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Ship to Shore Logistics and the Need for


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Introduction......................................................................................................................... 6
Case Studies......................................................................................................................... 8
D Day .............................................................................................................................. 8
The Problem of Ports...................................................................................................... 8
Early Work ...................................................................................................................10
D Day Plus ...................................................................................................................42
The Great Storm and its Aftermath..................................................................................56
Cherbourg ...................................................................................................................62
Fuel ............................................................................................................................67
Post War .....................................................................................................................83
Summary .....................................................................................................................91
The Falkland Islands..........................................................................................................93
Landing Platform Dock (LPD) ..........................................................................................93
Landing Ship Logistics (LSL).............................................................................................97
Eager Beaver.............................................................................................................. 103
Beach Recovery Vehicle ............................................................................................... 106
Class 30 Trackway ....................................................................................................... 106
Ships Taken Up From Trade (STUFT) .............................................................................. 107
Floating Interim Port and Storage System (FIPASS)........................................................... 108
Lessons and Observations ............................................................................................ 110
Iraq .............................................................................................................................. 112
Background................................................................................................................ 112
Build Up in Kuwait ...................................................................................................... 113
Assault Al Faw ............................................................................................................ 115
Caught Red Handed .................................................................................................... 117
Clearing the Port......................................................................................................... 121
Clearing the Port Approaches ....................................................................................... 124
Aid Arrives ................................................................................................................. 128
Port Development ...................................................................................................... 131
Summary ................................................................................................................... 134
Haiti ............................................................................................................................. 135
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By Air ........................................................................................................................ 138

By Sea ....................................................................................................................... 139
Survey....................................................................................................................... 143
Initial Salvage and Repair Tasks ..................................................................................... 148
Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS) ............................................................................ 151
The Civilian Contribution.............................................................................................. 162
The UK Contribution.................................................................................................... 171
Observations.............................................................................................................. 176
Current Doctrine and Capabilities......................................................................................... 180
Doctrine........................................................................................................................ 180
Survey .......................................................................................................................... 186
Maritime Mine Countermeasures ..................................................................................... 194
Future Capabilities ...................................................................................................... 209
Explosive Ordnance Disposal............................................................................................ 226
Amphibious and Logistics ................................................................................................ 235
Amphibious Warfare and Transport Ships....................................................................... 235
Aircraft...................................................................................................................... 252
Landing Craft, Amphibious Vehicles and Pontoons ........................................................... 254
Specialist Plant and Equipment ..................................................................................... 274
Personnel .................................................................................................................. 288
US Capabilities ............................................................................................................... 291
Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS) Overview .............................................................. 293
Pontoons, Lighterage, Causeways and Small Boats ......................................................... 295
Vehicles and Hovercraft ............................................................................................... 304
Roll on Roll Off Discharge Facility (RRDF) ........................................................................ 306
Elevated Causeway (Modular) ...................................................................................... 308
Logistics Support Vessel ............................................................................................... 312
Liquids Transfer .......................................................................................................... 313
Observations and Summary.......................................................................................... 317
Making a Case for Change ................................................................................................... 319
Case Study Review.......................................................................................................... 319
Current Capabilities Review ............................................................................................. 323
Future Operating Environments ....................................................................................... 325
Conclusion .................................................................................................................... 340
Increment 1 ...................................................................................................................... 342
Requirement ................................................................................................................. 342
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Survey and Decision Support ........................................................................................ 342

Explosive Ordnance Clearance and Disposal.................................................................... 343
Force Protection and Life Support ................................................................................. 343
Debris Removal .......................................................................................................... 344
Equipment Damage Repair........................................................................................... 353
Dredging ................................................................................................................... 353
Mooring Fixtures ........................................................................................................ 360
Ship Interface - RORO Linkspan or Ramp ........................................................................ 364
Cargo Handling ........................................................................................................... 371
Aids to Navigation....................................................................................................... 372
Lighting ..................................................................................................................... 372
Cargo Storage and Forward Loading .............................................................................. 372
Locally Employed Civilians ............................................................................................ 372
Power and Fuel Storage & Dispensing ............................................................................ 373
Timings, Transport and Tonnage....................................................................................... 373
Timings ..................................................................................................................... 373
Transport .................................................................................................................. 373
Tonnage .................................................................................................................... 374
Potential Solutions ......................................................................................................... 374
Conduct a Detailed Survey ........................................................................................... 376
Getting There............................................................................................................. 393
Force Protection and Mine/IED/UXO Clearance............................................................... 394
Opening and Expanding the Port ................................................................................... 395
RORO Linkspan and Buffer Pontoon............................................................................... 414
Equipment Repair and Port Operations .......................................................................... 418
A Summary and Final Thoughts on Increment 1 .................................................................. 427
Does this need to be a UK only capability or can we pool and share with others? ................. 427
Would it be possible to dip into conflict prevention or overseas development budgets? ....... 427
What readiness would need to be maintained? ............................................................... 428
What would an Increment 1 organisation look like? ......................................................... 428
How can we maintain what are perishable skills? ............................................................ 428
Is the equipment supportable in the medium term? ........................................................ 428
How much research and development would be needed? ................................................ 428
Go on then, how much?............................................................................................... 429
Increment 2 ...................................................................................................................... 430
Requirement ................................................................................................................. 430
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Capacity and Throughput ............................................................................................. 431

Build Time and Operations Duration .............................................................................. 431
Ship Interface............................................................................................................. 431
Link Causeway............................................................................................................ 432
Shore Interface........................................................................................................... 432
Operating Environment ............................................................................................... 432
Others....................................................................................................................... 434
Potential Solutions ......................................................................................................... 434
JLOTS ELCAS Pier......................................................................................................... 434
Other Systems ............................................................................................................ 437
Increment 2 Proposal Introduction ............................................................................. 445
Increment 2 - Pre-Build Survey...................................................................................... 446
Increment 2 - Pierhead ................................................................................................ 449
Increment 2 Pier ...................................................................................................... 461
Increment 2 - Shore Interface and Beyond...................................................................... 479
Increment 2 - Wave Attenuation ................................................................................... 480
Summary and Final Thoughts............................................................................................... 487

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Moving a force from one shore to another, and on to objectives further inland, requires some form
of ship to shore method, commonly referred to as an amphibious assault capability.
This allows a force to be landed, potentially in a hazardous environment, from ships on to any part of
an objective coast, sustained, supported and potentially, withdrawn from the same area, using ships.
This can range from small scale commando raids to operations at extreme scale, such as the D Day
landings in France during WWII.
Conceptually, there is a distinction between what might be termed the assault phase and the
sustainment phase, the former usually creating the conditions for the latter. An armed force goes
ashore and makes and area safe for the bulk of the follow force and its logistic tail. The shore might
be a beach or a more developed area like an existing port.
Traditionally, this meant the amphibious force would land on a beach, create a lodgement area
where the materials could be gradually built up and additional forces landed, then the combined
force would push inland and onto the main objective. The advent of the helicopter meant that the
beach could be bypassed to some extent but it was always acknowledged that for any operation at
scale there was no avoiding having to create a lodgement area.
Then came the realisation that enemy precision and long range weapons would put this slow
building lodgement area and the shipping taking part in the build-up process under significant risk.
Seabasing and ship to objective manoeuvre concepts evolved to counter this by ignoring the beach,
projecting the manoeuvre force to its inland objective directly from a seabase, or collection of
logistic support vessels anchored far enough offshore to be relatively safe. This is a logical counter to
anti access technologies such as precision weapons and advanced mines but it places a great deal of
emphasis onto aircraft.
The concept also eventually acknowledged that for the sheer weight and volume of stores needed to
sustain a modern force and the requirements of heavy armour there was simply no alternative to
transitioning from a ship to the shore via some form of surface craft. Traditionally this was the
familiar landing craft but now take the form of a variety of designs such as hovercraft and fast
landing craft using novel hull forms and propulsion systems. Speed was emphasised because of the
need to travel much further distances between the shore and the by nor anchored far offshore sea
In order to establish and maintain momentum forces have to be landed at pace, this is impossible
with a 10 knot landing craft plodding along through 65 nautical mile long safe lanes to the sea base,
i.e. a collection of logistics ships.
Speed is never free, it generally decreases payload and drives up cost and maintenance.
What about ports?
The conventional wisdom is that ports are too easy to defence and therefore, too hard to attack.
Amphibious doctrine has developed to settle on the position that an amphibious assault occurs
generally speaking, where the enemy is not, gets ashore fast enough and in enough mass to avoid
falling victim to an enemy counter attack, and then secures a port from the land side.

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Once secured, the port is then used for follow on forces because simply put, there is no comparison
between the offload rates of an established port and a beach. You can of course bring your port with
you but even the most ambitious mobile port, the Mulberry of D Day fame, was no match for
Cherbourg and other French and Dutch ports.
Amphibious assault has benefitted from significant investment and development activity but
equipment used in the vital logistics follow on has not, even the ambitious US JLOTS mobile jetty and
associated equipment would not look out of place on Omaha Beach. This has shaped actual
amphibious capability available to be one characterised by short sharp jabs, lacking in sustainability
and mass.
The ability to make use of existing ports or create new ones have been ignored for far too long.
There is also another issue that puts the existing arrangements under threat, coastlines are
The rapid urbanisation and development of coast environments means that beaches with optimal
gradient and soil conditions combined with undeveloped near inshore areas are becoming fewer in
number. A smaller number of potential landing beaches means a smaller number of likely landing
beaches that need to be watched and defended with the obvious implications thereof.
Another mostly ignored issue is that landing stores and vehicles from ship to shore does not always
have to be in the context of an assault. Simply establishing forces in an adjacent country or
conducting a humanitarian mission may require existing ports to be improved or repaired.
If we look at most recent operations we see that port augmentation and repair is much more likely
than going over a beach and yet, again, this is a capability that has seen little investment.
Taken together, these factors point to a need to establish and/or improve our ability to make use of
existing ports as the first priority and optionally, develop our ports for use on beaches capability.
The world has moved on since D Day, offshore energy engineering has seen many advances, and
these advances should be exploited for military and humanitarian use.
In this document I will examine a number of case studies, existing capabilities, and develop ideas for
improving our ability to exploit existing ports and creating port like facilities in undeveloped areas.
Ports have been ignored for too long.

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Case Studies
In order to frame a discussion about possible future capabilities it is useful to examine the subject
through the lens of a number of case studies where ship to shore logistics played an important part.
The four case studies are;

D Day in 1944
The Falklands Conflict in 1982
The Iraq Conflict in 2003
The Haiti Earthquake Relief Effort in 2010

The case studies span many decades and are of different scales of effort, but they cover a broad
range of ship to shore activity.

D Day
Although there are many good examples of amphibious operations before WWII and in other WWII
theatres one cannot look at the subject of ship to shore logistics without considering the Normandy
landings of 1944.
Soon after Dunkirk and with the Battle of Britain won, thinking turned to the away fixture
There was a the realisation that it would need a logistics support effort of unparalleled proportions
possessing the technical means to cross the English Channel and sustain a massive force in mainland

The Problem of Ports

During the First World War, the then Major Bruce White, Royal Engineers, was responsible for port
operations and the assembly of a secret military port alongside Richborough Castle in Kent. It was at
Richborough that the first electric cranes were used and the development of RORO train ferries

The Army (Royal Engineers) had always had a responsibility for ports and inland waterways and
Churchill recognised this;
Seamen go to sea in ships and it is their absence that landsman build harbours and refuges
to which are brought back the fruits of their service

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At the start of WWII Bruce White (by then, Bruce White MBE) returned to service as a Brigadier, still
in the Royal Engineers. He was appointed to the post of Director of Ports and Inland Water
Transport. Well before D Day planning had commenced port repair, creation and expansion were
already problems being grappled with by Bruce White. Because the Channel ports were under
threat, damaged by German bombers or being heavily used by the Royal Navy the country needed
ports on the East of the country that could accept maritime traffic from the USA and Canada.
One of Bruce White's early projects in his new post was to oversee the design and construction of
two dedicated military ports in Scotland. Military Port Number 1 was at Faslane and Military Port
Number 2, Cairn Ryan. Both were impressive constructions, Number 1 having six deep water berths
and Number 2, four. They had the full range of road and rail connectors, lighterage, material
handling, and storage and repair facilities. The port at Faslane is now of course HMNB Clyde, home
to the Royal Navys nuclear submarines. He also ordered 360 harbour cranes from Messrs Stothert
and Pitt of Bath (now Clarke Chapman), each prewired for use with a generator if mains power was
not available or intermittent. These would go on to provide invaluable service in ports across the
world, many still being in service today such as those at Marchwood military port.
Port Repair Vessels were also designed and made, anticipating correctly that repairing ports would
be quicker than making them. The design was subsequently used in many theatres and the US forces
copied the design. In order to provide an area for training and berthing for the repair vessels two
Port Repair Depots were established, one at the secret port at Richborough and the other at
Marchwood, near Southampton.
All this experience would prove to be invaluable with Mulberry.
There are many worthy claims for whose idea the Mulberry harbours were, Churchill proposed a
seaborne invasion of the German islands of Borkum and Sylt using flat-bottomed barges that would
form wave barriers and Operation Hush proposed flat bottomed invasion barges for an operation
against Belgium. In 1940, Lieutenant Colonel Wilson in the War Office remembered the Churchill
idea and asked the engineer Guy Maunsell (of towers fame) whether it was feasible. In response, he
produced some outline sketches but nothing further was forthcoming. The Welsh civil engineer
Hugh Iorys Hughes proposed a solution for piers in 1941 that would allow ships to discharge vehicles
onto a shoreline.
In 1941, the British Army set up a small team called 'Transportation 5' or Tn5 for short, to look at the
problem of port repair, with Brigadier Bruce White MBE Royal Engineers, in charge. Immediately
upon appointment he set about ensuring that this domestic remit was expanded to include possible
future invasions of mainland Europe because he correctly surmised that utilising existing ports would
be vital. The Royal Navy officer John Hughes-Hallet was also credited with suggesting the idea after
the Dieppe raid but by then, the other various ideas were already in their early stages.
Brigadier White understood that in order to repair damaged ports an accurate survey would be
required and due to time constraints, as much information prior to the on-site survey would be
needed. Making use of a loaned office in the Institute of Civil Engineers he assembled a team of
translators, engineers and industrial experts that would create a volume on every single port likely to
be used in the forthcoming invasion.
What is certain is that over a period of time, these different strands and collection of engineers
would eventually coalesce in one form or another to produce Mulberry although it is arguable that
Guy Maunsells contribution was not fully recognised.
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The US declared war on Germany on December 11 1941.

Russia was impatient for a second front against Germany but with painful memories of wasteful
attrition warfare and failed amphibious operations from WWI, the UK was reluctant to launch illconceived raids without thorough preparation, adequate logistics and overwhelming firepower.
Combined Operations HQ had since the mid thirties been researching amphibious raiding and under
Admiral Sir Roger Keyes launched a number of small scale raids to 'take the fight to the enemy'. The
experiential base was being built in anticipation of future larger scale operations. At the end of 1941
Commodore Lord Louis Mountbatten was placed in charge of Combined Operations.

Early Work
Initial experiments focussed on means of connecting ships to the shore such that they could unload
vehicles, wave attenuation would come later.
Mountbatten was an advocate of the artificial harbour concept that had been bouncing around
Combined Operations HQ that would allow the Allies to attack where the Germans were weak, but it
was not a universally accepted position. Work had continued in the UK through 1942 with various
concepts and a progress update for Churchill prompted his famously impatient 'Piers for use on
Beaches' memo.

It is often thought that this memo from Churchill was the start of the process but it was not,
conceptual work was already well underway but somewhat rudderless.
It was after this that the War Office Tn5 group was given a broader scope to include the
development of piers for use on beaches, rather than simply means of repairing and expanding
additional ports although as described above, Brigadier White was already doing that in any case.
Tn5 cast the net wide and set out to investigate three concepts, testing each before making
decisions on moving forward. They were all for connecting ships to shore for the purpose of rapid
unloading, one each from the Admiralty, Tn5 and Hugh Iorys Hughes.
Before meaningful testing could be carried out, a suitable location was needed.
Garlieston in Scotland was chosen after an exhaustive search and survey process because it matched
the likely Normandy beach gradients (1 in 200), tidal range (30ft) and soil conditions, was sparsely
populated and located away from major cities. Two beaches were used for the tests, Cairnhead and
Rigg Bay. There are a couple of interesting stories about Garlieston and the Mulberry harbour. First
was the requirement for military personnel to act as 'test subjects, essentially, spare bodies to play
the role of invading soldiers and help with installation. Units were requested to send their best men
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but many apparently took this to mean 'troublemakers you want to get rid of'. Stationed at
Glasserton House the locals nicknamed them 'goons' because of their generally rowdy behaviour,
behaviour that included petty theft and nearly burning the house down. After the great storm
though, the 'goons' would be instrumental in returning Mulberry B to operation. The other story
involves the efforts of an MI5 agent posing as a tramp who tried repeatedly to gain information
about what was going on from the local residents and military personnel, none was forthcoming,
typical of the time.
The disastrous August 1942 raid on Dieppe was a test of tactics and equipment at scale. The failure
of this raid should be viewed in the context of it providing answers to a number of key questions
those planning the main invasion had. It also emboldened Hitlers position on the effectiveness of
static defences as defined by the 'Atlantic Wall' against the opinions of his Generals who thought
investing resources in a mobile reserve and counter attacking force would be the better option.
After building prototypes, testing started in Garlieston.
First was the Admiralty design called Swiss Roll that used a flexible roadway constructed of timber
and canvas, secured together with steel cables.

The tests showed that the concept was sound but that it could not support anything heavier than a
lightly loaded small truck and so was discounted from further development although it was actually
used very briefly for personnel offload during D Day at Mulberry B (file that one under 'not a lot of
people know that')
The 'Hughes Pier' used a series of concrete caissons called Hippos that would sit on the sea bed and
rigid steel roadways attached, called Crocodiles.

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Tests revealed that the caissons would not form a sufficiently stable platform for the roadways
which suffered severe bending and distortion.
It too was eventually discounted.
During a dinner at Chequers, Bruce White explained to Churchill how he could help with his 'piers for
use on beaches' problem, recalling the particulars of a storm at Valparaiso harbour in 1924 during
which a ship belonging to the same firm he worked for had survived when no other ship, had simply
because it was equipped with spud legs.
The ships master had seen the damage that the storm waters were doing to other ships so simply
raised his above the waves on its spud legs.
The ship was the rock cutting dredger, the Derocheuse, built in 1888 by Lobnitz and Co in

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The idea of using spud legs and a floating roadway to shore evolved over several months with
the Lobnitz company of Renfrew playing a key role in the design of the pier head and Major Allan
Beckitt RE and WT Everall RE working on the roadway.
The pier head was based on a Lobnitz dipper dredger called the AB95 Lucayan.
The Lucayan used the same type of electrically driven spud legs as the Derocheuse, was built in 1923
and not scrapped until 1980.

The pier head was to be a relatively simple design, steel construction, 200 feet long by 60 feet wide
and with each corner having a 90 foot spud leg that could be raised and lowered by electric motors,
thus raising or lowering the platform. A pair of diesel generators provided power for the motors.

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Because it rested on its spud legs it would provide a stable platform for ships to unload onto to, in
effect, a quayside. Although it could be raised clear of the waterline and waves the normal mode of
operation would see it partially submerged, the water providing support and so reducing the loads
to be transmitted to the seabed by the legs.
Once a ship had unloaded its vehicles or stores at the pier head they would need to be transferred to
shore by some form of flexible roadway or bridge span.

The Tn5 concept, neatly summed up in the diagram above, used floating roadways attached to a pier
head platform that would rise with the tide and be supported either by buoyant pontoons when
floating or the beach when not. Because the pier head and shore ramp would be fixed in position the
total length of the causeway would change between the high and low water mark.
The solution proposed was a telescoping span at the pier head end that could accommodate this
matter of simple geometry.
Bruce White continued to build his organisation, recruiting many specialist consulting engineers and
technicians; the technical and industrial foundations of Mulberry were being built, and built well.
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One his key organisation innovations was the use of two managing committees, a technical
committee and a manufacturing committee.
The former discussed and agreed the designs and proposed a range of solutions to the
manufacturing committee who examined them in terms of materials and labour requirements.
The best technical solution would be no good if it could not be built in war ravaged Great Britain.
If the pier head was relatively simple, the roadway was far from it. They would be required to
accommodate lateral as well as vertical movement in each span individual, and as a whole. Torsional
flexibility would need to be considerable. The answer was complex spherical bearing developed by
William Everall and Allan Beckett in conjunction with the Military Experimental Engineering
Establishment (MEXE).
Nothing was left to chance, even the tread pattern on the bridge decks was subject to much
discussion and testing before a final design agreed.
Roadway testing

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Roadway drawing

Supporting the bridge span would be a series of floating pontoons, each required to support a total
weight of 56 tons each, which included a 25 ton single load, usually a tank. The original concept used
a design derived from a Thames barge and testing these initial concepts at Garlieston provided
invaluable insight not only into their suitability and use but also their towing characteristics and
general seaworthiness.
Initial Testing with Thames barge derived pontoons

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After continuous testing the designs evolved.

Because the ultimate objective was to dock Liberty ships multiple pier heads would need to be
connected and because of the long roadway length, a one way traffic system was vital. One roadway
would be designated to the pier and another, away from the pier. An intermediate pontoon
assembly was designed that made use of the telescoping bridge span design, a rather neat piece of
As the design matured the idea of using the pier heads to offload LSTs and LCTs also emerged. Both
these types of ship could offload direct to the beach but once the pier heads were available for use it
would allow these ships to reduce their cycle time.
The final design used a sloping deck pontoon called a buffer pontoon that was connected to the pier
head using a flexible hinge. Shock absorbing fenders and a ramp assembly would also allow
simultaneous unloading from the LST's front and side ramps.
A collapsible mooring dolphin was designed and built but not used.

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Pier Head Pontoon

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Intermediate Pontoon

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LST Buffer Pontoon showing collapsible mooring dolphin

Connected Pier heads

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Because of a shortage of steel, many roadway pontoons were made using ferroconcrete, a technique
pioneered by Messrs Wates at the Vickers Barrow in Furness shipyard. Steel pontoons were still used
and modified with simple spud legs for areas where rocks may be prominent.
The telescopic span was also modified to include an 'erection tank' that allowed faster coupling to
the pier head. Buoyancy was adjusted by flooding the tank until the correct height was achieved and
the final connection made.
Beetle Testing

Beetle Design

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Erection Tank
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During trials it was found that correct mooring of the, by now called, Whale and Beetle components
was vital and a specially developed anchor designed by Allan Beckett was used, the now familiar kite
anchor. These anchors were placed and maintained by small low profile boats called shuttles or Surf
Landing Under Girder (SLUG) boats. The importance of SLUG boats was stressed many times.
Wave attenuation, or the production of sheltered water as it was known, was a particularly difficult
problem for the design team.
The committee worked on a number of options for the production of sheltered water, block ships,
concrete caissons, air bubbles (called the Brasher System after the American engineer Phillip
Brasher) and a partially submerged balloon called a 'Lilo', the latter concept being developed by the
The issue of 'joint working' had not yet been fully resolved.
A minute of a committee meeting on the 18th August 1943 records;
It would appear that Lt. Commdr Steele's main object in attended the Committee had been
to acquire information for the Admiralty regarding the activities of this committee rather
than for the purpose of sharing information with them
Work continued, the optimal design for the air bubble system used short lengths of pipe suspended
from floats rather than anchored or fixed to the seabed. It was also found that having the
perforations facing down produced the best effect. A great deal of experience and input came from
the compressor company, Ingersoll Rand.
A letter to a member of the committee on 9th September 1943 records their confidence in one of
their engineers that would be travelling to Garlieston;
As well as assisting with the layout of the individual compressors and main supply lines he
will take charge of the complete compressor plant, supervise operation and maintenance
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during the period of your experiments. We feel sure Mr Ashby can relieve you of all all
anxiety regarding the supply of air.
Block ships offered the advantage of being self-propelled but they were no more effective than
concrete caissons and in any event, would need tugs for placement. The concrete caissons would
provide excellent wave attenuation but would likely be difficult to tow. The air bubble system
showed a great deal of promise but the amount of power needed to generate sufficient air volume
was thought too considerable so it was dropped at the end of 1943.
The floating breakwater was originally of an inflatable design from Robert Lochner, hundreds of
experiments confirmed it was capable of reducing waves if used with a suitable concrete anchor.
Despite its promise, vulnerability to enemy gunfire or accidental damage resulting in further
experiments with rigid construction.

Lilo became Bombardon, the by now familiar cruciform steel shape.

