AFSB are sealift ships but rather typed as naval auxiliaries. Cdr Salamander talked to CO of Ponce and they had a long discussion about capabilities and crewing.

      Ponce is being used to support ops the Navy does NOT talk about~

      • Forgive my ignorance, I didn’t know there was a difference in classification between sealift ships and auxiliaries. Are auxiliaries manned by civilians or enlisted personnel? What does the different classification mean in terms of function?

      • This comment seems to be out of order, but anyway, James not so much classification as type.
        USNS naval auxiliaries have CIVMAR crews, and have additional standards as part of their (new) construction, and are operated IAW MSC operating instructions. The Combat Logistics Force ships are all naval auxiliaries. There are only five HYBRID auxiliary ships under COMSC all still in commission. 2x tenders, 2x command ships, and one AFSB(I) = Ponce.
        Sealift ships can be either private ships which are chartered and operated IAW the owners or operators regs. Or they can be USNS ships with contract mariner crews. Sealift ships are usually performing ocean transportation part of MSC missions. There are specialized sealift ships in MARAD RRF to meet specific mobilization sealift needs as set down by TRANSCOM.
        Perhaps a visit to MSC’s website might help?

  12. @ leesea

    Um yes not sure where you are going with this apart from throwing things at me I already know and stated.

    As I said further up I am well aware of the difference between sustainment and assault phases. And as I also said I am aware of the US’s growing problem in the area of ship to shore to connectors. Saying we have lighters now isn’t much of a solution for the problems you are facing. Yes you have them so what? Lighters are used because they are cheap not optimal. Even though I think the USN with its available fire power is a bit paranoid about the shore lighters are vulnerable even in good weather and good seas (never mind under fire.) Heck anything can be used to get to stuff to shore in a pinch…

    And I said it is a shame that the utility of using flo-flo to the max to bring additional connectors in large numbers into theatre what more can I say? The important thing is that the ships have been built and all that iron work on the deck can be reconfigured.

    For the cost of one F35 you can buy 5 (or perhaps more?) of these,

    I bet with some forethought MLP even with offload ramps could carry approaching 18 of them. That is 18 M1A1 ashore in one lift, 36 LAVs etc. etc.

  13. Another thought. Does anybody know why MLP was configured so in terms of layout? Surely the same configuration as the Mighty Servant ships would have been better?

    • I know why and there was even an article in the USNI Proceedings taking the Navy to task for not using a clear deck semi-submersible which would allow LCACs to land along the centerline vice perpendicular.

      The reason the MLP is NOT in that configuration is that senior naval leaders I have names) decided to “give” NASSCO the contract so that the company could fill its order book.
      Those same “smart guys” thought that by using one of NASSCO’s existing tanker designs they might save money (which is refuted by the actual prices paid for MLP/AFSB0. The cost of the both variants was also increased because the Navy revised their rqmts AFTER the ships were under contract – aka $$$ change orders.

      BTW I brought the MV American Cormorant into MSC service in 1985. It was based on ta da! a cut-down tanker hull. Most Flo/Flo ship expert knew of the restrictions which a fore and aft house does to semi-submersibles. The Navy choose to ignore that. They also did not go after the advanced hullform which Dockwise had developed for its semi-submersibles.

      So those are at least three strikes against the MLP. Did I mention in their current configuration with a Core Capabilities Set installed, the MLP can only submerge 18 ft, so no deeper draft landing craft or any outside of those three slots.

      • When the idea first got floated (!) I pushed some figures around based on MS 3 and our LCU mk 10 (never mind Pacscat or anything exotic) and the numbers for potential lift in terms of LC were WW2 like. You would have been able to move whole battalions in a wave; 6 ships so 2 per coast plus 2 in reserve and it would be Inchon all over again any time you chose. (I think I mixed my wars up there…….) I love you guys. But you bright boys have got to find away to put the smack down on the idiots who get to run your programs!! 🙂 😉

  14. Perhaps rather than a tender/afloat staging we could make our own islands. Decommissioned oil rigs are often replaced due to newer tech rather that purely age. We could set up jack-ups in relatively shallower areas on the continental shelf or in semi-submersible rigs as far off as the end of the EEZ. Most already can support a light helo landing. They could easily support small vessels and even OPC’s and perhaps even WPB boat hangers on the larger rigs. Such bases could also have radar capability to extend the surveillance area. The same contract vessels that supply oil rigs could also ferry supplies to these converted rigs.
    We could place some near operating offshore oil fields for environmental response and to counter terrorist attacks on rigs.

    • I can think of a couple of precedence for this. The US used to have what were called “Texas Towers” that mounted radars to watch for Soviet Bombers.

      The other thing was that I noticed the Irish Navy chose not to provide helo decks on their MEC sized OPVs. Found out the reason was that they routinely use Oil drill platforms to support their Helos.

      But rather than our EEZ, I had been thinking of operations in the Eastern Pacific and perhaps the Arctic. Your idea might work in the arctic. In the Eastern Pacific we would probably need to operate from a Colombian or Costa Rican platform.

  15. Many of these rigs are already set up for machine shops, crew facilities, etc. which would contribute to maintaining cutters using these offshore life stations (OLS?). Conversion could be reasonable…if anything the government finances can stay reasonable is another story.

    Ones off the East Coast could also be literal ports in a storm for small vessels that find themselves racing ahead of some storms but unsure if they can make landfall in time. Depending on how far they are offshore, they could work as a way station for a CG helo to hop from land to OLS to ships beyond normal chopper range for picking up sick or wounded crewman. A sort of stationary cutter.