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Bombardon under test

The Admiralty thought the combination of block ships and Bombardon would be sufficient but the
civil engineers on Tn5 thought otherwise, in fact, they were less convinced about Bombardon
because of the significant quantity of steel required and block ships because of their unpredictability
when sinking and sunk. The Admiralty thought the civil engineers on Tn5 simply could not appreciate
the difficulty of towing large concrete caissons and that none would survive the journey.
The concrete caissons went through a number of design revisions but fundamentally, they were
large concrete hollow forms that would be towed into position and flooded. Resting on the seabed,
their sheer mass would provide sheltered water for the pier heads. The final design was a joint
UK/USA one that would displace 6,000 tons, 200 feet long by 50 feet wide. A shortage of materials
meant compromises were made, reinforcement and wall thickness were often the subject of much
discussion but the driving factor was their short intended lifespan and the simple fact that they had
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to be available to the required quantity in time for D Day, perfect was most definitely the enemy of
good enough.
Concrete Caisson

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There were many arguments and disagreements on the subject of providing sheltered water that
would result in counterproductive delays and poor use of finite resources.
Ironically, it was Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Porter that provided a high level view of risk v resource
that helped settle the matter, not being connected with any of the designs.

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In the end, all three systems were used, concrete caissons (Phoenix), floating cruciforms
(Bombardon) and sunken block ships (Corncob). Each system was used to their advantage, block
ships for example, worked better in shallow water and were used for providing sheltered water for
landing craft, the 'Gooseberries'
93 Bombardons were made, consuming a total of 20,000 tons of steel. 147 Phoenix were required in
6 depth variations for D Day but as the Mulberry Harbours operation time was extended more were
needed to double bank them, these latter types also had top covers to alleviate the problem of
overtopping causing internal pressure to burst them. Some of the PHOENIX caissons had anti-aircraft
guns and barrage balloons, with the necessary crew quarters built into the structure.
At the end of August 1943 the Quebec conference was convened between the allies. During the
voyage, Lord Mountbatten staged a makeshift demonstration of the effectiveness of breakwaters.
Professor J.D. Bernal was one of Mountbattens scientific advisers and responsible for the lecture
theatrics in one of the bathrooms. A fleet of paper ships were floated in of the large baths, providing
the wave motion, using a broom, was Lt Cdr Grant. Upon the command of more waves the broom
was vigorously pumped up and down in order to simulate the English Channel swell. The paper ships
were all lost. The exercise was then repeated but this time, the replacement ships were prot ected
with an inflated Mae West life preserver, simulating the breakwaters. Of course, despite efforts of Lt
Cdr Grant, no ships were lost.
Everyone was thus convinced and the concept was duly presented at the conference.
Winston Churchill requested that Brigadier White and a small team join the conference and after
flying over in a bomber the discussions with a much greater level of detail than originally planned.
Half a dozen meetings later, the decision was made to produce two complete Mulberry harbours, A
(American) and B (British). During the conference, various ideas were discussed but it was the plan
for Normandy and artificial harbours that were agreed.
Following agreement, the numerous concepts and ideas that comprised what would become
Mulberry would need to be moved to reality, an immense challenge.
Mountbatten soon realised the enormity of the task would be beyond Combined Operations and so
he reorganised the project with more involvement from the War Office. After returning from
Quebec Brigadier White found a memo on his desk titled 'Artificial Harbours' describing the decision
from the conference.
He was horrified at the complete lack of operational security and immediately went to the War
Office to request a meeting with the head of security to report the breach and obtain a proper
There are many theories to the origin of the use of the word Mulberry but the reality is rather
mundane. During his meeting at the War Office the name Mulberry was assigned simply because it
was the next available in the 'big book of codenames' used for assigning such.
Mulberry it was.
Between the end of 1942 and end of 1943 most of the effort was in design and testing. Production
started in December 1943 with 6 months to D Day.
23 pier heads were ordered including 14 buffer and 24 intermediate pontoons. The 10 miles of
floating roadway (Whales) would need 120 eighty foot spans and 670 floating pontoons (Beetles).
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Hundreds of manufacturers and tens of thousands of personnel were involved in the immense
production engineering challenge, it was far from plain sailing.
Despite continued protests from Bruce White, the Admiralty insistence on Bombardon and building
Bombardon caused a number of unwanted secondary effects. First, the use of dry docks for
Bombardon production meant they were unable to be utilised for Phoenix construction, the King
George V dry dock in Southampton could be used to build 8 Phoenix in one go but was instead, used
for Bombardon. This meant Phoenix were often constructed in unsuitable locations which caused a
number of losses. Second, the amount of steel needed meant an increasing number of Beetle
pontoons had to be constructed using concrete, an unsatisfactory compromise.
Beetle Build

Bombardon Build

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Whale Build

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Phoenix Build

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The objective offload for Mulberry A at Omaha Beach was 5,000 tons per day and Mulberry B at
Arromanches, 7,000 tons per day.
Construction of the Mulberry Harbour components is worthy of a book on its own, it was an
incredible achievement in any case, but even more so in light of it being a wartime project with
limited manpower and materials undertaken in a country that had been at war for 3 years and to an
almost impossible timescale. The unsung hero of this phase was Sir Harold Augustus Wernher,
deploying his bombastic and single minded personality with great effect.
The post war record of Mulberry often fails to mention or downplay the critical contribution
of Harold Wernher.
Without him, it wouldnt have happened.
Mulberry and Pluto is also often unfairly characterised as a British only endeavour but US forces also
bought a couple of their own important innovations to D Day logistics and contributed significant
expertise to the design and operational deployment aspects.
The Rhino Ferry consisted of a number of steel pontoons connected with steel straps and angled
steel sections that could be formed into a pontoon or causeway. The complete assembly was
powered by two 60 horsepower engines, as can be imagined, they were woefully under powered.
Top speed when loaded was 3 knots and in the poor weather they were unmanageable. 36 Rhino
ferries were used on Utah and Omaha beaches, towed across by LST, joined by 12 causeway tugs, 12
warping tugs, 2 floating dry docks and a couple of repair barges. They were also used on the British
and Canadian beaches to good effect. To reduce the need for the LSTs to beach vehicles drive off
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the LST and on to a Rhino ferry before the ferry preceded to the beach. This protected the valuable
LSTs from the threat of mines in the surf zone until completely cleared and from direct fire during
initial the landings. Despite their susceptibility to poor weather they provided sterling service
throughout the period both as ferries and causeways.

The second major US innovation was the DUKW.

The DUKW became indispensable because not only could they ferry stores to the beach they could
take them directly inland to the numerous dumps and drop off points. This factor alone meant the
DUKW should be righty considered as a war winning vehicle.

Once construction had concluded the myriad components would need to be assembled and sailed
across the English Channel to Normandy, both significant feats of organisation, skill and seamanship
in their own right.
The diagram below shows the assembly sites and routes.

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The assembly task required many Phoenix caissons to be re-floated because they were sunk in
various locations for concealment purposes. Whale roadways were assembled, complete with their
Beetle floatation pontoons, and towed across the channel as complete strings. Bombardons were
usually towed in pairs.

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The whole system was on its way.

D Day Plus
A force of 132 tugs were used to tow the various parts of the two Mulberry harbours across the
English Channel. Some of these components were lost to weather and enemy action but for the
most part, arrived as planned. Operational security was paramount, the captains of the block ships
were told they were going to the Bay of Biscay and a model of the Mulberry harbour and invasion
beaches in the headquarters of the Automobile Association at Fanum House was made by toymakers
who were confined to the building until well after the invasion.
Once in situ, the construction plan was equally complex, accounting for combat and weather losses,
and coordinating with available labour and the overall invasion sequence.
The Mulberry construction teams on the UK and US beaches were given the go ahead to sail on the
afternoon of the 6th of June 1994, D Day. First to go were the Mulberry B team, the British No1 Port
Construction and Repair Group. Following the relatively light resistance at Arromanches they started
work quickly. The US forces at Omaha were much less fortunate and faced both an array of difficult
obstacles and a reinforced defending force, but nevertheless, both build teams got cracking, making
use of mobile command posts such as the paddle steamer HMS Aristocrat.

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Mulberry A Plan

Mulberry B Plan

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The first task for the constructions teams was to confirm the findings of the covert surveys
conducted prior to D Day by conducting a more extensive survey for the caissons and pier heads.
Positions were then marked using buoys in readiness for the construction to begin proper.
With surveys complete, the first component was the block ships, scuttled in overlapping patterns to
avoid wave penetration and excessive scour. By the 13th Gooseberry 1 at Utah was complete and as
a shelter for small to medium sized ships allowed dry shod unloading of a large number of personnel
and material using pontoon causeways before the pier heads were established.
Against British advice, the US construction team allowed gaps between the block ships to facilitate
small craft movement but this would later prove to be a mistake. The second Gooseberry was
completed during the same week, also at Omaha. Gooseberry 3 at Arromanches, 4 at Courselle
(Juno) and 5 at Ouistreham (Sword) were completed in short order.

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By the 17th June, both Bombardon strings were in place.

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Phoenix towing started on the 10th of June and by the 18th, 75 were in position, planted exactly
according plan except one that swung out of position as a result of a night time collision between it
and a tug.

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Pier heads and Whale roadways started to arrive on the 9th of June and on the 14th, vehicles were
rolling off ships, onto the pier head and down the roadway towards the beach.

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The installations were not without their fair share of problems; failures and late arrivals competed
with unexpected seabed conditions and poor weather.
Whilst Mulberry was being built, LST's and DUKW's did sterling work but the DUCK's could not
unload large stores, bridging equipment for example, and the LST's, once beached, had to wait for
the tide to re-float. LST's also had problems with heavy vehicles and artillery because the sand was
unable to bear their weight without significant and time consuming reinforcing.

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Discharging at an LST pier took on average, 64 minutes, compared with several hours when
discharging onto the beach.
LST Pier Head Unloading

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It is fair to say, the DUKW was the unexpected superstar of D Day because they could take their
loads directly inland to stores dumps without creating a disorganised collection of boxes and
jerrycans on the beach.

The Great Storm and its Aftermath

Between the 19th and 22nd of June a storm of unprecedented magnitude hit the invasion beaches.
The forecasters did provide some warning that allowed tugs to be stocked with rations, pierheads
raised, moorings checked and doubled and all other ships ordered back to England. Tugs were also
armed with PIAT's and ordered to sink any Bombardon or ship that became a hazard to the Mulberry
The storm was the worst for 80 years and comparable to the one that scattered the Spanish Armada
several hundred years earlier.

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Despite valiant efforts, the storm caused significant damage.

Many of the Phoenix caissons were overtopped; not a problem in itself but when the tide subsided
the internal water pressure caused five of them to burst and one was damaged by scouring. The
Bombardons fared much worse as the weather conditions exceeded their design specification and all
broke loose. Many hundreds of small craft were tossed around like matchwood and some of the
piers were also damaged.
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Mulberry A was more exposed than B and therefore suffered a great deal more damage.
Pier heads and roadways were smashed. 21 of the 30 Phoenix caissons were destroyed by a
combination of severe scouring, internal water pressure and being battered by free floating
Bombardon. The lack of attention to the correct mooring procedures was also thought to be a
contributing factor to the damage on the roadways but much of this was also caused by free floating
landing craft, 5 of which were actually British. Out of 650 LCT's in the area, only 330 survived
although the DUKW's were able to ride out the storm by the simple expedient of driving onto the
beach, genius!
Damaged ships were cut open to get at their cargo and ships were deliberately beached regardless
of their ability to be re-floated, desperate times demanded prompt and bold action.
Mulberry A Damage

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Mulberry B Damage

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The construction force and a number of US officers with relevant experience of salvage and
Mulberry construction thought it could be repaired but more senior officers differed and the
decision was made to salvage from Mulberry A what could be used on Mulberry B, to aid in its

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The Gooseberries at Mulberry A were to be reinforced and the Phoenix caissons at Mulberry B
reinforced by doubling up so they could continue to operate until the winter, much longer than
anticipated. The caissons were also filled with dredged sand and covered with steel sheeting, gaps
filled with rock filled steel mesh gabions.

At Omaha, the Gooseberries were reinforced and this allowed US forces to continue offload activity
and actually exceed the intended offload rate, compared to the original plan.
By D + 30 it was operating at an average of 9,000 tons per day throughput although many suspect
this might be a figure subject to some embellishment given the desire to prove the British wrong.
Because the piers at Omaha were destroyed LSTs had to be beached but favourable geology and
construction work allowed them easier access than previously thought possible. The Rhino ferries,
LSTs, landing craft and DUKWs continued their relentless operations and at times exceeded the
offload rate of Mulberry B (see above caveat)
Mulberry B was in almost constant use for 5 months and in excess of 2 million men, half a million
vehicles and 4 million tons of supplies were landed.

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As winter approached the larger Liberty Ships were increasingly used instead of the smaller coasters
and LST's used initially. These 7,000 ton ships were offloaded at Mulberry B, continuing to do so until
the 19th November when the artificial harbour at Arromanches was closed, its war over.

The port of Cherbourg was critical to sustaining the invasion force.
The Germans surrendered the port on D+20, the 26th of June 1944, a week after the great storm.
Leading port restoration activity was the US Army 1056th Engineer Group but what they found was
The Transatlantic Terminal was completely destroyed, the whole area extensively mined, ships
scuttled at dock entrances and quaysides and most of the facilities destroyed with copious amounts
of HE.
The German engineers had done about as complete a port denial operation as could have been.

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The US Army set to work.

Scuttled ships were removed, quaysides and other facilities repaired, road and rail links restored and
munitions cleared. Rhino ferries and LST's continued their sterling work until the quaysides were

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Up to March 1945, Cherbourg was used to land over 2 million tons of stores and equipment. The
rehabilitation of Cherbourg was a magnificent achievement, mostly by the US Army and US Navy,
often overshadowed by the efforts on the Normandy beaches.

The Allied mechanised armies and expeditionary air forces had a voracious appetite for fuel.
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11 million jerrycans were produced in readiness and initial fuel stocks of 14,000 tons were loaded on
the invasion fleet but much more would be needed.
Heavily laden fuel tankers in the English Channel would be at risk to German combat aviation, E
Boats and submarines so until the English Channel was beyond German reach, an alternative was
It became obvious during D Day planning that the only means of keeping up with fuel demand at an
acceptable level of risk would be some form of pipeline. Undersea pipelines for fuel were not
revolutionary but these were usually carefully constructed and not designed to be subject to enemy
Work started on the 'fuel problem' in 1942 and a number of schemes were considered but they
eventually coalesced on two concepts, a ship to shore system for the early stages of the operation
followed up with a series of high volume undersea pipelines.
The pipeline system was known as PLUTO, Pipeline Under the Ocean, or more correctly, Pipeline
Underwater Transport of Oil and the ship to shore system, the much less well known, TOMBOLA.
Industry was again co-opted with the design team including staff from the Anglo Iranian Oil
Corporation (now BP), Siemens Brothers, Pirelli, Shell, Burmah Oil and the Post Office. The design
effort encompassed shore handling facilities, the pipes themselves and the means to lay them.
Two pipeline designs were to be used, HAIS and HAMEL.
HAIS (Hartley/Anglo-Iranian/Siemens) was based on an underwater power cable with the core
copper conductors removed. 3 inches in diameter it weighed approximately 55 tons per nautical
mile, although it was flexible the immense quantities of lead required were impractical. An
alternative was developed, HAMEL.
HAMEL (Hammick/Ellis) was a much less flexible 3 inch steel pipeline, it was much cheaper to
produce than HAIS but very difficult to coil. The two could be joined however and after testing it was
decided to use HAMEL for the majority of the route, jointed to short lengths of HAIS where flexibility
was needed.
Converted cable laying ships were used in trials but these proved to be inadequate, a telegraph
cable being completely different to handle than a large diameter PLUTO cable.
Modifications were made to HMS Holdfast to enable the HAIS pipelines to be laid and a large
number of tugs and other vessels were used, including two additional pipeline laying ships.
HMS Lattimer

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HMS Holdfast

Pipeline Joining

Laying HAMEL pipeline was a particularly difficult problem but a novel system was found to offer
great potential. Wrapping the pipeline around huge drums called Conun-Drums allowed continuous
sections to be unspooled whilst afloat.

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Final trials were completed in December 1942 between Swansea and Ilfracombe using 2" HAIS
pipeline. They were a great success and prompted the decision to increase the diameter of the
pipeline, the trial pipeline was also used for supplying Devon and Cornwall.
From then, it was full steam ahead with manufacture of the pipeline, pumping stations and storage
facilities. Fuel would be pumped from the ports of Liverpool and Bristol to the transmission points
on the south coast using a network of pipelines constructed at night to avoid detection by German
aircraft. In order to disguise the on shore installations, pumping equipment was disguised as houses
and even ice cream shops.
For transfer from ship to shore a system called TOMBOLA was devised that used a floating pontoon
and series of connecting pipelines to connect a tanker floating offshore to the shore. The pipelines
were relatively short and connected using threaded sleeves. Wooden pontoons, flexible pipes and
buoys were used at both ends. The tanker would haul up the pipe, connect and commence pumping.
An alternative systems using rigid floating pipes called AMETHEA was developed but not used.
Following the liberation of the Port-en-Bessin to the West of Arromanches by a combined force of 47
Commando Royal Marines and 4 SAS Brigade the quayside would be used to offload small coastal
tankers. By D+9 fuel would be pumped to storage tanks and jerrycan filling equipment at Mt Cauvin,
near Etreham, 3km inland from the port.

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The pipelines from Port-en-Bessin would be joined by two 6" TOMBOLA pipelines bought ashore at
Saint Honorine-des-Pertes, 5km from Port-en-Bessin.

Port en Bessin

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Pipeline System Inland

Tank Farm

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The plan for PLUTO required two routes to be established; 4 lines between the Isle of Wight (Bambi)
and Cherbourg and 17 lines between Dungeness (Dumbo) and Boulogne.
The extensive damage at Cherbourg meant the pipelines could not be installed until D+36. By the
end of the operation 6 HAMEL and 11 HAIS pipelines were terminated at Cherbourg. This route only
delivered 3,300 tons of fuel before it was closed down on the 4th of October, it was perhaps a lot of
effort for not a lot of delivered fuel. Meanwhile, the TOMBOLA system and Port en Bessin continued
to be used to great effect, greatly exceeding expectations. Cherbourg was also receiving tanker
deliveries soon after.
Control Room

Disguised Pumping House

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Disguised Centrifugal Pump

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Operations then concentrated on the shorter route between Dungeness and Boulogne which
delivered vastly more, by VE day over 170 million gallons had been delivered.
Eisenhower described PLUTO as;
Second in daring only to the artificial harbors project and provided our main supplies of fuel
during the Winter and Spring campaigns.
As the security situation improved the Allies were able to bring large tankers into the area and made
extensive and increasing use of French, Belgian and Dutch ports. The first tanker to dock at
Cherbourg was the SS Empire Traveller, arriving on the 24th July.

Empire Traveller
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Cherbourg would be the most important but Ostend and Antwerp would also play a major role.
Antwerp was captured almost intact and had considerable receiving and storage facilities. After
clearance activities were completed the first tanker was received at Antwerp on December 3rd 1944.

Post War
A number of Mulberry Phoenix caissons still exist today, the one off Shoeburyness an example of a
Phoenix that broke away from its anchor during repositioning after construction. Several Beetles
remain on the shore near Garlieston and Marchwood and another Phoenix pair, in Portland harbour.
Two Phoenix were unable to be re-floated and are a dive attraction off Selsey Bill. The Crocodile at
Garlieston could be clearly seen until 2006 when a storm destroyed it. A number of Whale roadways
were used as bridges in Northern France, some still in use.

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Whale Bridge

Phoenix Portland Harbour

As part of the D-Day 70 commemoration activities the UK Hydrographic Office conducted a very
detailed survey of the remains of the Phoenix caissons and block ships at Arromanches, Mulberry B.

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In 1953, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands suffered at the hands of a severe flood
(Watersnoodramp) caused by a heavy storm and high tides. Wikipedia has good background but to
summarise, the devastation was massive. The UK death toll exceeded 300 but in the Netherlands, it
was over 1,800.
The war had seen many of the dikes used for military fortifications and maintenance activity had
slowed down or ceased completely. During the post war rebuilding phase many of the repairs were
of the expedient type and it was later noted that some of these areas were the first to give way to
the combined effect of storm and tide.
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After the immediate rescue and recovery activities had completed there were many gaps in the sea
defences to close. Most of these were completed in a relatively short period but some of the larger
and more complex gaps would need a great deal of heavy duty construction. Compounding the
reconstruction was the twice daily tide and amount of damage.
Netherlands Flood

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The Allies had previously used surplus D Day Phoenix Mulberry Harbour caissons for a similar task in
1945 and 1946 on the island of Walcheren so the same technique was proposed. After extensive
scale modelling eight Phoenix caissons were floated over from the UK although some were lost in
heavy seas during the journey. Over a period of several months they were used to close the gaps in
destroyed sea defences in a number of locations.
One of the more fascinating aspects of this little known story is that they are still there. The actual
sea defences no longer rely on the caissons but the Dutch decided to turn them into a museum, a
museum that commemorates the floods and those involved. On 6 November 2003, 50 years after
the closing of the last breach at Ouwerkerk, the four caissons and the surrounding area were
awarded National Monument status by the Minister of the Interior, Johan Remkes; and from that
day were known as the National Monument Watersnood 1953.

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Since 2001 a museum has been sited in one of the caissons, click here to view the museums website.

Perhaps the most interesting post war story is that of the pier head design. It was based on
a dredging platform design and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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The Berghavn dredger was built in 1980 by the very same Lobnitz Company that designed
the Mulberry Pier heads and after a refurbishment in 1980 is still in service with the
Norwegian company, Secora
Does it look familiar!

For the fuel problem, PLUTO was ingenious and it set in motion many innovations that allowed the
Middle East oil fields to be exploited but arguably, was a failure in terms of fuel logistic support to
Allied forces in Western Europe, tankers and ports delivered vastly more. TOMBOLA exceeded all
expectations, it was a great success.
Perhaps one of the saddest aspects of Mulberry was the counter-productive inter-service and
international rivalry, hubris, resistance to change and a general 'not invented here' attitude that
beset the project from start to finish. The Admiralty insisted it knew about port construction (it
didn't), the War Office (Army) insisted it knew about maritime towing (it didn't) and the US Navy
insisted the whole scheme was a waste of time (it wasn't) conspired to rob Mulberry of much of its
potential. It was only the inspirational leadership and dogged persistence of a collection on civilians,
British Army, Royal Navy, US Army and US navy officers that overcame these difficulties to produce
the end result.
At a technical and operational level collaboration and joint working were excellent but this was not
always apparent at higher levels and the problems were compounded by labyrinthine command and
control structures used by both forces. For a number of reasons, not least a general antipathy to the
concept from the US Navy, the US construction teams did not have enough time for training and
thus, did not follow the correct mooring procedures for the Whale/Beetles and placing of block
ships. They were advised by British personnel but the warnings were not heeded.
It has become somewhat fashionable to compare the post storm offload using DUKW, Rhino ferries
and LST at Omaha to Mulberry B and declare Mulberry a failure but that misses several critical
elements. The Mulberry harbour was a system, the Phoenix caissons and block ships provided the
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calm water that enabled the Rhino, DUKW and LST equipment to be used. Without these, only a tiny
fraction of the offload rate could have been achieved, certainly not enough to sustain the invasion
force which would have been severely hampered.
Phoenix and block ships were essential to both methods.
This leaves the other components, namely Bombardon and the Pier head/Whale offloading platform
and roadway.
The Bombardons were the greatest failure, although in their defence, they were operated in
conditions far exceeding their known parameters. In hindsight, they were a complete waste of steel,
manpower and building facilities that could have been used for other purposes such as shipping or in
lieu of the concrete Beetles that proved so troublesome. After the storm, they were not reinstated.
Which leaves the pier head and roadway open to question.
None of the Allies knew beforehand about the favourable soil conditions at Omaha that allowed
heavy construction plant to cut beaching channels for the LST's that allowed turnaround times to be
reduced, a tactic that was simply impossible to predict possible until after the storm so there may be
an element of being wise after the fact. Tonnage offload rates are also rather a simplistic measure
that do not consider low volume stores or the importance of one particular cargo or the other.
Mulberry B would eventually be used for the vast majority of vehicular offload for example.
However, a valid criticism of the pier head was that offload rates were not improved by employing
experienced stevedores or employing modern electric cranes, despite being suggested by none
other than Churchill himself.
The whole Mulberry system was designed around the British LST Mark 2 and 3. The LST buffer
pontoon was almost an afterthought but proved vital. They allowed the LST to approach, discharge,
and return to England and be half way back to Normandy in the same time it would take one to
beach, discharge and then wait for the tide to refloat it. Although the US beaching of LST's at Omaha
would enable over the beach throughput rates to be maintained at comparable rates to the pier
heads it created problems elsewhere. The LST's being used at Omaha were unable to be redeployed
to other locations further up the coast and in the Pacific theatre as per the original plan. Using LST's
longer than anticipated at Omaha simply shifted problems elsewhere.
Cherbourg validated the Allies assumptions that port denial is both very easy to do and very hard to
correct, there is no doubt an alternative was needed.
In general, Mulberry was a success that proved its worth, staying open longer and enabling greater
offload than originally planned.
Mulberry is often seen as a wholly British affair but this is incorrect, US expertise played a key role at
various stages, a joint success in the truest sense of the word.
Perhaps the final word is best left to someone from the other team;
To construct our defences we had in two years used some 13 million cubic meters of
concrete and 1.5 million tons of steel. A fortnight after the landings by the enemy, this
costly effort was brought to nothing because of an idea of simple genius. As we know now,
the invasion forces brought their own harbours, and built, at Arromanches and Omaha, on
unprotected coast, the necessary landing ramps.
Albert Speer
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The Falkland Islands

If the amphibious operations in Normandy were unprecedented because of the scale those in 1982
in the Falkland Islands were equally remarkable, nor for scale but for the huge distance involved.
Anotherbreath takingfeature of Operation Corporate was the speed in which it was mountedand
the degree of improvisation that would in the end, be needed.
One might argue that even taking into account Inchon and Suez it was the world's most complex and
demanding amphibious operation since D-Day.
Since VE day and Suez the UKs amphibious capabilities had dwindled both in scale and capability,
the Royal Marines concentrating on their Northern Europe role.
When Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982 the scale of the challenge had many echoes of
D-Day; a need for joint service cooperation anda number of technical challenges to overcome for
example. What we did not have was the luxury of time, no time to develop new and novel solutions,
no time for testing and no time for practicebeyond what was available on the journey south.
Due to the short timescales British Rail could not reposition their rolling stock to get the War
Material Reserve (about 9,000 tonnes just for 3CDO, 30 days combat supplies and 60days of general
stores) to the ships so instead, a fleet of RCT and civilian trucks were used.
More or less, we went with what we had.
In little over a month from the invasion, the first ships had departed the UK on their 8,000
mile journey south.

There is no need to recount the general history of the campaign but from a ship to shore logistics
perspective there were a number of equipment and capabilities available to Commodore Clapp and
Brigadier Thompson worth describing.

Landing Platform Dock (LPD)

The Landing Platform Dock (LPD) was the main means of landing an amphibious force and there
were two available to the task force. However, this availability was not without complications. HMS
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Intrepid was in preparation for sale to Argentina (yes, honestly) andHMS Fearlesswas without
satellite communications facilities and only one secure VHF link available for ship to shore
To cut a long story short, they both ended up on OperationCorporate.
The Fearless Class LPD had an enclosed dock, could accommodate approximately 400 troops and a
small number of armoured and light vehicles.
The dock had a large stern gate and could be flooded to provide access for the landing craft. The sea
state for dock operations is not high and in severe conditions because it is free flooding landing craft
may bottom out, not for nothing is the interior lined with large timbers to provide some degree of
protection to both.
HMS Fearless

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HMS Fearless and Intrepid each carried 8 landing craft, 4 each of two types.
The smaller Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel (LCVP) were carried on davits and could
accommodate a light vehicle and trailer or about 30 personnel.

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To carry heavy vehicles the four Landing Craft Utility (LCU) were carried in the dock. They had been
de-rated to 60 tonnes capacity from 100, but the normal operating capacity would be regularly

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LCVP Foxtrot 7 is ondisplayat theRoyal Marines Museum.

One of the LCUs ended up beingboughtby the Barclaybrothersto transport construction supplies
in the Channel Islands.

Landing Ship Logistics (LSL)

The Knights of the Round Table LSLs were designed to provide additional logistic support for
deployed forces.All six could beach and unload directly, but this was not used in San Carlos because
the terrain was unsuitable.They were ordered in the early sixties and initially managed by theBritish
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Indian Steam Navigation Company before coming under the control of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in
The LSLs were not large vessels, but that was deliberate. They could embark a range of heavy and
light vehicles, stores and personnel in addition to having the facility to side load theMexeflote.A
bow and stern ramp and door meant they were roll on roll off and the design was very flexible, even
though they were without a floodable well dock.

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TheMexeflotecame into service with the British Army in the early 60s, elegant in its simplicity, they
are simply pontoon sections that can be pinned together (much like the Bailey bridge) to
formlighteragerafts, jetties and piers.
When used as a powered pontoon they use what are in effect, large outboard motors.
The Knights class RFAs would carry two, one on each side. To deploy them the lashings were
removed leaving a single quick release fitting holding it until the whole thing was released,
theMexeflotefalling into the water.Recovery involves manoeuvring them alongside, removing the
engine, winching them up over the fender belt and securing for transit.
MultipleMexeflotecan be combined and in addition to acting as a powered raft can also be as a
jetty, floating transfer platform or other floating structures. The modular construction allows a
variety of shapes to be constructed. When used as a powered raft they are usually commanded by a
junior NCO with a crew of 5. Individual pontoons are of welded steel construction with flush sides.
Built into the sides and ends of the pontoons are recessed slots into which the connectors are fitted.
The bow pontoon consists of a forward section, an aft section and a ramp. The forward section is
hinged to the bottom edge of the box-shaped aft section and can articulate vertically to a maximum
of 457 mm above the deck level and be lowered to a maximum of 380 mm below the surface of the
aft section. The manually operated, demountable articulator is mounted in a recess in the aft section
and is connected to the forward section by an articulator ram.
The articulator has a safe working load in excess of 80 tonnes. The pontoon ramp is hinged to the
forward section and slides over the forward end of the aft section to bridge the gap between the
sections. The centre pontoon is a box-shaped unit with an internal lateral bulkhead dividing the
interior into two watertight compartments. The front ramps are hydraulically mounted and the
engines/propulsion units are connected at the rear.
Total payload depends on the size of the assembled pontoon

The Type A raft is 20.12 metres x 7.32 metres x 1.45 metres. Capacity 60T

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The Type B raft is 38.41 metres x 7.32 metres x 1.45 metres. Capacity 120T
Maxi Mexi, 180 tonnes

The propulsion units, or outboards to you are me, are rather special.
Modular Z Drive propulsion units fromSykes Hydromasterprovidedthe motive force when used as
a powered raft and although it might not look particularly seaworthy can be used in 1.5m wave
conditions. The pontoon sections are sized to be compatible with ISO containers, oh yes!
2 officers and 151 other ranks from 17 Port Regiment Royal Corps of Transport would provide
theMexefloteand mechanical handlingforce. Because of concerns about severe weather ripping
theMexefloteoff their normal side loaded locations they were carried as deck cargo and craned
overboard when needed. At Ascension, most of the stores for the initial landings were split between
the LSLs Sir Percival and Sir Galahad.Operation Sutton was the landings at San Carlos and within 5
hours all the personnel were ashore.
3 CDO Logistics Support Regiment set up at Ajax Bay or Red Beach and started the task of unloading
the stores from the LSLs.

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It was estimated that Mexefloteshifted over three quarters of the stores transferred from ship to
Two things stood out for me whilst reading about Mexefloteoperations in the Falkland Islands.
The first was that Mexeflotewere used as causeways between ships in open-ocean, stores were
driven between ships over aMexeflotecauseway with Fiat Allis forklifts, incredible.
Second, in San Carlos water they were used in overload conditions, the pontoon actually
underwater, and the deck awash whilst carrying loads approaching 200 tonnes.
And that is before youreadabout the Military Medal awarded to SgtBoultbyfor using
hisMexefloteto rescue survivors at Bluff Cover.
SergeantBoultbyof 17 Port Regiment, RCT, was the NCO in charge of MEXEFLOTE rafts
throughout the Falkland Islands operations. At Ascension Island, during a massive re-stow
operation he worked all hours under difficult conditions to move cargo quickly. In San
Carlos Water, the MEXEFLOTE rafts played a major part in the logistic landing of equipment
to ensure the success of the fighting troops. From the exposed position which such a raft
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offers, SergeantBoultbyworked continuously throughout daylight hours and in extreme

weather conditions.
The vulnerability of his position to constant enemy air attack did not deter him from his task
and he was an inspiration to his crew and other RCT personnel. He was coxswain of the
MEXEFLOTE present at Fitzroy during the bombing of RFA SIR GALAHAD and RFA SIR
TRISTRAM, and repeatedly returned to the area of the stricken ships to rescue survivors
and, with complete disregard for his own safety, dived into the sea to rescue a Chinese
crewman. SergeantBoultbysdedication to his tasks in dangerous conditions was
Mexeflotewould also provide sterling service after the cessation of hostilities and were the only
thing capable of offloading bulk materials and heavy stores until the Ramped Craft Logistic
arrived.They were also used for transferring prisoners to the SS Canberra before sailing to

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Eager Beaver
Working in perfect harmony with the Mexeflote were the Eager Beaver fork lifts.The Eager Beavers
were used to take pallets from the beachedMexefloteforward to storage locations ready for
onward transfer. This quick unloading allowed the slowMexefloteto get going back to the ships.

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Eager Beavers came into service in the late sixties and served until the mid-eighties when they were
replaced with heavier all terrain forklifts with cabs and a reasonable degree of safety. The Tractor,
Wheeled, Fork Lift 4,000lbwas developed and manufactured bythe Royal Ordnance Factory in
Nottingham to meet a requirement for a lightweight, air droppable fork lift truck. We even had
remote control and armoured versions for use in Northern Ireland, clickherefor a picture.

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Beach Recovery Vehicle

During the early sixties the Sherman BARV was replaced with a twelve Centurion based designs, the
FV4018 CeBARV. Centurion BARVs were deployed to the Falklands in 1982 although only one was in
a serviceable condition, nevertheless, the other was invaluable.

The design of the Centurion BARV was broadly similar to the Sherman version and could operate in
water up to 2.9m.

Class 30 Trackway
In 1960, MEXE in Dorset designed the modern trackway after extensive exercising in Germany
showed that assault and logistics bridgeheads needed some form of ground stabilisation system to
prevent vehicles getting bogged down. The ever fascinating British Pathe has a short clip here.In
conjunction with MEXE, Laird Anglesey developed the ubiquitous Class 30 Trackway
andsubsequentlywon the manufacturing contract.

In 1968, Mexe also outlined a requirement for a heavier version of the Class 30 product and the
Class 60 was developed, trialled and placed into production soon after.

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Ships Taken Up From Trade (STUFT)

The LSLs were not nearly enough for 3CDO let alone the eventual force that sailed, help would be
That help eventually turned out to be a collection of civilian vessels either requisitioned or chartered
civilian vessels that would join the significant Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) group. In total, 673
thousand gross tons of shipping were taken up, from 33 different companies and 52 ships.

These ranged from the forward support ship Stena Seaspread to the hospital ship Uganda, in
between were the Atlantic Conveyor, tugs, tankers, RORO ferries, general cargo vessels and mooring
support vessels.

Commander Nick messenger wrote a comprehensive article on STUFT, click here to view

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The thing to focus on in the sheer number of vessels needed and their variety and size, yes, it was a
long tail, but the force size was relatively modest.

Floating Interim Port and Storage System (FIPASS)

Probably the most ingenious and revolutionary bit of ship to shore logistics capability that no one
has ever heard of, FIPASS was deceptively simple.
It was not used until a few years after the conflict but worth describing here as it sets the scene for a
number of subsequent posts. Soon after the liberation of the Falkland Islands the construction phase
for the airbase at Mount PleasantandMareHarbourcommenced. This meant a considerable influx
of construction personnel, equipment and materials. The existing techniques of offloading
usingMexefloteand RCLs, whilst ideal for amphibious operations, simply could not cope with the
increasing volumes and the offload facilities at Port Stanley were still woefully inadequate despite
some improvement works completed by the Royal Engineers. This had resulted in
excessdemurragecostsand a large bottleneckas ships were unable to unload in good time.
The government advertised for innovative solutions to the problem and the tender was won by the
Middlesbroughcompany ITM Offshore who had considerable experience in offshore construction.
Unlike the other proposals their solution would be operational in 5 months. Based on technology
and systems developed for the North Sea oil industry, theFalkland Islands Intermediate Port and
Storage System(FIPASS) was designed to resolve a number of issues; port access, refrigerated
warehouse space and personnel accommodation.
Six North Sea oil rig supportbarges(30090ftand about 10,000DWT each) were connected
together and linked to the shore via a 600 foot causeway with a finaland smallerbarge acting as a
floatinglink spanwhichwas also usedasa RORO interface.The facility also made provision for stern
on orMediterranean Moor and 300m of conventional berthing.Four of the barges carried
warehouses, with provision for refrigerated storage. In addition there was accommodation offices,
which include a galley and messing facility for 200 persons.
A key point is that it was not only a berthing facility but also had significant storage. Thelink
spanand causeway were designed and installed byMacGregor Navire(nowCargotec),Harland and
Wolffthe accommodation facilities andNuttallinstalled the mooring dolphins. After construction
was complete it was transported south on two heavy lift FLOFLOvessels.theDyviTealand
theDyviSwan in a phased lift that matched the construction schedule, the heavy lift ships were
faster and safer than towing.
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The large ships also carried a crane barge that was used in the construction process.

Once in the Falkland Islands they were floated off the heavy lift vessels and installed by ITM staff and
Royal Engineers who had previously built all the necessary connecting roads, including one to the
Mount Pleasant construction site.The first cargo ship to useFlexiport(MVLeicesterbrook)unloaded
500 tonnes of general cargo and 60 ISO containers in30 hours, by way of comparison, the same
load, offloaded usingMexeflotetook21 days. Larger vessels would take up to a month to unload
usingMexeflote, it was a massive improvement.
Writing about the harbour after FIPASS was up and running, a writer for the Falkland Islands
newsletter wrote;
Latest reports from the Falkland Islands are that Port Stanley now looks rather empty.
All this cost 23 million, or about 50 million in todays money but it saved a small fortune in keeping
refrigerated vessels offshore and floating cold stores and speededunloading up immeasurably, in
fact, it paid for itself in less than 2 yearsdue largely to the excess shipping costs being eliminated.

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A couple of years after its initial deploymentFIPASSwas gifted to the government of the Falkland

The parallels between Mulberry and FIPASS are obvious.

Lessons and Observations

Surprisingly, many of theamphibious logisticsissues in 1982 were the same as in 1944.
Argentine commanders considered the most likely British landings would be in the same place as
they did, close to Port Stanley.The aim of the amphibious phase was to simply land where Argentine
forces were not, no D Day style beach storming.
As in 1944, deception played a massive part in convincing the Argentine defenders that a single
landing waseither a)unlikelyor b) would happen close to Port Stanley.
Intelligence about possible landing sites was essential, local knowledge gained by RM personnel over
many years, technical information collection and close observation by special-forces were all used
extensively and all pointed to San Carlos as being the only viable landing location. This lack of
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knowledge and appreciation clearly led to the Argentine forces not reinforcing the areabeyond a
small observation force.
Establishing the Beach Support Area took much longer than expected because after the initial
attacks at San Carlos the various stores ships were withdrawn with only those unloading allowed in
the area. The enemy action had an effect on the build-up in a way that was simply not envisaged.
These delays meant naval vessels had to endure more punishment in Bomb Alley and ammunition
dumps established at various locations which because of the slow build up were vulnerable.
Clearly, the inability to build up the BSA at speed was having a very real impact on losses and if the
Argentine commander was sharper and used this delay to counter attack who knows what would
have happened.
Original plans only called for half the 3CDO Logistic Supply Regiment to sail south but this was
changed after its commander convinced the powers that be that he would need the full complement
to defend the beach Support Area (BSA), a ruse on his behalf, the real reason was he knew full that
an understrength supply capability would struggle. Was this an example of senior officers not
appreciating the needs of theloggies?
Packed fuel (jerrycans) was a problem, the initial landings sawMexefloteferryingBedford PODs
(fuel tankers) back and forth between Ajax Bay Red Beachand ships in San Carlos water, refilling at
the ship end and discharging into jerry cans at the land end.
This was of course not efficient but given the relatively low numbers of vehicles the task force had at
their disposal it was not a battle loser in the way that the lack of fuel has been in the past. Fuel
onshore was used mainly for Rapier generators,vehiclecharging at the Light Gun Battery locations
with some used for the command post and medical generators. Apart from the small number of
CVR(T) andBV 202sthe vehicle fuel load was very light. In a more vehicle-centric operation, fuel
would have been a significant issue.The lack of a single fuel policy also meant that the fuel
distribution system had to cope with aviation fuel, diesel andCivgas.
When the Royal Engineers established the FOB at San Carlos they also constructed a bulk fuel
facilitybut this was for aviation fuel only although it did uselarge rubberdraconesin lieu of a
pipeline. Thesedraconeswould also be used in post-conflictPort Stanley.
Luck as ever played its part, good and bad. An attack on the BSA by Argentine aircraft was much less
serious than it might have been, even though it killed six men and injured many more because two
bombs failed to go off.It was also the only attack at Ajax Bay where most of the stores and
ammunitionwere. Better intelligence might have led Argentine aircraft to press home more attacks
on this area.
Normal usage rates or (Daily Ammunition Expenditure Rates DAER) were regularly exceeded,
sometimes by spectacular margins.
The difficult terrain and lack of transport meant distributing stores onwards from the Beach Support
Area was difficult, getting it onto a beach was one thing but getting it to the point of use was very
much another.
A lack of palletisation and poor-quality packing materials, MFO boxes used for stores, for example,
created many needless delays.
It was one of the very few modern conflicts fought without the benefit of large numbers of wheeled
vehicles and this resulted in a reliance on individual fitness and a finite number of helicopters.
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In the week after the landings during which so much punishment was doled out by both sides there
was an overwhelming pressure to get going and move out of the beach head but because of the
inability of the task force to build up a sufficient logistics strength to do so would have invited much
greater casualties and the real possibility of a strategic failure. Despite much second guessing and
revisionism, Major General Jeremy Moore was absolutely correct to withstand the pressure and wait
until the logisticswere in place to move forward.
In the final analysis, Operation Corporate was a logistical triumph but there were
definitelyopportunities for improvement and resultant changes, especially in organisation and
command arrangement, reflected this.

The area around Umm Qasr and the Al Faw peninsular in Iraq featured a range of amphibious and
mine clearance activities in 2003.

The port of Umm Qasr, before the conflict, was responsible for two-thirds of the United Nations
Food for Oil programme imports into Iraq but as a port, it had seen better days. Much of the
infrastructure was neglected, many of the approach channels had silted due to lack of dredging and
wrecks littered the general area.

It was functional though, and so formed part of the operation, it was considered to be vital in
maintaining the flow of basic commodities like food and medicine following the initial combat
phases. The port itself was divided into North, Middle and South with 22 berths and a range of cargo
handling and storage facilities, some berths are dedicated to bulk materials like grain. The deepest
draft was 12.5m, but most of the port required constant dredging due to its location and most of the
berths were between 2 and 7 metres depth at low water.

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In order to dock at Umm Qasr a ship would need to navigate 41 miles of the Khor Abdullah waterway
which in the approach channels had a depth of between 7 and 10 metres at Celestial Low Water

The port and approaches would need to be made safe and open for traffic but before that could
happen there was the small matter of clearing it of enemy forces.

Build Up in Kuwait
As the forces were being built up in Kuwait in January port space was at a premium at the main port
of Shuaiba. There were a large number of vehicles to offload from chartered RORO vessels and the
berths available for 24x7 operation (No 11 and 12) had no slipways or RORO link spans available. The
port also had a wide tidal range and so it was determined some kind of floating link span would be
527 Specialist Team Royal Engineers (STRE) were tasked with sourcing one and consulted with the
Engineer and Logistic Staff Corps (E&LSC), a network of senior civilian engineers. E&LSC is a
fascinating and little-known organisation comprising senior executives of sixty British logistics and
engineering organisations that retain military rank but have no military duties or pay. They exist
purely to provide expert advice.
After consulting with E&LC, the Royal Engineers turned to Transmarine in Newcastle, the same
company responsible for FIPASS in the Falkland Islands. They faced a tough challenge, the link span
had to be in place by the planned arrival date of 24 th February.
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After examining the potential options Transmarine decided to buy the pontoon in Bahrain
and design and fabricate the superstructure and bridge deck in Dubai.
The link span consisted of a 28m by 14m steel pontoon with two additional 4m x 7m flotation
sponsons permanently fixed to the pontoon.

The superstructure and hinged 17m bridge deck could be set at an angle to accommodate ships with
stern ramps and different tidal ranges. The assembled construction was secured to the quayside by a
series of tensioned rope moorings.
It could accept the heaviest and largest military vehicle loads including Heavy Equipment
Transporters (HET) towing a trailer with Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks and variant s. Difficult and
awkward cargoes such as Chinook helicopters could also be accommodated.

The whole thing from start to finish cost 1.2 million.

A Mexeflote was also used to transfer ammunition from RFA Fort Rosalie over a nearby beach at the
Port of Shuwaikh in Kuwait in order to meet the Net Explosive Quantity (NEQ) regulations in place at
the time.
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Assault Al Faw
On the night of the 19th of May US SEALS and Polish GROM, forces secured the offshore oil
terminals and the onshore manifolds on the Al Faw peninsular.
The MoD publication, 'Operating in Iraq Lessons for the Future' records the assault on Al Faw as;
The high mine and anti-ship missile threats around the Iraqi coast meant that the initial
assault onto the Al Faw peninsula was reliant on helicopter support. The plan was to insert
40 Commando (Cdo) first using RN and RAF helicopters to seize the oil infrastructure at the
base of the Al Faw peninsula. In order to protect 40 Cdos northern flank, 42 Cdo was to be
inserted a short time later using US Marine Corps helicopters. Build-up of combat power, in
particular light armour and logistics, was to be achieved by US heavy lift hovercraft because
the very shallow beach gradients did not allow the use of conventional landing craft. The
assault by 40 Cdo in conjunction with US forces, went according to plan, but the early crash
of the US CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter carrying the headquarters of the Brigade
Reconnaissance Force caused the second helicopter insertion to be aborted in the appalling
and deteriorating visibility. It was hastily re-planned and executed six hours later using RAF
Chinook and Puma helicopters. In view of extensive mining of the beach area it was decided
not to risk the hovercraft. Consequently the light armour supporting 3 Cdo Brigade had to
be inserted by a landing craft ferry north of Umm Qasr, some 24 hours later than planned.
Supporting the assault forces was 148 Battery Royal Artillery who were involved with three distinct
activities, the initial assault, countering an Iraqi counter-attack against 40 CDO and Op JAMES, an
attack on Basra.
From 148 Battery RA commanders notes;
As the Battery Commander I was responsible for the coordination, integration and delivery
of offensive support, or combined fires, from air, aviation (helicopters), artillery, naval
gunfire and mortars. There was an awful lot of it, especially for the initial operation on the
Al Faw Peninsula, which one particularly articulate Royal Marine company commander
described as a battery commanders wet dream. As well as a variety of platforms providing
fire, including my own eight 105 mm Light Guns, I also had the Batterys Tac Group
throughout the operation: my own three OP parties, a fire support team from 148 Bty, four
fire control teams from the USMC 1 Air and Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) and
two Tactical Air Control Parties (Forward Air Control) (TACP (FAC)). We coordinated these
with the mortar fire controllers (mfcs) from 40 Cdo to optimise the combined effect of all
available weapons systems.
The first phase was to secure the oil facilities against sabotage.
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Defending the area were a Naval Coastal Defence battalion reinforced with artillery and anti-aircraft
The plan for Offensive Support was as follows. Any aircraft from Op Southern Watch the
air overflights of south-east Iraq sanctioned after the 1991 Gulf War that was illuminated
by enemy radar would result these high priority air defence and C2 targets on the Peninsula
being hit in return. At H-24 hours 105 mm Light Guns and 155 mm AS90 from 3 RHA would
occupy firing positions on Bubiyan Island which is just within the Kuwait border where they
would prepare for a 90-minute fire plan to support landings by 42 Cdo to our flank after we
had landed. Surveillance of the Peninsula and objective would increase at H-5 hours using
US and UK assets. At H-20 minutes Iraqi communications frequencies would be
jammed. Between H-17 and H-7 specific targets would be engaged by Joint Direct Attack
Munitions (JDAMs) or GPS guide bombs. A10s and C130 Spectre gunships from the Special
Operations Flight would then be on station from H-7 to cover the HLSs and remain on
station to provide close support to the contact battle once the SEALs and ourselves had
landed. Finally, once the first assault elements from 40 Cdo had landed the guns on
Bubiyan Island would commence their 90-minute fire plan to prepare the 42 Cdo Area of
Operations for their landings to our flanks.
Tactical Assembly Viking was the kick off point with most of the Royal Marines launching from here,
A, B and C Company.
D Company would also launch from HMS Ocean. The Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) suffered a
loss of several personnel in a USMC CH46 Sea Knight crash.
Throughout the night and into the morning the assault continued and by morning USMC and RM
artillery, naval gunfire support from RN and RAN vessels and helicopter launched TOW missiles from
the CHFs Lynxs enabled the main force to achieve their objective.
As we consolidated on our objective, the Scorpions (light armoured vehicles) of C Sqn
Queens Dragoon Guards pushed north to set up a recce screen just south of Basra. The
Commando then began to clear north up the west bank of the Shatt-al-Arab waterway
between Iraq and Iran. As we approached Basra the enemy launched an armoured counter
attack against us, relying on heavy armour to throw our lightly equipped Commandos off
the Peninsula. A, B and D Coys and 8 Bty were spread across a wide frontage in company
positions. At last light on 26 Mar intelligence began to detect increased signals traffic from
the enemy, then the recce screen from the QDG picked up the lead armoured vehicles
moving towards them. We began to call for all available air support and US and UK aircraft
heading north started to be diverted to assist us. As aircraft began stacking over our battle
area, the FACs with the QDG began calling in strike after strike against the tanks. At the
same time we began hitting them with heavy artillery from the AS90 guns with 7 Armd Bde
to our west and both 7 and 8 Btys on the Peninsula itself. The situation along the forward
line own troops got quite tense as some of the tanks got to within 800 metres of the lightly
armed recce vehicles and there was a spectacular hit by an F18 with two 500-pound bombs
on a pipeline behind which two T55s were hull down. As we slowed the enemy armoured
column down, inflicting heavy casualties in the process, we were allocated a squadron of
Challenger 2 tanks from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards with 7 Armd Bde. They conducted
a night assault river crossing by an M3 pontoon bridge into our area and worked their way
up the west side to a line of departure on the flank of the remaining enemy. With our air
and artillery supporting them, coordinated by HQ 40 Cdo, they launched their attack which
destroyed fourteen T55s, sixteen other AFVs and five enemy positions in what was

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described later as the biggest British tank battle since the Second World War, which, it must
be added, was coordinated by a Commando brigade and a Commando group HQ.
Naval Gunfire Support consisted of 17 fire missions and expended 155 4.5 and 5 rounds.
The assault on Al Faw is often characterised as an amphibious RM only affair but this was very far
from the truth, combined arms and combined nations forces achieved the objective of securing the
oil installations at Al Faw and allowed the port and its approaching waterways to be used without
fear of being attacked from the peninsular.