    For the Artic, this could be shared with the Canadian coasties and NOAA and the NSF as semi-permanent research stations. In fact, one of the concrete semi-submersible types could be set up to “ride along” with the slow moving ice granting a truly unique year round look at artic ice migration while still working as a rescue station for Canadian oil, Northwest Passage cruise/cargo ships, etc. The Navy could also use it to support Artic submarine operation, perhaps even using subs to resupply the station as a training mission for new sub crews working the ice pack for the first time.

  16. @Leesea.

    Actually I did before I posted that, and I did again right now. My previous understanding was that MSC ships are manned by civilians, which appears to be the case. And I already knew that some ships were actually merchant vessels subject to being put into service at times of need.

    The graph in the link below breaks down the different categories of MSC ships.

    Click to access MSC_USNavyShips.pdf

    I guess what threw me off is the naval auxiliary term because it was not clear to me if a JHSV is somehow a different classification than an AFSB. I see they are reluctant to arm JHSV’s but are willing to arm AFSB’s (at least with lasers, and yes I understand in times of war they could/would put weapons on sealift ships). I didn’t know if there was a clear distinction between the two types MSC ships. I think I understand the difference now after reading your comment, although to be honest its still not perfectly clear to me.

    If you’re not in that field it can be pretty confusing. Especially because both USNS ships and civilian ships can be classified as sealift, but other USNS ships are classified as auxiliary. If you want to talk about AAMA, ADA codes, or Title 24, it is like a second language for me, while people not in the field will look at me like I have 3 heads. I think it is kind of a similar thing here. To an outsider the whole thing seems kind of arcane.

    Anyway, thanks for explaining it, and now I get it. Kind of.

    • Hey you want to get more confused? There is such a term as: “MSC Nucleus Fleet” meaning: ALL USNS, and long term chartered ships for Strategic Sealift which cover assets both the USN and TRANSCOM use.
      Sealfit ships can be either USNS or short term chartes. USNS ships can be CIVMAR crewed like the CLF, or GOCO Govt-owned, Contractor operated like the MPS.
      Not all MSC ships are built to civilian construction rules, some come over from the Navy and were MILSPEC & NSTM rules.
      I could go on but won’t…. LOL

  17. Apparently Southern Command likes Chuck’s idea of a mothership for interdiction missions in the Gulf of Mexico. They have requested one in the services unfunded requirements just issued to Congress.

  18. Fourth Fleet has wanted a chartered (not leased) mothership for YEARS now. They specifically looked at MSC OSVs in the Special Missions Program. Funny how mothership became Maritime Support Vessel became littoral warfare support ship. Man those staffers can play word games?~
    The AFSBs will be too big and costly for SOUTHCOM’s budget I bet?

  19. While the Navy did not ask for any money for Afloat Forward Staging Bases in the FY2016 budget, it looks like Congress may fund another one.

    “However, the subcommittee (House Appropriations defense subcommittee–Chuck) added in $635 million for the Afloat Forward Staging Base program. The Navy did not request any funding for this program in FY 2016, and HASC authorized $97 million to begin working on a third AFSB.”

    • If you can that amount of drugs are getting through, what else is getting through, or what else can get through? What I think is insulting is that the Navy never tells you that these ships when they conduct a VBSS operation are under the command of the Coast Guard, and not the navy. Going so far as having a coast guard officer in charge, and the coast guard flag raised.

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  21. Contract for long lead time items for #5. Maybe they will build enough whttp://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2016/june-2016-navy-naval-forces-defense-industry-technology-maritime-security-global-news/4051-gd-nassco-awarded-contract-for-us-navys-fifth-expeditionary-mobile-base-esb-5.htmle will get one in the Eastern Pacific drug transit zones.

  22. Pingback: Navy Boosts Target Fleet Size to 355. What is the CG Target? | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

  23. “DECEMBER 30, 2016 — General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, California, is being awarded a $324,452,093 fixed-price-incentive, firm-target modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-16-C-2227) to definitize the long lead time material of the undefinitized contract action and to award the detail, design and construction of Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) 5.

    “The Expeditionary Sea Bases (ESB) were formerly known as Afloat Forward Staging Bases.””

    Read the rest here: http://www.marinelog.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=24542:nassco-gets-44-million-mod-to-esb-5-award&Itemid=223

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  25. Report on the experience with the USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3) in the 5th Fleet AOR. Presumably they are working with the 110s of PATFORSWA although that is not mentioned. They suggest the fourth ESB might go to 4th fleet (where Coast Guard assets operate in the drug transit zones). These ships might be tailored to the requirements of the area of operations and might include things like hospital facilities. The Coast Guard might have an opportunity to influence how the ship going to 4th Fleet is used, perhaps including use as a mother ship for WPC and Navy PC operations in the drug transit zones. They are also capable of UAS, helicopter, and V-22 operations that might provide useful support. https://news.usni.org/2018/04/03/usni-news-video-sea-base-uss-lewis-b-puller-finding-way-5th-fleet

  26. This report indicates the Indonesian Coast Guard may be getting a mothership.
    “The Indonesian Coast Guard is reportedly planning to order a PT PAL ship based on the Makassar design for use as a floating base and control ship. http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2018/august-2018-navy-naval-defense-news/6410-video-pt-pal-launched-the-6th-lpd-for-indonesian-navy-tni-al.html
    This class of S. Korean designed LPDs has been very successful having been built for Indonesia, Peru, and the Philippines. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makassar-class_landing_platform_dock

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