Caught Red Handed

Providing maritime security in the area during this initial phase were two US Navy Cyclone Class
patrol boats (USS Firebolt and USS Chinook) and two US Coastguard cutters (USGC Aquidneck and
USCG Adak)
USS Firebolt

USS Chinook

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USCGC Aquidneck

During the night of 20th March 2003, all four patrol vessels spotted a number suspicious vessels
coming down the Khor Abdullah and decided to intercept them. It was not possible to conduct a
detailed search during the night and so the vessels and crews were held until morning. In the
morning, a number of UK and US forces boarded to investigate, what they found was nothing short
of incredible.
The tug Jumariya had a barge with carefully concealed mine storage and launching facilities and the
Al Raya had disguised mines and a specially constructed stern flap for covert launching.

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Al Rayiah

The Jumariya barge was carrying 20 Manta and 48 LUGM mines ready to launch and on the deck of
the Al Raya, 18 LUGM mines with cut oil drums as covers. The LUGM is a conventional buoyant
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contact mine with the familiar Hertz horns and 200kg explosive filler. The Italian made (Now
Rheinmetall) Manta mines were much more dangerous as they are both acoustic and
magnetic triggered with a 140kg warhead.

Luck as ever played its part, it was not lucky that the US Navy and US Coastguard intercepted the
two tugs, that being testament to their professionalism, but luck in so much that the Iraqi forces
decided to indulge in a spot of mining on the same night as the initial assault.
Timing was all, a day or two earlier and the next phase may have been very different.
The combined force eventually made them all safe and removed their crews for detention.
Soon after, the task of clearing the port and approach lanes commenced.

Clearing the Port

The composite force for port clearance consisted 3 teams from Australia, the UK and USA. They
drove into the port on the 24th of March with security provided by USMC and Polish forces.
Australian Clearance Diving Team 3 (AUSCDT 3) was the only coalition unit with established harbour
clearance SOPs so they were tasked with clearing the berths and associated facilities at Umm Qasr
to enable berthing of vessels. The Australian force also noted that US Navy MCM forces arrived
without ammunition or explosives so had to be sustained by the Australian force. The US Navy team
did not have any NBC equipment either.
The port was a difficult environment, strong tidal current and extremely poor visibility being the two
main problems and because of the extremely cluttered sea bottom environment, conventional
detection using sonar was almost impossible.
It often came down to touch!
To provide some sense of the problem of demining a busy port as opposed to a pristine beach this
quote from an Australian Army spokesman, Lt Col Pup Elliot;
If they find a can of soft drink on the bottom, they have to deal with that, look at it and
make an inspection and at times theyll find stuff that they may not be able to identify
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One of the first finds was a sunken PB40 minelayer with four LUGM mines still aboard. The US dive
team set to work removing as much of the vessel as possible to allow the mines to pulled clear and
disposed of on land. Because of the time pressure and potential for booby traps any suspicious
contact was usually just exploded in situ, just in case.
The team were also involved in clearing the port buildings and disposing of all manner of munitions
and on one occasion destroyed a cache of 25 mines found outside the town.
Clearance Divers

They used REMUS 100 to conduct 10 missions that surveyed 2.5 million square metres and identified
97 contacts using on-board sensors, thus enabling the clearance divers to concentrate on other
more difficult contacts.

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Port clearance at Umm Qasr also saw the operational debut of the REMUS 100 autonomous
underwater system, bought with them by the US Navy team.
The Remote Environmental Monitoring UnitS (REMUS) was developed by the US Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institute in the early nineties and subsequently manufactured and further developed
by Hydroid Inc., now Kongsberg. REMUS 100 is a compact device, weighing on 39kg and 1.6m long
but it can operate for 14 hours before needing to be recovered to recharge

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Clearing the Port Approaches

As port clearance activities were underway the Royal Navy led the approach channel mine clearance
operation in conjunction with US Navy and US Coast Guard assets, it was a considerable volume of
difficult water to clear.
Safe lanes were cleared by a multi vessel group as per the diagram below.

Leading the column were a pair of SWIMS unmanned clearance boats being controlled by operators
on HMS Brocklesby. USS Dextrous acted in the role of Command MCMV, gathering data from the
others and plotting likely seabed contacts for interrogation by the other MCM vessels.
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The cleared channel would be widened and eventually open for larger vessels.
HMS Roebuck also provided invaluable survey capabilities and was in fact the first Royal Navy vessel
to dock at Umm Qasr.
HMS Roebuck

Commenting on the task, HMS Roebucks commander said;

The last charts to be made in the area were over 40 years ago, so our biggest problem was
to find out how accurate they were. The first few weeks work were very slow indeed
because we tow our sonar behind us, so we don't want to be the first to find a wrecked ship
Clearing the waterways involved a range of UN and USN forces, everything from the rapidly
introduced SWIMS system and One Shot Mine Disposal System to the hugely impressive CH-53 Sea
Dragons, even the US Navy dolphins played a part.
The Shallow Water Influence Minesweeping System (SWIMS) was designed to operate in the shallow
waters in the south of Iraq and was obtained as an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR)
SWIMS consists of a towed magnetic and acoustic source, a tow/power delivery cable, a
power conditioning and control subsystem, and an external or palletised power supply. Its
small size and reduced weight require minimum handling equipment, and it is deployable
from a helicopter or surface craft by two personnel. 12 QinetiQ modified remote controlled
Combat Support Boats (CSB) were also used to tow Australian Defence Industries (ADI) Mini
Dyad System (MDS) and Pipe Noise Makers (PNMs) ahead of the RN mine hunters as part of
the SWIMS payload. It is worth noting that the system demonstrator was available within 3
weeks of order placement, a truly remarkable feat.
Australian Defence Industries are now Thales Australia and this system have evolved into a
comprehensive package called the Australian Minesweeping System (AMS).
SWIMS comprised two main components, the towing boat and payload.
The towing boat was a rapidly modified Combat Support Boat, in service with the Royal Engineers
and Royal Logistic Corps. Modifications included telemetry and remote control equipment and
additional power generation and power distribution equipment.
The SWIMS payload consisted of multiple towed bodies in an array that was designed to simulate
the acoustic and magnetic signature of a ship, and would thus, fool the mine into detonating,
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possibly destroying the unmanned system rather than a real ship. In addition to floats and
connecting equipment, the payload array consisted of two towed bodies, a Pipe Noise Maker and
Mini Dyad. Pipe Noise Makers are simple and robust systems that do pretty much as the name
suggests, make noise. Mini Dyads sound small, at 7.7m long and weighing in at 1.6 tonnes, they are
not. They are simply a steel tube containing multiple steel and ferrite disc magnets with multiple
Mini Dyads arranged to simulate different magnetic signatures

Mini Dyad

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Pipe Noise Maker

SWIMS and HMS Brocklesby

The MoD selected the ADI system because it was the only one available that did not need additional
power and could operate in shallow waters. The system was ordered in late December 2002 and
delivered in late January, they were hired for 12 months and the acoustic generators purchased
outright. One complete array comprised 2 Mini Dyads and 2 Pipe Noise Makers.
The US Navy Mk 105 minesweeping sled is towed by a Sea Dragon MH53 helicopter and these were
used although with mixed results.
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Mk 105

The Royal Navy also used the Seafox one shot disposal system and over this initial period 450
contacts were detected and investigated, 15 of which were mines.

Aid Arrives
Although 12 tonnes of supplies reached Umm Qasr by truck, overland from Kuwait, the bulk of
humanitarian supplies would be through the port and the delay in clearing the port and its
approaches was contributing to rising tensions in the city. The Polish logistic support vessel
Kontradmira Xawery Czernicki escorted RFA Sir Galahad for much of the initial journey and then as
she approached the Khor Abdullah formed up into a convoy with a number of other vessels for the
final journey to Umm Qasr on the 27th of March 2003.
RFA Sandown led the convoy, arriving on the 28th March 2003, Berth 5, with 232.3 tonnes of
humanitarian supplies, gifted by Kuwait.
Sir Galahad Arrives

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RFA Sir Galahad was followed by RFA Sir Percivale a few days later.
However, ten days after the first port visit Lloyds were still refusing to insure civilian vessels, or at
least at a rate that was affordable. This lack of insurance meant larger vessels carrying the thousands
of tonnes humanitarian supplies needed by the people of Basra remained on ships in the Gulf.
The Spanish vessel The Galicia berthed after Sir Percivale and the channels were widened until larger
ships could dock.

Port Development
17 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC under the command of Lt Col Paul Ash were responsible for
bringing Umm Qasr back into service. Most of the damage had been caused by neglect and under
investment rather than military action by the Coalition, spare parts for machinery were una vailable
and most of the Iraqi civilian workers had been dispersed. The waterways had little or no safe
passage markers and the surrounding utility infrastructure was in poor condition.
By early May much of the immediately repairable damage had been repaired and in conjunction
with a number of civilian contractors shipping traffic increased.
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The 2,000 ton displacement US Coastguard Juniper Class Buoy Tender Walnut had installed
34 navigation buoys, the existing ones being either damaged or dangerously out of position. 25 of
the existing buoys were also removed. Interestingly, the USCGC Walnut history page indicates that
they knew of the deployment on 14th November 2002 which contrasts with the notice available to
UK forces. USS Grapple carried out a great deal of wreck salvage and on Friday 2nd of May a United
Nations World Food Programme ship docked at Umm Qasr and offloaded 14,000 tonnes of bagged
rice, contrasting starkly with the couple of hundred tonnes landed by the RFA vessels and the
USCG Walnut

USNS Grapple

Versi Dredge

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Umm Qasr Wreck

Umm Qasr Salvage

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Longer term rehabilitation would include all wreck removal, a more permanent dredging capability,
crane repairs, installation or repairs of aids to navigation, storage, parking and utility
services. Equipment ranging from large heavy lift barges and salvage vessels to self-propelled
dredging pontoons (Versi Dredge 5012L) were deployed. The port of Umm Qasr was handed back to
the Iraqis in May 2003 after which the slow process of full rehabilitation continued.
Even the trains were bought back into service.

The final dredged depth of 12.5m was achieved in 2010.

Opening and rehabilitating Umm Qasr was a significant feat that involved collaboration between US
Navy, British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy, Polish Navy and US Coastguard. The
follow on operation to expand he port and complete all salvage tasks would also have been
This all occurred against a backdrop of operations elsewhere and so the whole effort was relatively
un-newsworthy, but it was a perfect example of joint working that combined, survey, mine
clearance, the deployment of a link span and broad range of salvage and electrical and mechanical
engineering capabilities, even rail.

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Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere but after decades of poor governance it was
starting to pull itself out from that dubious title. The USA had a number of interests in the country; it
was a major source of mass migration, had many areas of weak governance that were a haven for
drugs transhipment activities and former President Bill Clinton had only recently been appointed UN
Special Envoy to the country.
US forces had also intervened militarily a number of times, most recently in 2004

The USA, therefore, would not stand idly by when on the 12th of January 2010 at 21:53:10 UTC
a magnitude 7earthquakestruck 16 miles West of Port au Prince.
230,000 people died, 197,000 were injured and over 1.2 million were displaced. 60% of the
government infrastructure was destroyed and over 100,000 destroyed with many more damaged
beyond repair.
Port au Prince was the main port for Haiti, handling an average of 230 TEU's per day in 2009
between the North and South Piers, about 95% of the nation's total.The other ports of Saint Marc,
PetitGoave, Miragoane, LesCayesandJacmelwere much less capable, especially for container

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Not in great shape before, the port facility was particularly hard hit and in the first few days a
number of US agencies conducted photo recce missions to try and determine the extent of the
The first was a US Navy P-3 Orion on 12th January.

The US Coastguard the day after.

And on the 13th, a USAF OC-135 aircraft.

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This initial survey confirmed that the port infrastructure had suffered significant damage.

The Washington gantry crane and one of the Gottwaldharbour cranes were in the water and the
quays either submerged or significantly weakened by liquefaction-induced lateral spreading. Ground
surveys managed to closer look at the scale of the damage. The North Pier (with the gantry crane)
was used for container traffic and the South pier, for break bulk cargo. Although not in the port,
electrical distribution equipment was also damaged or destroyed so no power would be available for
port operations, lighting for example.

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Not only was port infrastructure destroyed but there were also several hazards to navigation, reefer
container with their foam insulation presented a dangerous floating hazard.

By Air
Almost immediately the US military and Coastguard were forming response plans, many other
nations would also play a significant role. The immediate response would largely be'by air'although
USN ships were ordered to set sail or divert within hours. In less than 24 hoursthe damaged but still
usableLOuvertureToussaint InternationalAirportwas hosting units fromthe1stSpecial
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OperationsWingbased inFloridawho concentrated on restoring traffic management for the

inevitable onslaught on aircraft.
Air drops would also be used to supplement the air delivered supplies and personnel, the image
below shows a USAF C17 air dropping supplies on January 18th.

Commercial flight operations were restarted on the 19th of February.

From the 14th of January to the 19th of February the airport had managed to offload over 15,000
tonnes of freight andevacuate nearly 15,000 people over 6,000 sorties.

By Sea
Despite the obvious utility of air operations for rapid response and time sensitive materialsit was
obvious that overland from the Dominican Republic and more directly over the beach or through the
existing ports would have to be the main means by which the significant volume of relief supplies
wouldbe delivered.
Time-sensitive by air, volume by the sea.
The operation to get relief supplies into Haiti would make use of existing port facilities and 'over the
beach' and it is this allows a comparison of the two methods..
First to dock in Port au Prince, on the 18th January, was the Dutch support shipHNLMS Pelikaan

Before the Pelikaan arrived, the US Coast Guard was already there.
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On the 17th of January the USCG Cutter Oak arrived and after dropping off relief supplies at the
South pier embarked on her maintask of establishing safe navigation;in the next three days the
Oak, her crew and local harbour pilot surveyed the port andrepaired a number of buoys whilst
installing a handful of news ones.

Leading the Coast Guard response was the 11 personMaritime Transportation System Recovery
Unit (MTSRU), a rapid response unit whose role is to restore cargo traffic to damaged ports or those
suffering from some other incident. Aboard the cutter was also a command and control cell,
responsible for coordinating port movements in conjunction with what was left of the Port au Prince
Port Authority.
The US Navy and Coastguard involvement, summarised and reproduced in full from theAnalysis of
the USN Response;
The US Navy and Coastguard involvement, summarised and reproduced in full from
theAnalysis of the USN Response; The USS Higgins was returning from a CENTCOM
deployment and was in theAtlantic Ocean. She was immediately diverted to Haiti and she
arrived on 14January as the first U.S. Navy ship on-scene.
She was immediately diverted to Haiti and she arrived on 14January as the first U.S. Navy
ship on-scene.
The USS Higgins was returning from a CENTCOM deployment and was in theAtlantic
Ocean. She was immediately diverted to Haiti and she arrived on 14January as the first U.S.
Navy ship on-scene. The USS Carl Vinson had fortuitously gotten underway on the morning
of theearthquake, which gave her a great head-start. Vinson was able to off-load
theCarrier Air Wing and on-load helicopters (19 total) as she passedMayport,Florida on 13
January. These helicopters were able to arrive or be on their waywithin 12 hours of
notification. This rapidmaneuverallowed Vinson to arrive off ofPort-au-Prince by the
morning of 15 January.
The USS Carl Vinson had fortuitously gotten underway on the morning of theearthquake,
which gave her a great head-start. Vinson was able to off-load theCarrier Air Wing and onload helicopters (19 total) as she passedMayport,Florida on 13 January. These helicopters
were able to arrive or be on their waywithin 12 hours of notification. This
rapidmaneuverallowed Vinson to arrive off ofPort-au-Prince by the morning of 15
January. USS Bataan was activated as the Ready Duty Amphibious Readiness Group,
toinclude USS Fort McHenry and USS Carter Hall. These ships got underway fromVirginia
on 14 January to North Carolina in order to embark 22 MEU elements.
USS Bataan was activated as the Ready Duty Amphibious Readiness Group, toinclude USS
Fort McHenry and USS Carter Hall. These ships got underway fromVirginia on 14 January to
North Carolina in order to embark 22 MEU elements. These elements had recently returned
from deployment, and the Air CombatElement (ACE) had recentlydecomposited.
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Nevertheless, an ACE was created,though new, and embarked with the ARG along with the
rest of 22 MEU.
These elements had recently returned from deployment, and the Air CombatElement (ACE)
had recentlydecomposited. Nevertheless, an ACE was created,though new, and embarked
with the ARG along with the rest of 22 MEU.USSGunstonHall was set to deploy for Africa
Partnership Station, whichinvolves humanitarian operations and military training events
off of Africa.
USSGunstonHall was set to deploy for Africa Partnership Station, whichinvolves
humanitarian operations and military training events off of Africa.
GunstonHall was diverted initially from this mission andtraveledwith
theBataanARG/MEU, arriving with those ships in Haiti on 18 January.
USNS Grasp was diverted from Belize to assist with salvage operations and toserve as a
diving platform for divers (salvage and construction), first arriving on18 January after
loading personnel at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO) the daybefore. Assets from Naval
Oceanographic Office performed surveys of wharfs,piers, and approaches (using USNS
Henson and a Fleet Survey Team).A Joint Logistics Hub (CTF-48) was stood-up at GTMO on
18 January with theidea of providing a large pipeline close to the Joint Operating Area
(JOA). Thishub went into overdrive on 21 January, when Commander, Navy
ExpeditionaryLogistics Support Group (NAVELSG) took command.
A Joint Logistics Hub (CTF-48) was stood-up at GTMO on 18 January with theidea of
providing a large pipeline close to the Joint Operating Area (JOA). Thishub went into
overdrive on 21 January, when Commander, Navy ExpeditionaryLogistics Support Group
(NAVELSG) took command. A variety of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) units
A variety of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) units deployed. Divers from
Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) provided salvage and shiphusbandry skills.
Underwater Construction Team One (UCT-1) provided assetsto dive on and reconstruct the
South Pier at the Main Terminal in Port-au-Prince.
Divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) provided salvage and shiphusbandry
skills. Underwater Construction Team One (UCT-1) provided assetsto dive on and
reconstruct the South Pier at the Main Terminal in Port-au-Prince.
Security detachments from the Maritime Expeditionary Security Force (MESF)embarked in
Comfort to provide security, and a larger security force embarked inFort McHenry. A
Maritime Civil Affairs Team (MCAT) embarked in Bataan (and asecond team was part of
APS inGunstonHall). Various NAVELSG assets wentto GTMO as well as on USNS 1st LT
JackLummus(for JLOTS).
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seven (as well as Battalion Maintenance Unit 202
thatarrived on Williams) provided construction capability. And personnel fromCombat
Camera (at the Embassy) provided various visual recording capabilities.
USNS Comfort departed Baltimore on 16 January, much faster than the normal5-day
activation time for hospital ships. Much debate ensued over the staffing ofthe ship, but this
was worked out during transit, allowing the Comfort to arrive inHaiti on 20 January and
receive additional augments once on station. Othermedical assets also deployed to the
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other ships, including Fleet Surgical Teamsand a Casualty Receiving Triage Ship team (to
augment medical staffs on ships).
TheLummusarrived on 22 January with the first of Joint Logistics Over theShore (JLOTS)
assets for helping to flow supplies into the broken seaport. Otherships would arrive over
the next week with additional capability (SS Cape May,SS Cornhusker State, and the USNS
PFC Dewayne T. Williams).
The Nassau Amphibious Ready Group (with 24 MEU embarked) was due todeploy for
CENTCOM and missions involving Operation Enduring Freedom. TheSECDEF agreed with a
delay of this deployment, and the NAS ARG/MEU sailedfor Haiti and arrived on 23 January.
Thus by 24 January, most of the U.S. Navy assets had arrived, with work startingas soon as
they arrived in Haiti.The assets focused on the delivery of supplies: through GTMO and
through theships offshore of Haiti, and also using JLOTS and restoring capability at the
mainport of Haiti. They also delivered supplies that other organizations
neededtransporting. Assets provided medical care and transportation of medical
patientsand supplies. Assets provided security and also aided in the distribution of
largequantities of food at official World Food Program Distribution Points.
Throughout all of this activity, JTF-Haiti tried to coordinate with all of the groupson the
ground as everybody struggled to understand the true depth of the need.The demand
signal was quite elusive. No end states were given. Meanwhile,assets began to report
fewer and fewer earthquake-related issues and moregeneral problems that a poor nation
For example,GunstonHall noted thatfewer than 10% of patients seen at theKillickclinic on
27 January wereearthquake-related. Comfort made a similar observation the same day.
Almost three weeks after the earthquake, on 1 February, Vinson and BunkerHill departed,
having transferred most of the helicopters to Bataan and to GTMO. This point marked the
slow transition of U.S. Navy assets out of theater. As U.S. Navy assets initially departed,
many discussions asked whether or notother assets would arrive as relief. For example,
when discussing the departureof the Bataan ARG/MEU, initial efforts focused on
identifying another ARG, orperhaps an SPMAGTF on an amphibious ship. By the time
Bataan departed on24 March, one of the last ships to depart, discussions had shifted to
having anamphibious ship that was prepared to deploy, if needed.
By the time Bataan departed on24 March, one of the last ships to depart, discussions had
shifted to having anamphibious ship that was prepared to deploy, if needed.
Of the ships, the USNS Grasp stayed the longest, departing on 29 March afterembarked
Army divers and UCT-1 completed the south pier construction. NMCB-7 remained even
longer (through the end of April), as it transitioned to otherconstruction projects, and JTFHaiti looked to transition toward normalengagement operations.
The commander of JTF-Haiti turned command over on 18 April to a lower rankingofficer,
and then JTF-Haiti was finally stood-down on 1 June, 2010.
In contrast with operations at the airport, where US forces had absolute control, the Joint Task Force
- Port Opening (JTF-PO) made sure that the local port authority had the final say and the following
key activities were established.


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Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS)

Port Infrastructure Assessment and Repair

The most up to date survey of the area was 30 years old and given the likely underwater debris as a
result of the earthquake damage a new survey was the first priority. Not only would it be a
possibility that uncharted wreckage could damage ships but earthquakes can change the charted
depths so large cargo vessels carrying humanitarian goods running aground would be the last thing
needed by the hard-pressed city inhabitants.
The US Naval Oceanographic Officesent a Northrop Grumman CompactHydrographic Airborne
Rapid Total Survey (CHARTS) team from Nicaragua for five days to collect data about the
port.CHARTS is an interesting system thatuses a SHOALS topography/bathymetric LiDAR, Duncan
Tech small format RGB camera and aCASI-1500hyper-spectral sensor on Beechcraft King Air 200
turboprop aircraft. Post processing took place less than 24 hours after it was collected which allowed
the team to provide soundings, contours, digital elevation models, large scale charts, and
orthorectified image mosaics to Google for inclusion in their mapping products which were also
being augmented with GeoEye high-resolution satellite imagery.
Poor water clarity meant the LIDAR did not produce a great deal of useable imagery the other
sensors provided invaluable data and CHARTS was redeployed to other ports being used for the
logistic response effort.

Various commercial, NGO and voluntary organisations worked together to improve the mapping
products available to responders but what was needed was a close in survey of the port

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Whilst the US Navy senttheUSNS Hensonsurvey ship and aFleet Survey Teamthefirst survey team
ashore was theUS Army 544th Engineer Dive Teamequipped with a portablesidescansonar and
single beam echo sounder. They were initially hosted ontheUSNSGrasp, sister ship of
theUSNSGrapple, but were soon set up on the pier.
Fortunately, USNSGrasp was on exercise in Belize and was immediately re-tasked, after stopping at
Guantanamo to pick up supplies she arrived on the morning of the 18th.

The team carried out a number of bottom surveys and investigated the piers and quayside for
damage. The damage to the piers was extensive, made worse by the poor original state of repair, the
North pier was damaged beyond repair but and 800ft span on the south pier could be repaired in
situ. 150 piles required some form of repair between 2 and 8 feet below the waterline and 66 piles
required repair above the waterline. The repair procedures required loose and damaged materials to
be chipped away, holes drilled through the cap for new steel rebar and wooden forms created for
the concrete pour.
The repairs would need tools and materials to be shipped in and number of problems were
encountered such as the only aggregates available being too large created multiple hose blockages
that meant some of the repairs would be made with cement only. Tools also wore out much quicker
than anticipated diving conditions were very bad, sewage and oil spills compounding an already
difficult task.

544th Engineer Diver Team January 18th

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544th Engineer Diver Team January 23rd

Sharp eyed readers will note the Quadcons (containers) still on their 463L pallets used for air
carriage. The team would be joined by Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2, the Mobile and Diving
Salvage Unit 2 and Underwater Construction Team 1. The Fleet Survey Team (FST) comprised a four
person fly-away team with portable hydrographic gear initially hosted aboard theUSS Underwood
and then to the USNS Henson.
Their main task was to conduct an anchorage survey for the hospital shipUSNS Comfort. When this
task was completed they joined the team at the port to carry on with general survey tasks, including
installing a number of tide gauges.
USS Henson

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Tide Gauge Installation

Expeditionary Survey Vessel

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Between them, by the 30th had completed an accurate survey.

Initial Salvage and Repair Tasks

In parallel to the survey work the USNS Grapple and members of deployed force including the
Mobile and Diving Salvage Unit 2, Underwater Construction Team 1 and 544th Engineer Dive Team
started work on clearing the port area and approaches of containers, wrecks and other hazards to
navigation with the objective of enabling the port to open for humanitarian traffic.
Container Removal

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A secondary survey confirmed theSouth pier was repairable and the team got to work preparing the
damaged piles for repair.The USNS Grasp was equipped with a decompression chamber that was
used to treat a Haitian diver with decompression sickness
Pier Repair

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It was obvious the port would be in no fit state to receive shipping of any significant volume and so
the logistics effort for time critical supplies would need to go over the beach at Port au Prince and
overland via other routes. Ports in the DomincanRepublic and outside of the earthquake damage
zone in Haiti would be utilised but th e overland routes were severely congested.

Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS)

JLOTSis the US terminology for a Navy and Army combined capability to load and unload ships
without the use of port facilities. JLOTS has a very wide range of equipment but key to operations in
Haiti were the Improved NavyLighterageSystem (INLS) and a number of landing craft or lighters. It
arrived at Haitibetween the 22nd and 31st of January on theUSNS 1st LT Jack Lummus,USNS PFC
Dewayne T Williams,SS Cape MayandSS Cornhusker State.
How did it all fit together?
The SS Cape May bought the INLS components to location and offloaded them, these comprised 3
INLS Causeway Ferries, 3 INLS Warping Tugs, 1 INLS (Roll On Roll Off Discharge Facility (RRDF) and3
NL Causeway Ferries, 2 Side Loadable Warping Tugs. Cape May is a fascinating vessel, called a
SeaBeeBarge Carrier she uses a rising deck and sliding carriage arrangement to stow and launch
barges, pontoons or small craft.
SS Cape May

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1 LSV-1, 5 LCU 2000's, 1 LCM 8 and 2 MFP Utility Boats completed the JLOTSequipment.Once
offloaded the INLS equipment would be used to unload theLummusand Williams and transfer the
containers, stores and vehicles to shore.

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INLS Causeway Ferry

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RRDF and USNS Williams


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Landing Craft

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Another important piece of the JLOTS jigsaw was the SS Cornhusker State, a dedicated crane ship.
She would stand off about 3 miles from shore and transfer containers from one ship to
thelighterage. Supplementing the JLOTS equipment were USMC LCAC's, LARC's and other landing
Cornhusker State

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Onshore, there were a number of construction tasks to complete. In and around the port area were
three JLOTS receiving beaches, Red, White and Gold.

Red beach was the area between the North and South Piers at the main terminal, White Beach near
theVarreouxoil terminal and Gold Beach nestled between the two.
White Beach

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Within the port area a number of RORO ramps were built out of compacted rubble and earth,
another using a couple of INLS pontoons. This enabled the ships to discharge without beaching and
the pontoon allowed conventional stern ramp RORO ships to use the facility.

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INLS Causeway

RORO Slipway

LCU Unloading

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The Civilian Contribution

However impressive the JLOTS system is,it is designed to support an embarked force, not a city of
millions in dire need. The logistic jigsaw was incomplete without civilian shipping and a functioning
port. Overland routes from other parts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic were ramping up but the
port was still the main effort.
Overland routes from other parts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic were ramping up but the port
was still the main effort.

Civilian Shipping
Crowley Maritimeoperate inthe area and were instrumental in hugely increasing container
throughput over and above JLOTS, their contribution cannot be overstated.
In addition to shipping a large amount of supplies to the Dominican Republic port of RioHainaand
then on to Haiti, Crowley emulated the JLOTS system with larger ships offloading to lighters, except
the lighters were actually pretty large. After an earlier small scale trial the 820 TEU capacity
MVMarcajama container ship sailed into Port au Prince on the 28th of January and because the ship
had its own cranes, was able to offload 202 containers directly onto smaller vessels equipped with
bow ramps.
Cape Express

Cape Express and Cornhusker State

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MV Marcajama

Bahamas Express

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Crowley Shipper

The smaller landing craft style ships were chartered fromG&G Shippingbuilt bySt Johns
Shipbuildingin Florida. Able to carry up to 26 TEU in roll on roll off configuration or if stacked, 46
TEU theCape Expresswas one of those usedthroughout the period. The other commercial landing
craft used was the Sea Express II. It is difficult to match the offload capacity of these large landing
ships, especially if they can use an expedient ramp at an existing port where container storage and
transport facilities exist.
To provide some measure of scale, the Crowley Marine tug Justine Foss and RORO barge American
Trader docked on February 1st with over 6,000 tonnes of food supplies. Earlier, the Crimson
Shipping Crimson Clover docked at the South pier with over one hundred 40ft ISO containers.
Crimson Clover

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The MV Cristina Express large landing craft was used extensively by USAID and
SeacorHoldingsrepaired pipelines between the fuel terminal and harbour that allowed bulk fuel
deliveries to be made.The formerHawaiisuper ferries MV Alakai and MV Huaka were activated by
the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) for use on Operation Restore Hope and
transferredpersonnel, vehicles, plant and other supplies, the first arriving on January 30th.

Port Rehabilitation
The problem of double handling remained though, containers had to be offloaded from ships in the
harbour and shuttled to the terminal, a time consuming process despite being quicker and arguably
more efficient than JLOTS. What wassorelyneeded was a working pier that would allow large cargo
ships to dock and unload directly, cutting out the double handling overhead, none were available
because they had been destroyed. The bottom profile of the South pier enabled shallow draught
barges to dock but not the larger container ships that could offload directly.
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The solution had two components, clearing the port of all debris and installing a pair of large
spudded barges to act as intermediate quaysides.
Titan Salvage and Resolve Marine were on the way to Haiti on 19th of January. Resolveprovided the
salvage tug Resolve Pioneer and the spudded crane barge RMG-300. Concrete debris, vehicles,
collapsed pilings and Washington and Gottwald cranes were removed in order to allow the Crowley
barges to be spudded and commissioned.
Titan Salvage

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USTRANSCOM issued a contract with Crowley Marine for two large spuddedbarges (410 and Atka)
to act as piers for larger shipsin place of the damaged or destroyed North and South piers,in a not
dissimilar manner to the FIPASS barges used in the Falkland Islands. One barge was intended for the
North pier area and another the South, called APN (Autorite Portuaire Nationale) Blue and Red
respectively. Containers were also removed from the North quayside and an Associate Maritime
Salvage crane barge was used to install six 3 feet by 80 feet pilings to serve as anchor points for the
410 and Atka barges.
Container Removal

Crowley Barges

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APN Blue


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Because larger ships could dock and unloaded by mobile Manitowoc cranes directly onto
trucksthe400 foot by 100 foot flat deckCrowley barges transformed operations, increasing capacity
by a factor of two or three and once the second was installed, JLOTS was only used to carry military
stores and vehicles. Each barge was connected to the shore by 300 tonne capacity ramps.
Both barges are still there, joined aby another at the North pier.

The WIN Group (owners of theVarreux terminal) contracted with Seacor Marine toinstall a
temporary mooring point and pipework to allow tankers to offload. Fuel was flowing by 5th of

The UK Contribution
The UK's response was mostly carried on the RFA Largs Bay (now HMAS Choules) and Mexeflotes
were used to transfer the vehicles and supplies to shore in addition to acting as a general purpose
transport capability in support of the wider operation.
Loading in the UK
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17 Port and Maritime Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, and other members of her embarked
forcedelivered vehicles and buildings materials atPort-au-Prince.


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After completed the initial deliveries she was tasked by the WorldFood Programme (WFP) to deliver
food to areas that had been cut off by the earthquake, the village of Anse--Veau, in Nippes province
for example. The four day operation at the village delivered 275,000 ready meals, 30 tonnes of rice,
six tonnes of beans, more than 200 boxes of corn soya blend, 100-plus boxes of vegetable oil, and 13
bags of salt.

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The more you read about the earthquake response the more you realise what a simply magnificent
effort it was, Israeli and Iranian teams working side by side, the air and sea logistics effort (especially
by the Coastguard, Military Sealift Command and USN/USMC) and medical assistance were all
straight out of the top drawer. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary and 17 Port and Maritime Regiment Royal
Logistic Corps (those magnificent men and Mexeflote machines) also get an honourable mention.
But equally, lady luck and circumstance had a big part to play and so with the benefit of finest quality
hindsight goggles could things have been done any better?
Supply lines were short, there were many adjacent countries that offered support (not least the
Dominican Republic) and many of the responders were already in the area. It is often said that the
more one practices the better ones luck becomes and this was absolutely true for the main body of
military forces involved in the response, many having completed large scale exercises that practiced
many of the capabilities used only the year before. Despite this, the sheer scale of the response and
numbers of participants created many command and control problems as identified by the RAND
Analysis of the military response to the earthquake. The demand for tactical information at a
strategic level absorbed a great deal of time for little benefit, the long handled screwdriver as
useless as ever, driving activity from adverse media coverage a common problem.
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At its peak, there were 22,000 US military personnel engaged in Joint Task Force Haiti, each one
requiring food and water in a food and water constrained environment.
The geography and time of year also ensured that sea conditions were benign, another place and
another time may well have completely changed the ability of responders to get so much ashore so
Information and reconnaissance assets were invaluable but by Day 2, Google had made available
high resolution satellite imagery which would form the basis of a number of innovative mapping and
survey applications and arrangements with all responders reporting it as having a very positive
impact on the response.
Despite the local GSM infrastructure being damaged the communication tool of choice was the
Blackberry, being able to integrate civilian communication systems was a key lesson as was the
power of web services and SharePoint.
28 hours after the earthquake a small SOCOM team had air operations up and running at the airport,
a feat which they received well deservedpraise, from a normal 13 flight movements per day they
enabled an average of 120 movements per day for three weeks with a peak of 150 movements per
The divers at the seaport operated in atrocious water conditions without appropriate protective
equipment simply because none was available and the lack of joint training and equipment between
the Army and Navy dive teams introduced unnecessary delays. Divers actually took daily doses of
antibiotics and were constantly monitored for health problems, all for the lack of proper PPE.
The importance of material handling equipment (especially the Kalmar RTCH), being able to clear
pathways out of a port area and the ability to move supplies out of port areas were again reinforced.
Apparently minor capabilities like building a RORO ramp out of compacted earth and hardcore had a
huge impact on the ability to flow stores through the port.
The ISO container continued to prove it is much more efficient than break bulk, the ability of the SS
Cape May and SS Cornhusker State to load break bulk into containers was invaluable in the
reduction of crane and lighterage movements, moving half empty containers is a fools errand. Whilst
the JLOTS piers and lighters were invaluable for moving plant and vehicles to shore the amount of
double handling required for palletised and containerised stores meant in reality, it was quite
inefficient. If it has wheels, JLOTS is very good, if it doesn't, there is great deal of double and triple
handling to be considered.
This is a minor criticism of JLOTS, the capability as a whole enabled a significant throughput of
The average Seaport throughput pre earthquake was unclear, estimates ranged from223 TEU
equivalents per day to 100. In much of the subsequent reporting the lower figure seems the most
common but although the higher figure comes from Lloyds Register the source of the lower remains
unknown. Certainly, most of the comparison reports of JLOTS v existing seaport the lower figure is
used. The target figure is also difficult to pin down, originally it was 400 TEU per day, then 200-250
and then it stopped being reported.
By the 23rd of January, 2 Navy Lighterage piers enabled a figure of 100 TEU equivalent per day. The
addition of 5 Army LCU's on the 25th January pushed this to 300 and 5 days later when they were
also joined by 3 INLS systems that went up to 700 TEU per day equivalent. And yet despite this
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impressive throughput it was very labour intensive and the figures above are potentials, the actuals
were not as high.
The potential of the USNS Grasp was little understood, although she stayed the longest of any ship
and offered invaluable salvage, survey and diver support she was initially characterised by
SOUTHCOM as offering limited capability.
Survey and salvage are key enablers.
Delivering anything by helicopter, despite being very photogenic, is low capacity and inefficient,
particularly for dense stores like water. Much was made of the water generation capability of
amphibious warships and carriers but getting it to the point of need was another matter.
The large Army landing craft provided greater utility than the USMC and USN would like to admit.
Although the smaller ports around Port au Prince were in some cases undamaged they were
arguably under-utilised in the response, some of the JLOTS personnel and equipment might have
been better used for this and indeed some of the civilian response did actually make use of these
smaller ports.
What is abundantly clear is that 'at scale' there is no substitute for port facilities, going over the
beach is great for the short term but simply cannot meet high volume demand.
Whilst many focus on the military response one could reasonably argue that it was a number of
civilian governmental and commercial organisations that actually did the heavy lifting and received
less credit than they should have. Military Sealift Command, The Maritime Transportation System
Recovery Unit, US Coast Guard, Transport Command, Crowley Marine, Titan Salvage, Seacor and
Resolve Marine being notable examples. They were rolling quickly, often with only verbal
agreements in place, Crowley even had a small floatplane fly in a survey team on the 18th of
January, the Sea Express and Cape Express combined with the Marcajama and SS Cornhusker State
and the survey and debris removal paved the way for the port to open with the Crowley barges.

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The step change in throughput when the two barges arrived was noticeable (although the actual
profile in reality would have been smoother); as soon as the second Crowley barge was in place
JLOTS was only used for military traffic.
The first barge arrived on 13th of February after salvage and debris removal commenced on the 3rd
of February. If this salvage operation had commenced earlier the barges may have been available
sooner and the need for much of the JLOTS capability diminished.
That a single cheap and simplebarge with acrawler crane could delivermore than double the
assembled military capability throughput is an interesting observation.
They are not the same of course and this does not suggest that the US DoD should replace all that
JLOTS and Seabasing capability with a couple of barges but it might cause some pause for thought.
Nothing to see here, move along!
Finally, what about the British contribution?
Without being critical of those delivering it, lets be honest, it was fairly minimal.

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Current Doctrine and Capabilities

If we are to discuss improving capabilities for moving 'men and material' from ship to shore it is
important to look at existing capabilities, those of the UK and our allies to compare and contrast.
UK ship to shore logistics is spread across multiple services and organisations;

The Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Fleet Air Arm (CHF)
The British Army
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary
The Royal Air Force
Civilian Strategic RORO Service

With possible additions coming from standard civilian ship charters and in extremis, Ships Taken Up
From Trade or STUFT.
It is either a model of jointery or a complex inter service mosaic, perhaps depending on your
What is certain is that within the overall capacity constraints, it works, works well and amongst
NATO is second only to the USA in depth and breadth.

The MoD helpfully publishes all the main doctrinal publications.
British Defence Doctrine JDP 0-01 Edition 4 is the main document.
It lists the ten principles of war; Selection and Maintenance of the Aim, Maintenance of Morale;
Offensive Action, Security, Surprise, Concentration of Force, Economy of Effort, Flexibility,
Cooperation and Sustainability.
Subordinate doctrinal documents describe a number of other subjects in which ship to shore
logistics has relevance.
British Maritime Doctrine as defined by JDP 0-10 ,for example, describes one of the attributes and
roles of British Maritime Power as Lift Capacity;
For the UK, all major operations need maritime support to deploy, sustain, withdraw, or redeploy forces. Airpower can be used to achieve extremely rapid effect with light forces for
short periods, and provide an air bridge for more substantial operations. It can also be a
more practicable method of moving personnel, even large numbers.
However, sealift is the only practicable means of deploying equipment and logistic support
and then sustaining them at anything other than very small scale, due simply to the sheer
volume of equipment involved.
Even when an operation is a landlocked state, the majority of lift required to deploy and
sustain a joint force will be achieved from the sea. Sealift permits land and amphibious
forces to transit to theatre, poise offshore if required, and then enables joint power to be
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brought to bear ashore. It also may be the only means available for gaining initial theatre
entry if access basing and overflight permissions are not forthcoming from other states.
The Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary are the only force able to provide sealift in a
threat environment. In a benign environment, with maritime force protection teams
embarked, the strategic Roll-on/Roll-off ships (RO/ROs) provide the major MOD
contribution; larger operations generally utilise commercial chartered shipping.
Protecting the unhindered passage of sealift is an important duty for maritime forces.
Another tier of documents, the Joint Tactics, Techniques and Procedures includes 4-05 Operational
In Section 2 is a description of categories of infrastructure;
Sea ports of disembarkation.
Marine and maritime operations may be supported for a short time only, by over-the-beach
facilities using specialist equipment. However, a seaport provides a significantly greater
degree of flexibility and logistic capacity.
Harbours and port facilities can take years to develop. It is highly likely therefore that use
will be made of existing ports to support an operation rather than build a new one.
Nevertheless, additional facilities may be required at a port either for ship-to-shore transfer
or to store materiel prior to transit. Port infrastructure is generally large, heavy and
requires specialist design and manufacture in order to cope with the high loads and
damaging environment.
This can be very time consuming.
A key requirement during early planning for an operation will be to confirm that any
intended Sea Port of Disembarkation (SPOD) has the requisite handling facilities.
Often older ports will have cranes designed to off-load cargo from inside the holds of ships.
More modern ports are designed around bulk container handling.
Military operations are likely to require roll-on, rolloff (Ro-Ro) facilities.
Unfortunately, these are not commonplace in ports worldwide. A deployed force may
therefore need to repair and develop indigenous facilities. Annex 3B gives more detail on
the requirement for infrastructure to support marine and maritime operations.
Annexe 3B (mentioned above) provides more detail of infrastructure requirements, to summarise;
Sea Port of Disembarkation. A Sea Port of Disembarkation (SPOD) is principally a location
to offload personnel, stores, vehicles and other equipment from Strategic Ro-Ro and
commercial shipping. RN/RFA use of the SPOD would be determined by Maritime
tasking, the extent of the joint operations area and amount of shipping competing for
berths at the SPOD.
Forward Logistics Site. A Forward Logistics Site (FLS) provides a dedicated Maritime Intra
Theatre Lift (MITL) node for RN/RFA shipping.
Forward Mounting Base. In the context of maritime operations, a Forward Mounting Base
(FMB) is a location, possibly sited within the joint operations area, remote from the combat
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area, which has the facilities to enable the Response Force Task Group (RFTG)
to undertake:
(1) Tactical re-stow of munitions, vehicles and equipment within the attributed shipping.
(2) Weapon and equipment upgrades to ships (usually by contractor).
(3) Crew rotation on submarines and RFA.
(4) Recuperation combined with deep maintenance.
(5) Battle damage assessment, repair or recovery and
(6) Other logistic activities that cannot be easily undertaken in a busy SPOD.
Combat Service Support Area. Initial marine landing operations are supported through a
temporary Beach Support Area (BSA). This may quickly evolve into a Combat Service
Support Area (CSSA).
A CSSA provides a much more substantial degree of support than a beach support area.
It enables the Embarked Military Force (EMF) to replenish and acclimatise prior to further
operational tasking.
Infrastructure must provide for the storage for 2nd line stocks and other logistic functions
that may be required.
Forward Support Unit. A Forward Support Unit (FSU) provides 1st/2nd line engineering
support for vessels. In addition to holding spares an Forward Support Unit may also provide
environmentally controlled storage for munitions. It may operate from a forward mounting
Annex 3B2 also describes additional requirements;
Berthing facilities for RN, RFA and Chartered Commercial Shipping (with appropriate
licensing and Host Nation Support).
Helicopter operating areas.
Ramp to accept Strategic Ro-Ro vessels.
Container crane and other handling equipment required to unload materiel.
Personnel, mail and cargo handling facilities.
Secure storage for all classes of supply (including munitions).
Temperature controlled storage for medical supplies, such as blood products.
Water and fuel supply facilities.
Appropriate hard standing.
Force protection and life support facilities.
Integration with line-of-communications transportation (such as main supply route).
Secure communications.
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Assured access to logistics Information Systems.

Headquarters and technical accommodation.
Offices for port agency representatives.
The final doctrine type publication to look at is JDP 4-00 Logistics for Joint Operations
The diagram below, from JDP 4-00 provides a good overview of how the various elements fit

Annexe 4 has the specifics for the maritime environment including this section on Joint Sea Basing
Joint Sea Basing. Joint Sea Basing (JSB) is an option to complement expeditionary
operations by providing land effect from the sea. JSB is not restricted to logistics, but may
include strike, command and control (C2), Close Air Support (CAS) and fires.
Logistically, the use of properly loaded ships, RFA or commercially chartered, to support
other Components may assist in issues such as FP, the environmental impact on stocks and
even the Joint Desired Order of Arrival (JDOA), where capability held in the Maritime force
could allow earlier movement of FE that might otherwise have had to await lift assets.

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Use of the JSB for logistic support will be determined by the logistic estimate process and
will involve a high level of coordination between the Maritime Component and the JFLogC.
The JSB can be used to provide C2 facilities for HQ JFLogC.
Further detailed information can be found in BR 2002 Maritime Operational Logistics and CB
2002 Naval Manual of Logistics for Operations although these are not publicly available.
This wasn't specifically to discuss doctrine but to explain how whip to shore logistics sits within a
much larger construct and one that is extensively documented. It should be obvious that going over
the beach is only carried out if operational need dictates, the norm will be ports, but as we have
seen in the case studies, these ports might not always be in the best of conditions.
At this point it is worth describing how 3CDO fits into the subject area.
The Response Force Task Group is described as 'intrinsically joint and relies upon elements of all
three services to function'
The landing force for the RFTG is provided by 3 Commando Brigade whose standing commitment to
the RFTG is to provide a 1,800 personnel strong Lead Commando Group. The Lead Commando
Group can be landed and sustained from the sea, making use of the Royal Navy and Royal
Fleet Auxiliary ships;
The Royal Navy has 2 landing platform dock ships (HMS ALBION and BULWARK), one held
at extended readiness, 2 landing platform helicopter ships (HMS OCEAN and HMS
ILLUSTRIOUS), and 3 landing Ship dock (auxilliary) (LSD(A)) of the Bay class, one held at
extended readiness. The ships docks allow them to launch larger landing craft for
transporting heavy equipment; the landing platform dock ships and HMS OCEAN also carry
their own smaller landing craft, launched from the ships side, for transporting marines.
Since this was written, events have moved on and HMS Illustrious was decommissioned in August
2014 and one of the LSD(A)s seems to be permanently stationed in the Arabian Gulf providing
support to the MCM force.
The Lead Commando Group aims to get ashore in 6 hours, conducting two company assaults
simultaneously, one using landing craft and one using helicopters in support of raids, noncombatant evacuation or for 'limited theatre entry'
So, the size and shape of the UK's austere ship to shore logistics capability is really defined by the
size of the Lead Commando Group, for limited theatre entry and its wider role in the joint logistics
conveyor belt.
UK amphibious doctrine has long since dropped the need for opposed landings in the traditional D
Day/Iwo Jima style and emphasises raiding, limited theatre entry or support for other operations, as
mentioned above.
Much like our dalliance with effects based operations, RMA and the whole rapid reaction trend that
culminated in FRES there was also a similar trend in maritime and amphibious operations and a
whole new raft (see what I did there) of terms, ship to objective manoeuvre (STOM)
and operational manoeuvre from the sea (OMFTS)
Both have their origins in the USMC with Operational Manoeuvre form the Sea (OMFTS) envisaging
launching and supporting forces from ships up to 25 miles offshore against targets up to 175-200
miles inshore. It emphasises using the littoral and offshore as a 'manoeuvre space'
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Ship to Objective Manoeuvre (STOM) can be seen as a tactical support concept that allows forces to
move swiftly from shipping to inland objectives without the need to establish the traditional
lodgement and built up beach logistics areas.
OMFTS is of course nothing new, all the case studies had some element of it, the Falkland Islands
was a classic example, including what might reasonably be called Joint Sea Basing before the term
was institutionalised. In that context, Sea Basing was sustaining the force ashore solely from a
distributed sea base, or collection of ships but the critical difference between 1982 and what is
envisaged by the STOM/JSB concept is that we needed an intermediate step, the shore. STOM in the
context of 1982 was shore to operational manoeuvre.
Where STOM differed from the traditional approach was its preference for both manoeuvre and
sustainment from the sea base using helicopters and tilt wings. Because water, ammunition
and fuel drives the logistic footprint of a deployed force this preference buts a great deal of
emphasis on heavy lift helicopters and due to the distances required, fast ones.
Without, therefore, significant rotary lift, this sustainment element becomes impossible or at the
very least, extremely difficult. The Falkland Islands demonstrated this perfectly, although we tend to
focus on the single Chinook in theatre (BN) the bulk of the rotary lift was carried out by smaller
helicopters and lots of them but even with this, sustaining the force was an extreme challenge and
one which may well have been impossible to carry on should the campaign have lasted longer.
Logistics ships were very far from being 'over the horizon' when moving stores to the shore. They
would assemble and get ready well offshore but at night would move to San Carlos and discharge
their cargoes within spitting distance of the beaches. The ships were hastily loaded and cargo holds
often inaccessible and despite the best efforts of the 17 Port Regiment selective re-stowing on the
journey South and at Ascension Island proved problematical, Ascension of course having very little
port facilities. Without knowing where everything was and with complete accessibility the ability of
the force commander to make sure that stores arrived at the right place and the right time was
The lack of a true sea base and rotary lift had significant impacts; STOM was not possible, a
conventional Beach Support Area and logistics build up was required which took time and allowed
the Argentine forces to exact heavy losses whilst those combat support and combat service support
elements were established ashore. Later in the operation, delays in resupplying, especially
ammunition, would result in a number of delays putting British forces at a tactical disadvantage. The
basic lack of lift was also compounded by command and control issues such as the amphibious
commander being in charge of all helicopter movements and the land force commander not having
access to the relevant helicopter radio network.
STOM, therefore, needs lots of vertical lift if it is to achieve the objective of striking deep inland from
over the horizon with any meaningful force size. Sustainment does not necessarily need an over the
horizon sea base but having one reduces vulnerability by placing the sustainment bulk over the
horizon and away from shore based threats.
There is nothing at all wrong with STOM as a concept, it being a credible and sensible reaction to
increasingly effective shore based threats and the UK does have the capability, just not at a
significant scale.
Even the US forces with their huge amphibious and vertical lift capability recognise that sustainment
of the deployed force using just helicopters is impossible except in certain limited scenarios, the
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tonne-mile calculations just don't add up and when CASEVAC, aircraft attrition and adverse weather
are factored in it becomes even more ridiculous.
Complete asset visibility and the ability to optimise aircraft loading and flight plans so partially
loaded flights and wasteful light return journeys are minimised is also a prerequisite, but very
difficult to achieve.
This has resulted in a desire to counter this inability to use only helicopters (and in the USMC's case
the V22) with a more lethal and lighter force, mass and protection being substituted for speed and
combat power.
Think we have heard this one before.
Forces becoming lighter to match logistics constraints and not because of the need for light er forces.
With finite lift available a force commander will have to make difficult decisions between using
helicopters for combat manoeuvre and logistics support.
STOM and JSB are feasible concepts, they costs an arm and a leg though and as usual,
our doctrinal eyes are bigger than our budgetary belly.
We do at least call them different things, Maritime Contribution to Joint operations, Command and
Control Warfare, Maritime Fires, Air / Ground Manoeuvre Forces, Force Projection, Sea Based
Logistics and Force Packaging!

I will discuss this in greater detail later in this document but for now, a look at existing
capabilities and equipment available to the joint commander.

Hydrographic Survey is one of the jewels in the Royal Navy crown.
I am not going to go into the deep water hydrography capability as it is not relevant for this
subject but shallow water survey is vitally important and the Royal Navy has a range of small craft
and systems for this application.
HMS Echo and HMS Enterprise are relatively new vessels and are both equipped with sophisticated
sonar systems, seabed sampling and analysis equipment and a small survey launch, Sapphire and
Spitfire respectively. The ships are unusual in Royal Navy service because they operate at very high
utilisation with a 75 personnel crew providing 48 on board at any one time that allows the ship to
operate 330 days per year. They are equipped with azimuth thrusters and a bow thruster for precise
manoeuvre and station keeping.
In addition to their survey role they can embark additional personnel in the mine countermeasures
command role. Their equipment includes side scan, multi beam and single beam sonar, an
oceanographic and seabed profiler, bottom sampling equipment and Doppler current measuring
The launches allow survey equipment to be carried into very shallow waters to collect data which is
then merged and referenced to complete the complete picture. Equipment carried on the 9 tonne
9m long survey launches includes a Kongsberg 2040 Multibeam Echo Sounder, Kongsberg EA400
Single Beam Echo Sounder and a GeoAcoustics (now Kongsberg) 2094 Side Scan Sonar
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The EM2040 is used for high resolution mapping and inspection in shallow water. For accurate
survey work and second layer detection, the EA400 single beam echo sounder is deployed in
conjunction with GPS. The Sonar 2094 is a dual frequency side scan system used for wide area sea
bed scanning.
HMS Enterprise

HMS Echo

SMB Spitfire

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Kongsberg 2094 side scan sonar

EA400 Single Beam Sonar

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Kongsberg produce a good introduction to hydrographic survey equipment, click here to view.
These systems and technologies are combined with RN survey expertise to produce extremely
accurate surveys and charts of the seabed and water column.
Misrata Port Survey carried out by the Royal Navy

Sonar Images of an underwater object

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Most ports will already have some information available in the public domain or available in
the Additional Military Layers (AML) data set from the UKHO Defence Maritime Geospatial
Intelligence Centre, as ratified by NATO under STANAG 7170, but given the locations of likely target
ports detailed information may not be available so a rapid environment assessment is the first stage
in augmenting any existing information.
AML supports the following information sets;

Contour Line Bathymetry (CLB)

Environment, Seabed, and Beach (ESB)
Large Bottom Objects (LBO)
Maritime Foundation Facilities (MFF)
Routes, Areas, and Limits (RAL)
Small Bottom Objects (SBO)

In addition to AML, the Defence Maritime Geospatial Intelligence Centre provides Environmental
Briefing Dockets (EBD), Strategic Port Products and Beach Intelligence and Survey Database (BISD)
but they do not provide specific port capabilities information.
This additional material may be available through the wider defence geospatial information and
intelligence community, the Defence Geographic Centre in Feltham for example.
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Open source and commercial information can also be comprehensive, the Lloyds List, IHS Fairplay
Ports and Terminals Guide or Guide to Port Entry for example. There is no reason why this
information could not be exploited.

For amphibious operations the force commander will require information about beach gradients,
tidal ranges, soil conditions and obstacles. There may be no alternative but to mount a covert survey
operation using special-forces, dive equipment and even swimmer delivery vehicles carried on SSN's.
Chalfont SDV shelter

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Beach survey is a classic SF task.

The British Army (Royal Engineers) also maintain an extensive GEOINT and survey capability that
could potentially be used in a port survey task.
The Future Deployable Geospatial Intelligence (FDG) Project was part of a wider programme
called PICASSO that included Lockheed Martin UK, KNK, Marshall Specialist Vehicles, Polaris
Consulting, Safety Assurance Services and SciSYS.
The Tactical Information and Geospatial Analysis System(TIGAS) includes 11 Mowag Duro II 6x6
vehicles that provide a two man tactical exploitation environment and 3 20ft ISO container size
shelters used to house two man tactical map distribution points (TMDP).
FDG will deliver a data centric, geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) management, discovery,
dissemination and exploitation capability that addresses the deployable requirements of the
Intelligence Collection Group (ICG), including the provision of mobile and manoeuvrable working
environments at the tactical level.
FDG essentially consolidates a number of UOR's such as the DATAMAN servers introduced during Op
HERRIC and improves capabilities across the board although the selection of DURO is an interesting
choice. It will allow subject matter experts to maintain over 350 individual geo referenced layers
such as CIED, medical, imagery, patrol tracks and route characteristics. Dataman is based on ESRI
software that uses Dell servers housed in ruggedised cases, weighing approximately 300kg. Dataman
light reduced the weight by using Helix GIS Servers based on Getac X500 rugged laptops. The front
end uses a web based tool called GeoViewer that looks like the now very familiar Google maps.
Layers can be switched on and off and are available based on the users profile. Where
communications networks are constrained or intermittent cached data can be used and a recent
contract award to iOra will enhance this important aspect.
FDG achieved FOC in 2013 and has been in use since.
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The capability is operated by 42 Regiment Royal Engineers, comprising two Geographic Squadrons
(13 Sqn and 14 Sqn) and a Support Squadron (16 Sqn). 42 Regiment also includes an Army Reserve
Geo squadron, 135 Geographic
Unmanned airborne systems such as Watchkeeper, Reaper may provide high level imagery and the
smaller UAV's such as Desert Hawk and Scan Eagle would also be on hand to provide information in
support of the survey.

Maritime Mine Countermeasures

Whether the objective is to clear mines for safe passage of ships offshore or in support of a port
opening or amphibious operation the equipment used is likely to be the same.
Minefield breaching on land seeks to reduce the risk of mines and IED's to an acceptable level of risk.
That acceptable level of risk is determined by the requirement for rapid manoeuvre and the
protection levels afforded by equipment moving through the breach. Breaching a minefield on land
when going through the breach is a Challenger 2 main battle tank is likely to be a task conducted
under fire and at a high tempo. Clearance operations will reduce that risk even further, it is a slower
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process and seeks to provide confidence that the cleared operation is cleared of explosive hazards.
Civilian clearance operations will likely seek to provide an even greater level of assurance.
Clearly, breaching and clearing are not the same thing.
In a maritime context all ships will be vulnerable and so the distinction between what might be
termed combat breaching and assured clearance is rather academic. Some higher level of risk may
be tolerated (San Carlos in 1982 for example) but in general, cleared safe lanes with a high level of
confidence will be the main requirement.
There is also very little scope for equipment and training crossover, a minesweeper is not a great
deal of use on land!
In an amphibious operation, in the intertidal or surf zone, or in a port, there does exist some
capacity for equipment and technique re-use between domains.
Mines can be incredibly effective weapons, not only can they destroy shipping they can deny large
areas of sea to all traffic, choke off ports, restrict the flow of traded goods and generally have
impacts wholly disproportionate to their cost, a cost which is usually measured in peanuts. In 1991
for example, an Italian made Manta mine laid by Iraqi forces that cost the princely sum of $25,000,
put a multimillion Dollar US Navy Aegis destroyer, the USS Princeton, out of action.
On the same day, the USS Tripoli was very nearly sunk by another.

The best method by far for countering mines is to make sure they don't go into the water in the first
place so all the usual intelligence, surveillance, situational awareness and combat capabilities would
come into play but assuming there are mines, they will need detecting, classifying and if necessary,
The Royal Navy has traditionally placed a high value on its MCM capabilities, it is rightly considered
as one of the leading organisations in the field, if not the leader. It is also easy to forget that the
Royal Navy maintains a permanent MCM presence in the Gulf with an RFA LSD(A) ship operating in a
mothership or MCM Command role for quite some time, doing their work with little fanfare or
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Minesweepers are an enduring image of the battle against mines but the last combined influence
sweep system deployment was in 2005, the MCDOA provides a great look at this, click here to view.
The Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Officers Association has a wealth of great information
about the subject in general and you can lose many hours on their great website. There is also a
great deal of expertise in mine countermeasures in other European naval forces, the legacy of two
major conflicts means that even today, sea mines in European waters remain a very real threat to
shipping and sailors, especially fishermen.
Fundamentally, MCM has two mission definitions;
Expeditionary Missions; mines are a basic sea denial weapon, their objective is not necessarily to
sink ships but deny movement. Clearing Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) and supporting
amphibious operations are the most common expeditionary MCM requirement. The objective may
not always be the complete neutralisation or disposal of all mines but to provide assured access to
an acceptable level of risk. Accurate surveys will be required for most expeditionary operations as
well, especially amphibious and port operations.
National Missions; we should not forget the legacy of old sea mines and other unexploded
ordnance. Any new capability must still be able to counter these old fashioned but no less deadly
threats. In addition, harbour and port clearance are national missions. Accurate charting is essential
to safe navigation and operations for both surface and sub-surface equipment. This mission is
carried out on a routine (the sea bed is constantly changing) and reactive basis
For the purpose of this proposal, the focus will be on expeditionary capabilities.
The threat from mines is usually expressed in terms of their environment and type, the diagram
below is from a US publication and provides a good overview.

They can range from simple moored contact mines (with the familiar Hertz Horns) to intelligent
types than can be programmed to analyse pressure change, magnetic and acoustic signatures and
then match them to a library of target types. If the signature matches, for example, an aircraft
carrier, it will detonate. If the signature does not match an aircraft carrier the mine will remain
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This makes them very dangerous, especially if they are launched from submarines or other standoff
What this diagram does not show however is the potential for mines in port areas and IED's in and
around port infrastructure such as quays, buoys, warehouses and slipways.
Much of the effort for port clearance operations will be conducted in approach lanes, again, the Iraq
2003 case study showed the effort required away from Umm Qasr port area.
The current RN MCM fleet consists of the Sandown class with the variable depth multimode Thales
Sonar 2093 which is designed to detect mines through the water column to a depth of 200m and
the Hunt class fitted with the hull mounted wideband Thales Sonar 2193 which detects and
classifies small mines up to 80m depth.
Both have the NAUTIS 3 combat management system.
Sandown Class
HMS Bangor, HMS Blythe, HMS Grimsby, HMS Pembroke, HMS Penzanze, HMS Ramsey, HMS
Hunt Class
HMS Quorn, HMS Middleton, HMS Ledbury, HMS Hurworth, HMS Chiddingfold, HMS Cattistock,
HMS Brocklesby, HMS Atherstone
Both classes can embark low magnetic Mine Clearance W525 Workboat that has been designed to
comply STANAG 2985 that can also be used for general purpose ROV launch and recovery.
HMS Bangor - Sandown Class

HMS Brocklesby Hunt Class

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Sonar 2093

IMCMEX 2013 Video
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This three part documentary on HMS Brocklesby released in 2011 provides a good overview.
The Royal Navy can deploy a number of unmanned systems in support of the mine countermeasures
Remus 100; After witnessing the Hydroid Remote Environmental Measuring UnitS (REMUS) 100 in
Iraq the Royal Navy, via QinetiQ, obtained two in 2004 to enhance the then emerging research effort
into very shallow water unmanned operations. The Royal Navy at the time, had nothing that could
operate in very shallow water, the existing ECA Robotics PAP 104 Mk 4 and 5 underwater vehicles
being too large. [Click here for an amusing story of one of our yellow submarines is missing]
After a round of successful trials another 10 systems were purchased. The Remus 100 is very low
cost, less than a quarter of a million pounds each, and was seen as a cheap de-risking stepping stone
towards the future capability.
Hydroid are now owned by Kongsberg, click here for datasheets and further information.
The Royal Navy contracted with Kongsberg to upgrade the 12 in service REMUS100 systems to
include a BlueView Technologies 3D MicroBathymetry system, Kongsberg Geoacoustics GeoSwath
interferrometric sonar, modular endcaps and digital ultra short baseline (USBL) acoustic positioning
systems. Some were also fitted with an Inertial Navigation System. The Remus 100 is used for
shallow water identification and search and most recently has also been upgraded with new sonar
systems from Seebyte.

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Remus 600; The REMUS 600 (RECCE) Underwater Unmanned Vehicles (UUV) came into service in
2009, complementing the smaller REMUS 100 UUVs that entered service a few years early. REMUS
600 is generally used for larger volume search, detection and classification in waters between 30m
and 200m.

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Seafox and COBRA; after the two REMUS vehicles have detected and classified the mine it is the job
of the Seafox to get rid of it. The Seafox is a one shot mine neutralisation system, simply put, it
swims to the mine and blow itself and the mine up. In 2003, to support operation in Iraq, the Royal
Navy leased a handful of Seafox vehicles and supporting systems from Atlas Elektronik for use
in Iraq with HMS Blyth and HMS Bangor modified to operate them.
Seafox has been continually developed by Atlas and now comes in two variants (plus a training
version), Combat and Inspection. The Combat variant is armed with a 1.4kg shaped charge, the
Inspection variant isnt. They can be distinguished by colour, black = combat and orange =
inspection. Launching is carried out using a crane attached cradle and recovery uses a basket, again
attached to a crane.
It is a very simple, robust and effective system. The Mk II variant introduced a capability to destroy
floating mines and the latest version has a safer fuse system if it needs to be recovered without
being fired. The inspection variant has a 360 degree sonar and internal navigation system for
autonomous operations.
Also in 2012, the COBRA neutralisation charge was introduced to service. COBRA is a demountable
EOD disruption device designed to be placed in close proximity to a mine or unexploded munition
and the launch vehicle withdrawn to a safe distance. A buoy is released with an RF receiver that
receives the firing signal from an operator, up to 22km away. The charge is initiated by a number of
other methods including shocktube and acoustic. The COBRA makes a lot of sense given the cost of
the Seafox, instead of being a disposable one shot system, Seafox is now capable of being reused,
much cheaper to blow up a COBRA than a Seafox.
Read more about COBRA at ECS Special Projects, the people who developed it.

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Clearance Divers; the unmanned systems are designed to reduce the need for clearance divers but
they cannot be used for everything. Clearance divers use a range of specialist equipment from low
metal fins to the ordnance recovery system, mostly supplied by Divex in Aberdeen, it is a highly
specialised trade. Clearance divers can be from the Royal Engineers or Royal Navy. A relatively new
system is the Clearance Diving Life Support Equipment (CDLSE), a closed circuit re-breather design.


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Avon W525

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RE Drivers in Iraq

Supporting NATO operations, amphibious operations, securing Sea Lines of Communication,

providing harbour defence and clearing legacy munitions the current fleet (even accepting recent
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reductions) is highly effective. OPERATION KIPION replaced TELIC and CALASH and is the name for
the broad range of East of Suez operations. Bahrain is the main operating location and the Royal
Navy has four mine countermeasures vessels in the area supported by reasonable
sized battlestaff and a Bay Class LSD(A) acting as an Afloat Forward Staging Base.
The vessels have had a series of communications, protection and environmental upgrades applied
before operating in the area and the two types of vessel/sonar complement each other in the high
ambient water temperature and salinity of the Gulf.
This permanent presence started in 2006 and has progressed through a couple of operational
phases, AINTREE and HECATE for example, and this latest deployment is called the UK MCM
A regular mine countermeasures exercise is held every year in the Gulf that called IMCMEX has
recently been broadened to include Maritime Security Operations (MSO) and Maritime
Infrastructure Protection (MIP)
RFA Cardigan Bay during International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 13

IMCMEX 2013 and 2014 Videos
It would be remiss not to mention that the battlestaff make use of ISO container based workspaces
that can be transferred to the LSD(A) or operated from the shore!

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Future Capabilities
Time does not stand still and the Royal Navy is involved with a number of research projects and
development programmes to examine future concepts. The rise of unmanned systems to counter
mines has come about for a number of reasons but primarily, the desire to remove sailors and divers
from the mined environment as much as practicably possible and increase throughput against
potential enemies that might make extensive use of decoys.
One of the most significant challenges with MCM systems ensuring they have sufficient fidelity to
reject seabed debris and maintain recognition and disposal throughput.
After the UOR enabled MCM operations in Iraq had concluded, a programme to look at the next
stages of MCM was launched.
The approach by the Royal Navy was (and is) one of sensible conservatism, existing systems like the
REMUS and Seafox families would be developed incrementally and the MCM fleet maintained and
updated as required, the recent engine replacement programme for example.
In parallel, more ambitious programmes would be advanced.
The Future Mine Countermeasures Capability (FMCMC) accurately predicted that the future of MCM
would use portable, off board and dedicated systems, POD for short, able to carry out recce,
hunting, sweeping and disposal tasks. This was aimed at addressing issues such as speed of
deployment and cost where it was supposed to operate from the then proposed C3 class of vessels
(Ocean Capable Patrol Vessel) in the Sustained Surface Combatant Capability (S2C2) / Future Surface
Combatant programmes. It was intended that FMCMC would be demonstrated using existing MCM
vessels and matured, before transitioning to the C3.
In 2009 The Future Mine Countermeasures Capability (FMCMC) was absorbed into another
programme, Mine Countermeasures, Hydrographic, and Patrol Capability (MHPC).
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The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) confirmed that the Mine Countermeasures,
Hydrographic, and Patrol Capability (MHPC) would eventually replace the existing MCM and Survey
vessels. Subsequent agreements with the French have also seen a commitment to a joint
programme. It also became clear around this time, as the FMCMC had suggested, that mine
countermeasures would be about removing the need for clearance divers as much as possible,
reducing the need for dedicated platforms and increasing deployability. I think it also signalled the
end for highly specialised, low magnetic, quiet and ultra-expensive MCM vessels, maybe not soon,
but definitely on the horizon. These goals pointed to compact deployable set of equipment that
could be operated at stand-off distances from any vessel or the shore.
Despite this, many commenters concentrated on the Patrol aspect of MHPC, suggesting small
warships such as the Austal Multi Role Vessel (MRV) and BMT Venator.
Off board and unmanned systems would be developed, proven and deployed from existing
specialised MCM vessels whilst still retaining the capabilities of those specialist vessels, hull
mounted sonars for example. If off board systems could be proven as effective from any vessel then
the platform from which they were operated from could be considered separately. It also recognised
that no matter how unmanned and autonomous systems developed the skills of the clearance diver
would still be needed in some circumstances and the tremendous advantages of the human
eye/brain would take some time for a machine to best. Finally, MHPC recognised the convergence of
MCM and Survey, much of the equipment used in MCM operations had been developed for offshore
survey and engineering, the REMUS 100 being a very good example.
October 2012 saw the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) announce five short
listed candidate companies to enter the next stage of the harmonised UK/French maritime mines
countermeasures programme. For the French, it is the Systme de Lutte Anti-Mines Futur (SLAMF) and the UK, Mines Countermeasures, Hydrographic, and Patrol Capability (MHPC). Although
these two existing programmes had differences there was thought enough commonality for a joint
approach, managed by OCCAR and agreed during the recent Anglo French defence accord.
Both would concentrate on creating a system that would support off board detection, classification
and neutralisation of a range of mines.
The short listed companies entered the invitation to participate in dialogue phase. These were Atlas
Elektronik, Thales, ECA Robotics, QinetiQ and Ultra. DCNS, Thales and ECA had previously partnered
to work on the SLAM-F programme and produced the Espadon (Swordfish) demonstrator that made
use of a 25 tonne 17m vessel called the Sterenn Du (Black Star) that could launch and recover
three smaller ECA unmanned vessels, each with a specific role called ALISTER 9, 18 and 18-TWIN.

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Bluebird Electric have very good coverage of the SLAM-F programme, click here to read more.
Further technology demonstrators that were being used to inform MHPC were Flexible Agile
Sweeping Technology (FAST), Littoral Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LUUV), a combined command
system and the Tactical Maritime Unmanned Air System (TMUAS).

TMUAS Concepts

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QinetiQ and ADI put together the SWIMS system in record time but obviously some refinement was
In 2007 QinetiQ, Atlas Elektronik and the EDO Corporation (Atlas Consortium) were awarded a
4.3m contract from the MoD to develop;
A mine counter measures (MCM) flexible agile sweeping technology (FAST) technology readiness
demonstrator (TRD) that will ultimately enable MOD to put a combined influence sweep (CIS)
replacement into service using FAST Technology. Key objectives for this programme include derisking the key technologies for a unmanned surface vessel based MCM influence capability and the
development of technology and system integration maturity, using a design and build TRD
programme. Quantified mine sweeping performance and effectiveness against mine threats in a
realistic scenario will be demonstrated along with deployment, recovery and capture of a FAST
unmanned surface vessel from an MCM. The development of an open architecture approach to the
FAST components and the transfer of MOD mine sweeping research knowledge to the UK industry
supplier base are also important.
Shortly after contract award EDO Corporation was acquired by ITT, eventually the defence business
was spun out to Exelis.
Work continued but in 2009 QinetiQ sold its interests in this sector to Atlas Elektronik for 23.5m.
Hamilton Waterjets published a short summary of FAST in 2009 including a nice visualisation of a
pair of FAST boats on the deck of an RN MCM Vessel. Hamilton Waterjets provided the propulsion
systems for Combat Support Boats and it was a modified Combat Support called a Logistic Support
Boat that formed the basis of the FAST boat. Similar information was also found in the June 2008
issue of Marine News, click here to view.


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After a critical design review trials took place in 2011.

By 2011 Atlas had evolved the system into something called the Containerised Integrated Mine
Countermeasures System (C-IMCMS)
The C-IMCMS (Containerised Integrated Mine Countermeasures System) consists of a port-able
combat management system as well as the analysis software CLASSIPHI for post mission analysis of
side-scan sonar data, the unmanned surface vessel (USV) FAST, the autonomous underwater vehicle
(AUV) SeaOtter Mk II and the mine disposal system (ROV) SeaFox. The system was deployed from
the shore; operations on board various ship types are also possible.
Some components of C-IMCMS are already in service with the Royal Navy, Seafox and the Classiphi
software for example, others not, the Sea Otter.
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Other systems considered included the Kockums Self Propelled Acoustic Magnetic Sweep system
(SAMS), the Exelis Modular Advanced Remote Controlled Surface Sweep System and ADI (now
Thales Australia) Advanced Minesweeping System, the latter being used as part of the SWIMS UOR
in Iraq.
Excelis Modular Advanced Remote Controlled Surface Sweep System

Thales Australia AMAS Combined Sweep System

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Underpinning these demonstrators and early work were studies into the provision of bandwidth, low
frequency ground penetrating sonar, command and control infrastructure and signature emulation.
The two year 2012 Rotary Wing Unmanned Air System (RWUAS) Capability Concept Demonstrator
(CCD) replaced the Tactical Maritime Unmanned Air System CCD project that was cancelled in 2011
With the contract award to BAE for the new Offshore Patrol Vessels MHPC has now become MHC.
The Mine countermeasures, Hydrographic and Patrol Capability Programme (MHPC) has now been
renamed the Mine countermeasures and Hydrographic Capability (MHC). The name was changed
following the announcement of the Maritime Composite Option (MCO) deal between MoD and BAE
on 6 November 2013, which included the purchase of 3 new Offshore Patrol Vessels and therefore
delivered the Patrol solution.
Work undertaken during the Concept Phase produced compelling evidence that unmanned, offboard systems (OBS), deployed from low-value steel ships, or from ashore, could deliver most
elements of the capability. However, a solution based on like-for-like replacement of the current,
low-signature Mine Countermeasures Vessels (MCMVs) and Survey Vessels (SVHOs) cannot yet be
The Programme passed Initial Gate in July 2014 and was approved to proceed to the Assessment
Phase with the associated funding. MHC has been designed as a transformational and incremental
programme that will update and subsequently replace the full existing MCM and Hydrographic
capabilities to provide assured maritime freedom of manoeuvre, delivering mine hunting,
minesweeping and hydrographic mission systems (including remote controlled OBS) to legacy and
future platforms.
Marine OBS are widely used in the commercial sector, but are not yet fully proven for naval
operations. The Assessment Phase will aim to reduce the risks associated with the naval use of OBS
and determine the cost-effectiveness through:

Three advanced technology demonstrators.

A controlled trials programme.
Technical studies and programme analysis.

The Assessment Phase is now underway, albeit in its early stages

Since then, competing manufacturers demonstrated their entries for the programme.
The media below, from Thales, shows the general concept of operations for Halycon, operation from
a shore location and using a Remotely Operated vehicle for inspection and disposal. The ROV shown
is from Saab, the SeaEye Falcon, equipped with a multi shot disposal system called the multimine
neutralisation system, or MuMNS.
Thales/ASV Halcyon

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ARCIMS, from Atlas Elektronik, has been developed over quite a long period from the various
systems such as FAST and SeaFox. Atlas teamed up with the makers of the Bladerunner speedboat,
ICE Marine, to create the Motorboat Hazard. The small unmanned ROV is the Ocean Modules V8
M500 Intervention, click here for the brochure.

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Ocean Modules M500

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Earlier this month (April 2014) two contracts were awarded under the joint UK/French programme.
The first was to Thales.
On behalf of France and the United Kingdom (UK), OCCAR has awarded the Maritime Mine Counter
Measures (MMCM) contract to Thales Underwater Systems, in collaboration with BAE Systems and
their partners in France (ECA) and in the UK (ASV, Wood & Douglas, SAAB UK)
The 22m 15 month contract covered the first design and definition stage. It also secured an agreed
fixed price for tranche 2 and 3, manufacture and support respectively. The Thales led consortium
includes Wood and Douglas (Ultra) for the telemetry and data link, ECA for autonomous underwater
vehicles, BAE for mission management and simulation systems, SAAB for remotely operated vehicles
(ROV) and Autonomous Surface Vehicles for the surface vessel.
Each system will comprise a USV (Unmanned Surface Vehicle) equipped with an autonomous
navigation system, an obstacle detection and avoidance sonar, a threat identification and
neutralisation capability based on ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles), a T-SAS (Towed Synthetic
Aperture Sonar) and AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles). The geo-located AUVs will use the
latest-generation synthetic aperture sonar SAMDIS with multi-aspect functionality for improved
classification. They will perform their tasks autonomously with control from a host ship or shorebased station via high-data-rate communication links.
Thales will develop a portable operations centre (POC).

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The ECA component will be developed from its A27-M, the largest in its portfolio, and will include
the Thales Synthetic aperture Sidescan Sonar (SAMDIS) sonar.

ECA will also be responsible for the launch and recovery system (LARS) which will enable non
specialised craft to operate the system in challenging sea conditions.
One of the main outcomes from operational use of autonomous and other mine detection,
classification and neutralisation systems was the realisation that they are slow. If the enemy were to
deploy visually similar decoys in large numbers, or simply large numbers of actual mines, the
clearance operation would simply be overwhelmed unless there were many systems working in
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This led to a much greater appreciation of the value of combined influence sweeping, a technique
from the old school that had been mostly withdrawn in most naval forces. The Royal Navy, with its
positive experience from Iraq and SWIMS, persevered. Research and development contracts for the
Atlas Elektronik FAST system being a good example of maintaining this engagement.
And so the second contract announced a short time ago was to Atlas Elektronik for the continued
development of their FAST/ARCIMS system. The 12.6m 3 year contract will lead the full
development of the solution that can be deployed from Hunt Class MCM vessels. Block 1 calls for the
development of the prototype, Block 2, integration with the Hunt Class and Block 3, manufacture of
a system developed as a result of trials activity. Jane's reported that the final configuration is likely
to include 4 unmanned systems housed in a Reconnaissance Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Hangar
(RUUVH) on board.
Jane's also reported;
Towing speed is typically 8 kt. The ARCIMS sweep mission module payload set comprises a
power generation module, and towed sweeps for acoustic, electric, and magnetic
When Atlas delivered the two ARCIMS launches to the Royal Navy they delivered them in two
configurations, the first was in the form of the RN Motorboat Hazard, pictured above, and the
second, with equipment for the combined influence sweep system.

Reading the tea leaves, it looks though the Royal Navy will potentially be using two unmanned
surface vessels, the Atlas ARCIMS for sweeping and the Thales/ASV for AUV operation. It is also
uncertain what will happen to the existing REMUS and Seafox equipment.
However MHC actually develops I think there is a high probability it will be operated from existing
MCM vessels, vessels of opportunity, the shore and even this;

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The programmes continues.

Even more recently, the MoD has ordered three UUVs equipped with SeeBytes SeeTrack Neptune

The UUV's are the Ocean Server Iver 3 fitted with L-3 Klein 3500 sonar, WHOI Micro Modem 2 and a
navigation system comprising Teledyne RDI Doppler Velocity Log and KVH Fibre Optic Gyroscopes.
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These will demonstrate further integration of autonomous operation software.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal

When we think of a mine in a maritime context we tend to visualise these;

Not these;

But in a port opening or amphibious operation deployed force will likely encounter more of the
latter than the former.
In an amphibious operation that makes use of beaches, the beach and area immediately to the rear
may well be mined with conventional anti-tank and anti-personnel mines. If the object of the
operation is to augment or open an already established port the scope for conventional mining and
IED's is extremely broad.
Port facilities, warehouses, cranes, quaysides and harbour walls are easy to mine but difficult to
The Royal Navy Fleet Diving Squadron has two Diving Groups, North and South, that provide EOD
from the high water mark to the UK territorial limit, on vessels, the RN estate and offshore facilities.
The Royal Engineers are responsible for the clearance of WWII German bombs (except those in
crashed aircraft which the RAF look after), land mines and military booby traps. Just to make this
even more complex, they also deal with service ammunition above the high water mark or non-tidal
water (rivers and lakes) except those specifically within the remit of the RAF, RN or RLC.

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The Royal Engineers will also be used where functions like drilling or excavation are required and
also provide specialist high risk search capabilities. The Land Forces EOD and Search Branch was
established in 2010 with the aim of providing a single focus for all policy, direction and inspectorate
responsibilities. The Royal Logistic Corps, because of their expertise with ammunition have generally
dealt with the more complex IEDs. The RAOC were made responsible for disposal of defective
munitions in WWI and this continues today, they retain the lead for all IED disposal activities.
Joint Defence Pamphlet 2/02 Joint Service Explosive Ordnance sets out the details.
After many years of operations in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan the British forces have a
very well developed joint Counter IED and EOD capability.
When is an IED an IED and when it is a mine or military booby trap, when does it need clearing or
when does it need recovering for intelligence exploitation are sources of this apparent overlapping
of responsibilities?
Route clearance is the specific activity of ensuring a specific route is free (to an acceptable level of
risk) from devices and able to be trafficked, it has a related activity called route proving which
confirms a route is clear before being opened for traffic. It the context of this proposal there may be
a number of phases in the clearance operation, each expanding the cleared perimeter and
decreasing risk of munitions and IED's being still active.
Equipment and means have evolved to span everything from the the slow and deliberate manual
neutralisation of a car bomb in a Belfast street to the high tempo battlefield mine breaching using
line charges and armoured ploughs on main battle tank derived vehicles.
The Talisman capability evolved during the Afghanistan deployment, it is used, broadly speaking for
two tasks; Combat Logistic Patrol (CLP) route assurance where it will lead the vehicle convoy, prove,
and if necessary, clear the route and deliberate clearance to open routes that are used by ISAF
forces and local civilians. Talisman is not just a collection of kit but a thoroughly thought through and
constantly evolving series of techniques and procedures and no doubt it will continue to evolve. The
Talisman Squadron is a Royal Engineer route clearance Squadron for Task Force Helmand. Personnel
are mainly Royal Engineers but also include medics, Royal Logistics Corps (RLC), Royal Electrical and
Mechanical Engineers (REME), and Royal Artillery cap badges.
The vehicles and equipment used by the Talisman Troop include a specially equipped Mastiff vehicle,
known as Protected Eyes, and a Buffalo the most highly protected vehicle on operations. There is
also a small robot on caterpillar tracks known as a Dragon Runner. It is armed with high tech optical
equipment which can be operated from the safety of the armoured vehicles. Once the IED threat has
been dealt with, the high mobility engineer excavator (HMEE) is brought into play. One of the key
differences between the HMEE and the other armoured plant in theatre, the armoured Light and
Medium Wheeled Tractors, is that it can move at the same speed as the convoy without additional
low loaders being needed to carry it. A standard Talisman system comprises two Buffalos, 4
Mastiffs, two HMEEs, two Dragon Runner UGVs, two T-Hawk micro unmanned air vehicles,
recovery vehicles and a number of stores vehicles but this can vary as needed.
The Mastiff is used for command and control and general support, featuring a Remote Weapon
Station and elevated Remote Optical Target Acquisition System (ROTAS) sensor package with a high
magnification and multi sensor capability. This vehicle is often referred to as the protected eyes
version. The Mastiff is also seen equipped with mine rollers, a device that has seen a resurgence in
Afghanistan. Many people think these are the Self Protection Adaptive Roller Kit (SPARK), now
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owned by Pearson Engineering, but they are not, instead, the MoD purchased over 100 Panama City
Mine Roller Systems Gen III that the USMC have used since 2006 and made by the Naval Surface
Warfare Center. The Buffalo is the main search vehicle, sometimes called the Buffalo rummage. The
JCB HMEE is used for a variety of purposes such as repairing damage caused by controlled explosions
of IED detonations, creating earthworks, repairing culverts, route remediation works and other
supporting tasks.
The QinetiQ Dragon Runner is more numerous and used as part of the Talisman capability for less
demanding tasks than CUTLASS. Honeywell produce the vertical take-off and landing 45 minute
endurance T-Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle that is used for remote viewing of suspect locations and
its downdraft for dispersing soil and other possible cover materials. The Mini Minewolf
MW240 (called Abacot in UK service) is used in route improvement operations, to demolish walls,
cut down hedges and trees and other tasks to improve the safety of existing routes. A number of
different attachments are available including a gripper bucket, forklift, bucket, sifter bucket, dozer
shield and vegetation cutter. A flail attachment is also available but this is not to be confused with
the tiller and vegetation cutter. Finally, the Panama Snatch is used for remote sensing and detection
of buried IED's.
Dragon Runner

T Hawk

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Elements of the Talisman capability could potentially be used in port clearance operations, in
addition to other protected plant and the broader C-IED and search capability, elements of which are
shown below.
Mastiff and Choker

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Either in the direct or indirect fire zone the Royal Engineers have a collection of equipment that can
be used for mine and IED clearance activities. Neither Trojan nor Terrier is dedicated to the EOD role
and they can carry out all manner of engineering tasks.
Terrier is a significant new piece of Royal Engineer equipment.
Product description from BAE;
Likened to a combat Swiss Army Knife, Terrier is one of the most versatile, agile and
adaptable combat vehicles and can carry out multiple roles in the most demanding
battlefield conditions. Typical applications include providing mobility support (obstacle and
route clearance), counter-mobility (digging of anti-tank ditches and other obstacles) and
survivability (digging of trenches and Armoured Fighting Vehicle slots). With a flying weight
of 32 tonnes, which allows it to be transported in the A400M airlifter, Terrier provides
strategic air transportability as well as being extremely mobile on the ground on all
terrains, reaching speeds of up to 70 kph and with a road range of 600k
Terrier CEV is a capable and deployable vehicle with many advanced features like remote control
and the UKs A400M aircraft will have a specially modified floor to carry one.

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Trojan is based on a Challenger 2 main battle tank and can use the Python line charge which is
essentially, a long hose filled with explosives unspooled by a rocket.

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The principle EOD remotely operated vehicle is now the Northop Grumman/Remotec CUTLASS,
replacing the well-known 'Wheelbarrow'. Its sophisticated arm has nine degrees of movement and
can be fitted with a variety of attachments. The arms high dexterity is enabled by the RA Rodriguez
'Reali-Slim' bearings and 6 wheel drive system provides high mobility. All three services now have
CUTLASS in service.

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Amphibious and Logistics

Amphibious Warfare and Transport Ships
Landing Platform Dock (LPD)
From the Royal Navy website;
The Albion Class, Landing Platform Dock ships (LPD) primary function is to embark,
transport, and deploy and recover (by air and sea) troops and their equipment, vehicles and
miscellaneous cargo, forming part of an Amphibious Assault Force.
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Read more at theRoyal Navysite,WikipediaandNaval Technology

Four davits carry the LCVP Mk5 landing craftand theyare also equipped with a side loading ramp.
The most important feature of this class of vessel is the very large floodable well dock, with enough
room for four of the large LCUMk 10's in two rows, or combinations of smaller craft.
The central barrier can also be removed.
Above the well dock is a mobile gantry crane fromHoulderandSCX Special Projectsthat can lift 4.5
tonnes, mainly used for stores pallets for example. The JSP 467 compliant installation used surplus
equipment from HMS Ark Royal. Personnel accommodationdepends on overload conditions but
normally it is a couple of RM Companies plus supporting personnel, about 400 personnel, although
the exact nature of the embarked force will vary considerably depending on needs and can be
increased to around 700 in overload conditions.
Vehicle carriedcan include everything from Land Rovers to Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks and
everything in between at a capacity of approximately 500 lane metres. Although they have a large
Chinook capable flight deck there are no hangar facilities, although the last refit did improve aviation
facilities including the ability to operate two Chinooks simultaneously.
IfHMS Oceanhas a higher number of personnel but very little in terms of vehicles and stores, the
LPD's reverse that relationship and also include significant command and control facilities as
well.They are essentially, landing craft carriers with enough space for a reasonable amount of
vehicles and personnel.
They are powerful and effective vessels.

HMS Albion

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HMS Bulwark

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SDSR 2010 mandated that one of the pair would be held at extended readiness, rotating in and out
of service with the other for refits such that one was always available for tasking and training.
HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion are due out of service in 2034 and 2033 respectively although as
seems usual, these will most likely be subject to change.

Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH)

The Royal Navy has a single LPH in service, HMS Ocean.
HMS Ocean was bought into service in 1988 for the modest cost of 154 million although there was
a great deal of controversy at the time, mainly regarding competition and build standards. That said,
she has given excellent service although sub optimal component selection caused a number of issues
that have hopefully been addressed during recent refits.
At over 21,000 tonnes she is a large vessel that can carry an embarked military force of
approximately 500 personnel or more in overload conditions. In addition to the embarked military
force she has a small vehicle deck, four LCVP Mk5 landing craft and a helicopter hangar with enough
room for 12-18 aircraft depending on type and size. She has embarked Chinook, Lynx, Apache,
Merlin and even US Blackhawks during a number of operational deployments.

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Although there is no well dock, a small Stern Ramp and Stern Ramp Support Pontoon are fitted to
allow vehicle and personnel access to landing craft or Mexeflotes. The three pontoon sections are
stored on deck and lifted onto the waters surface using a deck crane.

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Vehicle capacity depends on the type of vehicle but 20-30 light vehicles and trailers seems to be the

Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary) 'Bay Class'

Based on the Dutch/Spanish Enforcer class theLandingShipDock(Auxiliary)replaced the Knights
class. There were a number of issues bringing them into service, try theNAO reportfor starters. The
four entered service between 2006 and 2007; Cardigan Bay (2006), Mounts Bay (2006), Lyme Bay
(2007) and Largs Bay (2006).
All vessels are operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, not the Royal Navy.
Theyare large vessels (16,160 tonnes displacement), much larger than the Knights class they
replaced but have a relatively small crew of less than 60. The well dock is smaller than the
Albion/Bulwark LPD's but can stillaccommodate a single LCU Mk 10 orMexeflote.
Smaller landing craft or work boats can be carried on deck and lifted to the surface by the 30 tonne
capacitydeck cranes.
Mexeflotes are side loaded, one on either side of the hull.
Capacity includes 1,150 lane meters for vehicles and containers, 2,000 tonne cargo capacity and
accommodation for between 350 and 700 personneldepending on overload conditions. Like the
Albion/Bulwark class they have limited aviation facilities apart from a large helicopter deck
butstores and vehicle (1,200 lane metres) capacity is greater although landing craft capacity is much
In addition to their amphibious role they are used to support the mine countermeasures flotilla in
the Gulf, acting in the command role where they have also been used to trial the Scan Eagle
unmanned system. Although they have a very large flight deck that can spot two Chinooks the
aviation capabilities are relatively austere. To mitigatethe lack of permanent hangar they can be
fitted with a Rubb hangar.

Cardigan Bay
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RFA Largs Bay

RFA Lyme Bay

RFA Mounts Bay

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The 2010 SDSR resulted inLargsBay being sold to the Royal AustralianNavyand she is now named
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Civilian Strategic RORO Service

The 1998 SDSR recognised the need for a strategic RORO capability in light of increasing
expeditionary requirements and likely trends in the commercial shipping sector. It was predicted
that RORO vessel size would increase and evolve leading to a reduction in charter availability. The
ships replacedRFA Sea Crusader and RFA Sea Centurion.
A contract was let in 2000 to the AWSR Shipping consortium comprising Andre Weir, James Fisher,
Bibbly Line and Houlder Hadley Shipping after competing bids from Novomar, Maersk and Sealion
failed. The 1.25 billion PFI specified that4 of the 6 vessels would beused by the MoD exclusively
and the remaining pair available for commercial charter but one on 30 days and the other on 30 days
notice to return to MoD service.
AWSR subsequently placed an order for 6 vessels to aGerman company, Flensburger Schiffbau
Gesellschaft or FSG.FSG were to build 4 and Harland and Wolff, the remaining two.Hurst Point,
Beachy Head, Eddystone and Longstone were the FSG built ships and Anvil Point and Hartland Point
built by Harland and Wolff.
Crews are British when on MoD service and Sponsored Reserves, in a similar model to that used by
the Heavy Equipment Transport PFI.AWS provide the ship management arrangements, Bibby, crew
management, Houlder the finance and construction management and James Fisher a range of other
support activities.
18 months ahead of schedule the ships were fully available for service in 2003 and the PFI
agreement expires in 2024.
The design chosen was the RoRo 2700, an existing 23,235 tonne design.
Hartland Point

Beachy Head

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Hurst Point

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Anvil Point

Allships havethe same characteristics exceptBeachy Head, Eddystone and Longstone that have
more powerful 9 cylinder 8,100kw engines than the others and therefore have a maximum speed of
21 knots;Hurst Point, Anvil Point and Hartland Point have a maximum speed of 18 knots. All have
bow thrusters and a crew of 22.
The ships are 193m long, 26 metres wide and have a draught of 6.6m
Their capacity is listed as 2,700 lane metres, trailer capacity is35 on tank top with a maximum
height of 5m, 62 on the main deck with a maximum height of 6.8m and 67 on the upper deck with a
maximum height of 6.8m. Container stowage capacity is72 TEUs on the tank top, 272 TEUs (double
stacked) on the main deck and the 324TEUs (double stacked) on upper deck, all these on Mafi
trailers. Direct stow container capacity is approximately 411 TEUwith 60 10kw/32A reefer plugs
available for refrigerated containers.
Access to the decks is via a side ramp and a16.4m long by 17.0m wide stern ramp and internal
ramps to all decks. The stern ramp has twelve 2.7m wide fingers to enable access to narrow link
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Tests have also been conducted to prove the stern ramp can access a Mexeflote at sea for transfer
to other ships or direct offloading to shore. None of the ramps are self-supporting but the stern
ramp has a rated capacity of 85 tonnes and the side ramp, 75 tonnes.
Thedeck crane has a capacity of 40 tonnes at 25m outreach and 36 tonnes at 28m outreach. Drivers
accommodation is in in 6 two berth cabins.
Mexeflote Access

Stern Ramp

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Mare Harbour


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The contract has operated with little fuss and no problems but as as part of the 2010 Strategic
Defence and Security Review an evaluation of needs and costs came to the conclusion that the two
non-permanent vessels could be released from the contract. Longstone and Beachy Head were
subsequently sold to CLDNbecoming the MV Finnmerchantand MV Williamsborg.
In March 2013 the management contract was extended with Andrew Weir Shipping to 2024 and a
number of consolidations have seen Foreland Shipping, the owner and operator of thevessels, now
fully owned by the Hadley Group.
The UK offers the residual capacity of the 4 permanently available vessels to the NATO Sealift
Consortium as part of the Sealift Capability Package (SCP). This also includes three RORO ships on
assured access, residual capacity of 5 Danish/German ARK RORO ships and a single Norwegian
The recent Exercise TRACTABLE also saw once of the vessels being used with Mexeflotes for direct
offload to the shore, interestingly, it was an Army only exercise.

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In support of amphibious operation could be aircraft potentially from all three services; the Royal
Navy (including the Commando Helicopter Force), British Army and Royal Air Force.


Merlin HC

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Merlin HM


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Wildcat, Apache, Merlin and Chinook are all capable of operation from amphibious shipping
although the Army Air Corps Apache and Royal Air Force Chinook helicopters are not routinely
embarked aboard ships for extended periods.
The total force of 30 Merlin HM2 helicopters have been used to support amphibious operation
training and exercises although it is perhaps this is sub optimal. A much better option for shifting
personnel and stores in support of amphibious operations will be the 25 Merlin HC3/3a helicopters
of the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) being made available under the Merlin Life Sustainment
The programme has two phases, Phase 1 will see the delivery of 7 aircraft with interim marinisation
features including a powered folding rotor head and tie down points that will enable the CHF to
bridge the gap between the Sea King HC4s going out of service in 2016 and the full Merlin HC4/4a
package achieving Full Operating Capability in 2020.
Phase 2 will modify the balance of the HC3/3a aircraft and the interim aircraft so that a final
identical configuration will enter service. This final HC4/4a configuration will have the same cockpit
as the Merlin HM2, a folding tail, powered folding rotor head, DASS and range of other
improvements and modifications. Phase 2 will commence in 2016 with deliveries starting the year
Although the Merlin is relatively fast and has a good range with a voluminous cabin able to
accommodate in excess of 20 personnel or 16 stretchers, their lift capacity is not brilliant at about
4.5 tonnes (although an improvement on the Sea King).
A Scan Eagle detachment may also be available for amphibious operations.
The Chinook helicopter is fast, has a large internal and sling load capacity and is well protected but it
is not optimised for maritime operations. It would however, add greatly to the offload rate for an
amphibious operation and so it is unlikely it would not be considered for deployment if capacity
requirements warranted it.
The video below shows Royal Marines making use of RAF Chinook helicopters during the 2014
Exercise Joint Warrior.
The main use for the CHF Wildcat helicopters will be for ISTAR, potentially joined by the Scan Eagle
RPAS. Apache AH1 and whatever replaces it will provide the littoral manoeuvre force with a
significant increase in firepower, teaming with Wildcat as required.

Landing Craft, Amphibious Vehicles and Pontoons

The two amphibious vehicles available to the Royal Marines are theHgglunds/BAE Bv206 and
BVS10 Viking. Both are used for transporting personnel and light stores with the latter providing a
greater degree of protection. BV206 are also used for some of the EW and Communications
equipment such as the Reacher satellite terminal
BV206 on LCVP Mk5

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BVs10 on LCU Mk10

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The Royal Marines choice of primary mobility vehicle has been largely coloured by their traditional
NATO role of operating in Norway, the BV series of vehicles have excellent over-snow performance.
This high level of mobility in snow also provides high levels of mobility in other soft terrain such as
marsh and beach. The Royal Marines Snow Tracs were one of the few vehicle types able to operate
in the Falkland Islands in 1982.
A 38 million recapitalisation contract waslet to BAE in 2012 to rebuild existing vehicles and bring
them up to the Mk2 specification, the contract has resulted in 99 Viking BVs10 Mk2 now in service.
The upgrade included;
A completely new front and rear car hulls featuring the latest mine-protected, v-shaped
underbodies of the Mk2. The entire fleet will be given a major overhaul, brought to a
common standard and certified for a 14 tonne gross weight, with suspension, braking and
other modifications carried out as required.
Nineteen rear cars will be converted to a new crew-served weapon variant and nine more
will allow the firing of the standard-issue BAE Systems 81mm mortar from the vehicle.
The Viking provides protection against small arms and shell fragments with improvements against
RPG warheads afforded by bar or slat armour as needed. The Mk II also provide additional hull
shaping and a range of other protection/survivability features building on lessons learned during
operations in Afghanistan. It is available in troop carrying (12 personnel), repair and recovery,
ambulance and command variants.
A complete Viking can be sling loaded by a Chinook helicopter but not the Merlin, even when the
front and rear cabs are separated.
A number of the older Bv206 also remain in service.
In addition to the protected high mobility vehicles the Royal Marines have the usual range of light
utility and logistics vehicles common with the British Army and specialist equipment such as skidoos
for use in Arctic terrain.
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Landing Craft
Aboard the LPD and LPH are small detachments of Royal Marines that operate the landing craft,
aboard HMS Bulwark for example is 6Assault Squadron RM. The UK uses two principle landing craft
designs, the LCU Mk10 and LCVP Mk5
Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP) Mk5;these smaller craftare generally used for personnel
only although they can carry small vehicles and light stores up to a weight of 6 tonnes. With a top
speed of 24 knots the LCPV Mk5 is carried on davits on the assault ships (HMS Bulwark and Albion)
and HMS Ocean.
They have also been deployed from other vessels as deck cargo.
The moveable and removable deck shelter provides essential protection against the elements for
personnel aboard, a lesson from extensive operations in cold weather.
The UK has12 LCVP Mk5s, obtained in two batches and purchased at a cost of 750k each.

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Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk10;Part of theprogramme for the Albion and Bulwark LPDs were new
Landing Craft Utility, Mk 10, replacing the Mk9s carried aboard HMS Fearless and Intrepid.The LCU
Mk10s arelargecraft designed for transporting personnel, stores,armoured vehicles and large
Their roll on roll off design (stern and a bow ramps) is designed for ease of loadingand unloadingin
the well dock of the assault ships.Up to 120 troops (100 in normal operating conditions), a
Challenger main battle tank or other heavyor logisticsvehicles can be carried.
The LCU Mk10 can be used for general movement of equipment and operate independently for up
to a couple of weeks with its 9 man crew out to a range of 600 nautical miles. Interestingly, the bow
ramp can be used to lift an inflatable raiding craft out of the water when operating as a mother ship
for raiding parties and such like.
The LCU Mk10 is just under 30m long, with a beam of 7m, a draught of 1.7m when disembarking and
a top speed of 9knots.Clickherefor details of the engine and propulsion.A total of 8 LCU Mk10s
were bought into servicein the 35million programme, all delivered between December 2001 and
February 2003 with a pair of prototypes in addition to the eight.
The RORO capability is especially useful but as the wheelhouse impinges onto the load area at the
stern it is not wide enough to accommodate a TES Challenger 2 vehicle and derivatives.Although not
normally armed they have been seen recently with a range of automatic weapons on manually
aimed mounts, mostly fromISTEC

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TheMexeflotecame into service with the British Army in the early 60s, a result of work carried out
at the Military Engineering Experimental Establishment (of Bailey Bridge fame)

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Technically, it is called the Harbour and Landing Ship Logistics Pontoon Causeway Equipment, the
Mexeflote is elegant in its simplicity. Comprising three types of hollow steel pontoon sections with
internal bulkheadsthey can be pinned togetherto formlighteragerafts, jetties,piers and floating
platforms in the manner of big boys Lego.
Built into the sides and ends of the pontoon sectionare recessed slots into whichconnectors are
fitted, multiple pins for multiple sections. The bow sections are angled and articulated to facilitate
loading and beaching.The manually operated, demountable articulator is mounted in a recess in the
aft section and is connected to the forward section by an articulator ram.Thepontoon sections can
be carried individually and assembled in situ but the norm is for the assembled raft to be secured to
the sides of the carrying vessel for transit and when required, simply lowered or free dropped into
the water. Initial work established that free dropping created significant deceleration forces in
excess of 30G so the hook assembly was modified to disengage at 16 degrees resulting in much
lower deceleration and the avoidance of belly flopping. Their main use when first introduced was
not as a ferry but as a 250ft causeway to the beach for the LSL that could open their bow doors and
discharge vehicles without beaching.
They are now used mostly in the powered ferry role.
When in the water the propulsion units are craned over the side and secured in place and that is it,
they are more or less ready to go.
Stores and vehicles can either be craned from larger ships or driven onto the raft when docked to a
ship equipped with a well deck or ramp.Recovery is a reverse of this process.
EachMexefloteisusually commanded by a junior NCO and crewed with 4 or 5 other ranks.
Total payload depends on the size of the assembled pontoon;

The Type A raft is 20.12 metres x 7.32 metres x 1.45metres. Capacity 60T
The Type B raft is 38.41 metres x 7.32 metres x 1.45 metres. Capacity 120 T

A MaxiMexeconfiguration is also possible and this has a rating of 180 tonnes.

The propulsion units, are also rather special.Modular Z Drive propulsion units fromSykes
Hyrdromasterprovided the motive force when used as a powered raft and although it might not
look particularly seaworthy can be used in 1.5m wave height conditions.In 1994 the Army ordered
an additional 50 units and in 2000 upgraded most of them.
The Z Drives have now entirely been replaced with OD150N units fromThrustmaster.
Although theMexeflotedesign predates the widespread global containerisation they can fit inside
ISO containers but are not sized to be completely compatible, two for example, are 50mm too long
for a 20 foot ISO containers and when stacked two high, are again slightly too large for a Hi Cube
container. The individual pontoon sections do not have corner castings for ISOtwistlockseither.
During the Falklands conflict, loads of up to 200 tonnes were carried andMexeflotesmoved two
thirds of all the supplies transferred from the various ships at San Carlos, theywere instrumental in
success Operation Corporate
Since then they have been in continuous use.

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Although it is not used often Mexeflotes can be used as an intermediary linkspan to enable landing
craft to discharge without beaching. The landing craft can drop its ramp onto the Mexeflote and its
vehicles driven off and on to the beach.

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Mexeflote Linkspan Configuration

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For shifting volume and weight, there really is no substitute for Mexeflotes.

Workboats, RIBS, Inflatables and Hovercraft

Completing the category are a number of workboats, rigid inflatable boats and hovercraft. Excluded
here are the Hard Hulled Riverine Craft. Mk6 Assault Boat and Searider boats.
Combat Support Boat; although mostly used by the Royal Engineers in support of bridging and dive
operations the Combat Support Boat is also used by the Royal Logistic Corps to support amphibious
and port operations.
The Mk1 CSB, built by Fairey Allday Marine, was used by the Royal Engineers, US Army and Marine
Corps, Greece, Turkey and South Korea, and built in a quantity in excess of 1,000 units. In 2000,
these were replaced by the RTK Marine Mk2, each Mk2 CSB is powered by twin Yanmar 6LP diesel
marine engines that drive twin Hamilton HJ274 Waterjets via ZF Model HSW 630 gearboxes.
Top speed is approximately 30 knots and they have a cargo capacity of approximately 2 tonnes or 12
C130 and Chinook transportable they are powerful for their size and versatile craft.
Unladen weight is 4.75 tonnes, length 8.8m, beam 2.77m and draught 0.65m. BAE now own the
design and marketing rights to the CSB although the dedicated trailer is supplied by Oldbury

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Army WorkBoat;in addition to a number of Combat Support Boats, 51 (Port) Squadron RLC have
four Army Work Boats made byWarbreck Engineeringin Liverpool, subcontracted to
VTHalmatic(now BAE). The four are named WB41 Storm, WB42 Diablo, WB43 Mistral and WB44
Sirocco, yes, the Army owns a Mistral!
They are 14.75m x 4.3m, weigh 48 tonnes, have a top speed of 10 knots and are equipped with
firefighting equipment. When deployed they are usually carried as deck cargo on a specially
designed cradle and craned to the surface as needed.
The Army Workboat can be used as tugs forMexeflotes, positioning other pontoon equipment and
for handling flexible pipelines, especially those used in the JOFS fuel system described below.

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Inflatable and Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIB); Also now owned by BAE the VT Halmatic Artic and Pacific
Rigid Inflatable Boats are used by the Royal Navy for general transport tasks and boarding
operations, in service since 2004. Powered by a Yanmarmarine diesel engine andHamilton HJ 241
waterjet they have a top speed of approximately 30knots. Each has a length of 7.8m, beam of
2.57m, draught of 0.5m and a hoist weight of 2.5 tonnes. The slightly smaller Pacific 22 MkII is also in
The small Zodiac FC470 Inflatable Raiding Craft MkIII's are commonly used where their low weight
and ease of deployment are important.
Designed and built by Holyhead Marine, the Offshore Raiding Craft is in service with the Royal
Marines used in insertion, patrol and security operations.
These 9m craft are heavily armed and able to travelling at speeds up to 40 knots, available in three
versions (mid, rear and front console), able to carry up to 8 personnel in addition to the 2 crew.
Beamand draught are 2.9m and 0.6m respectively.The ORC trailer is supplied by Tex Engineering
and with the ORC weighs 5.4 tonnes. They are powered by a 250hpSteyr Marine M256 engine
driving a Rolls Royce FF270 waterjets.
39 are in service.
Pacific 24

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Inflatable Raiding Craft

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Offshore Raiding Craft

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Hovercraft; Feedback from operations in Iraq showed that whilst the in service Griffon 2000TD was
able to withstand greater small arms damage than imagined, the crew were exposed so its
replacement would need improvements in this area.

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The 1 millionGriffon Hoverwork 2400 TD LCAC(L)(R) was a directreplacement for the 4 existing
LCACs and feature armoured panels and bulletproof glass in addition to greater performance.
The primary role of the LCAC (L) (R) is as an air-portable, fully amphibious craft capable of the high
speed movement of 16 fully equipped troops and crew of 2 over water, ice, mud, marshland and
beach. Able to maintain a speed of 45 knots whilst fully laden the replacement is much faster than
the older version and there are a series of additional improvements. In addition to be being able to
be deployed from the RN/RFA assault craft they are air portable by C130, A400 and C17. The side
panels can be retracted to reduce the width to enable air portability.

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Swimmer Delivery
The final part of the mix is potentially the first to be deployed. To carry out covert beach or landing
area surveys, other information gathering tasks and special forces insertion the Royal Navy has a
number of Swimmer Delivery Vehicles that can be carried on the Astute submarine fleet using a deck
The SBS use three Mk 8 Mod 1 Swimmer Delivery Vehicles that can be launched and recovered from
a role fit shelter fitted to the Astute class of SSNs designed and built under Project Chalfont by BAE,
a replacement for Alamanda system as fitted to the long out of service Trafalgar class HMS Spartan
that was designed and built by BMT and Kockums.

Specialist Plant and Equipment

Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicles
To recover damaged, destroyed or broken down vehicles from beach areas during amphibious
landings and push stranded landing craft back into open water specialised vehicles are needed.
The surf zone is a difficult operating environment and the vehicle must be sufficiently protected,
have sufficient pulling and/or pushing power to deal with vehicle casualties and landing craft and be
heavy enough so they can operate whilst subject to wave loading.
By 1996 it was obvious a replacement for Centurion BARVs and Falklands veterans was needed.
Invitations to tender were issued in 1999 for the Future Beach Recovery Vehicle and four companies
responded;Hagglunds, Pearson Engineering, Marconi Marine Land & Naval Systems and the Dutch
company, RDM Technologies, who had developed aLeopard 1 based BARVfor the Dutch Marines.
Hagglundswon (who had then become part ofAlvis, now BAE) with a design based on a Leopard 1A5
Main Battle Tank.Four were ordered at a total cost of 7.5 million with one dedicated for trials and
In 2001 the Hippo Beach Recovery Vehicle was unveiled with Lord Bach stating;
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The Hippo is vitalforthe success of an amphibious assault across a beach. It can

manoeuvre in water up to ten feet deep and can be used to clear crippled vehicles from
assault lanes and recover stranded landing craft.
We hope that these new vehicles will enter service a year ahead of schedule in parallel with
the entry into service of the new assault ships HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, from which
they will operate.
The design is also broadly similar to previous generations but with obvious ergonomic improvements
and a revised gearbox that decreases speed but increases torque.

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Designed to recover vehicles up to the size and weight of Challenger 2 main Battle Tank or fully
loaded DROPS plus trailer the Hippo has a weight of about 50 tonnes, two days fuel,protectionfrom
small arms and artillery splinters, a crew of four and can operate in up to 2.95m of water. It is also
designed to push the 240 tonne LCU Mk10 and lighter LCVP landing craft off the beach.
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HMS Albion and Bulwark have one each and the other two areused for training with 11(Amphibious
Trials and Training (11 ATT)) Squadron Royal Marines and as a war reserve.

Specialist Plant
Although you can never have enough heavy plant the beach role creates some very specific
Sand and shingle beaches might not be able to support the weight of heavy vehicles and shingle
especially, can cause many problems for tracked vehicles. Repeated trafficking of a small area will
also likely make things worse and so trackway can be used to enhance the surface.
The UK has a total of22 Medium Wheeled Tractor Winterised/Waterproof, theJCB 436EHT, that
can each operate at a fording depth of 1.5m with an additional splash height of 0.5m. It is also
modified to be able to operate in -46 degree Celsius temperatures and can be fitted with the
UlrichTrackwayDispenser and a number of other attachments.
The video below shows theUlrich Trackway Dispenserin action with theFaunClass
30trackway.Class 30 has now been renamed the Medium Ground Mobility System (MGMS) and
Class 70, Heavy Ground Mobility System (HGMS). Heavier vehicles can use thetrackwaybeyond its
classification but this depends on the ground bearing capacity and number of passes before
thetrackwaybecomes unusable.
Continuous lengths can also be joined using a joining strip.
From Fauns website
MGMS is a military specification system that facilitates the launch and recovery of a
temporary roadway. A standard MGMS provides one 32m length of roadway as standard,
further spools containing additional 32m lengths can be stored and deployed by the same
FASTRACK.MGMS can be deployed by a trained two-man team in less than 6 minutes. The
aluminium TRACKWAY will withstand repeated loads of up to 30 tonnes (rated to MLC 30).
MGMS is suitable for tracked and wheeled vehicles up to 30 ton, and is chassis mounted by
crane, MGMS can also be deployed by tractor to create a solid beach landing area, utilising
the BEACH DISPENSER system.MGMS provides access for these vehicles into areas where
there are no roads, or roads have been damaged. MGMS enables boggy or marshy terrain
to become accessible to medium sized vehicles.
MGMS is best suited to adverse terrain conditions, including snow, marsh, mud and sand in
a variety of climates. MGMS can also be used as shelter and tent flooring. MGMS is in use
worldwide in a variety of military engineering applications, including humanitarian and
disaster relief.
The Class 70 or HGMS is essentially, a larger and more robust version of the Class 30

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Mobile plant, especially mechanical handling equipment is vital to the success of amphibious
The Royal Logistics Corps and Royal Engineers, through the C Vehicle PFI, have a number of
important pieces of MHE used onboard ships and at ports and on the beach support area. Medium
and Light Wheeled Tractors are used for a variety engineering roles; earth moving, excavating,
mechanical handling trenching, dozing, grading and digging.
Supplementing the wheeled tractors are a couple oftelehandlerdesigns, also from JCB.
These are the most numerous of C Vehicle equipment and have a broad span of users replacing the
Volvo 4440s and JCB 410s (both of which are nottelehandlersbut converted loaders). The
requirement for loading and unloading ISO containers dictated some of the size and mobility
specifications and there are two models, theTelehandler2,400Kg which is a JCB 524-50 and the
higher capacity JCB 541-70 called theTelehandler4,000Kg.
Each has a number of variants with the smaller version coming in standard (150), standard
withsideshift(150), winterised (15) and winterised withsideshift(15).
The larger version has two variants, standard withsideshift(85) and winterised (6).
If the above are for loading and unloading containers, handling pallets and other logistics tasks the
role of handling the containers themselves falls to the RLCs Kalmar Rough Terrain Container
Handlers (RTCH).
In the late nineties the US Army recognised the need to take advantage of civilian containerisation
and issued an operational requirements document to whichKalmar, Caterpillar
andLiftkingIndustries responded. The contract was awarded to Kalmar in 2000 with deliveries on
the first batch of 346 RT240 Rough Terrain Container Handlers being completed at the end of 2004,
other orders followed and it is still in production.
The US Third Infantry Division (Mechanized) Operation Iraqi Freedom after action report provided a
glowing testimonial;
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Vital to the rapid resupply of divisional troops are rough terrain container handlers (RTCH),
as most of the corps and theatre logistics pushes arrived on flatbed trailers with containers.
They are relatively manoeuvrable and the extendable boom, rotation andsideshifttop handler allow
precise placement of the container.The designers have also built in an ingenious system for
reducing its height, by moving the operators cab to one side, lowering it and then sinking the boom
next to the cab the total height of the container handler is less than 3metres, thus enabling
transport in a C-17 aircraft but at 53.5 tonnes it is a big lift, filling the C17 with its 3.65m width, 15m
length and 2.98m height in shipping configuration. This preparation for air transport can be carried
out in less than 30 minutes by one person with no external assistance, and without removing or
dismantling any part of the machine.
The reduced height also greatly simplifies road moves, bloody clever.
Unlike most container handlers the RTCH uses a single tyre arrangement. Both axles are driven and
steered; crab-steer is possible and all steering is computer controlled for precise tracking. The axles
areunsprungand two-wheel drive and single-axle steer is possible for road travel.
About 20 RTCH were obtained under an Urgent Operational requirement for Operation Telic and
theNational Audit Office reportnoted that over 9,000 containers were used;
Increasingly, the Departments operations involve the use of International Organisation for
Standardisation specified-shipping containers. Operation TELIC necessitated the use of
some 9,103 such containers and exposed shortfalls in the Departments ability to handle
these containers both in the United Kingdom and in-theatre. While the Department
procured an additional 20 container handling vehicles, 6 Supply Regiment highlightedthat
it had only three container-handling vehicles to deal with several thousand containers.
Although you can pick up containers with a crane that requires more personnel and is much slower,
moving containers is a specialist function that needs specialist equipment.The RTCH is not
specifically tasked with beach operations there is no reason they could not be used in the
amphibious operation support role.
AtMarchwoodthere is also a range of specialist MHE that although not used when deployed, is still
a vital element of the supply chain. The MoD recently let an 87mcontracttoBriggs Equipmentfor
theDefence Mechanical Handling Equipmentrequirement that includes just over 3,000 pieces of
equipment ranging from forklift trucks to container handling equipment.

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JCB 524/5-50

JCB 541-70

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Hyster Container Handler

Fuel Transfer
The ability to sustain the fuel requirements of an amphibious force is also a good indicator of actual
combat capability.
In 2010 KBR were awarded a 22m contract to deliver the Joint Operational Fuel System (JOFS). JOFS
is a broad ranging system designed for both operational and exercise use and is defined as;
JOFS is a generic term covering all special purpose military equipment designed to enable
the receipt, storage, testing and treatment, and supply of bulk fuel quickly, safely and
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efficiently on deployed joint operations, within the Land environment anywhere in the
world, in diverse climatic conditions, over extended lines of communication, for extended
periods of time and where the Host Nations infrastructure is broken, damaged or nonexistent
To quote QinetiQ (who were involved with the decision support, bid support modelling)
The goal of the Joint Operational Fuel System was to deliver a fully integrated modular
military fuel capability that will receive, store, test/blend, dispense and distribute bulk fuel
from ship to shore, by air transport, by bulk carrying vehicle, by rail tanker, by inland
waterway and using host nation support. This system will replace ageing fuel handling
equipments which will not meet the demands of future expeditionary operations. The
current deployable fuel handling capability for expeditionary operations, known as Tactical
Fuel Handling Equipment, is supplied by a plethora of individual systems. It is based around
cold war designs and is not considered expeditionary by the user community
The project manager added;
In all there were sixteen dierent equipment lines when the project was started. The
equipment could only be operated in a static location. Equipment had not been designed for
rapid movement and ease of use in the eld. We needed to develop a solution that
delivered the fuel to the right place at the right time and in the right quantity
The complete Joint Operational Fuel System, as can be seen from the images below) is pretty
comprehensive and includes ship to shore elements but entirely correctly, priority has been given to
operational use in Afghanistan.In 2013,Vikoma were awarded a 2.5 sub contract from KBR to
deliver a number of ruggedised powerpacks for pumping equipment and tanker rollover spill
containment systems. This new contract was to add to a previous one, the output from which have
been successfully used in Afghanistan. Another manufacturer, Barum and Dewar, provided the
specialist storage cases.
Joint Operational Fuel Systems Project (JOFS) pumps, 160 of them, come in three flavours, Light
Forces Pump (LFP) with a capacity of 400 litres per minute at 4 bar, Medium Duty Pump (MDP) with
a capacity of 680 Litres per minute at 6 bar and the Heavy Duty Pump (HDP) with a capacity of 2,000
litres per minute at 6 bar. These pumps can be remotely powered up to 15m away from the Vikoma
powerpacks, this means they are outside of the hazardous areaThe system is compatible with
current Air Portable Fuel Containers (APFC) and can be used with either Aviation or Diesel fuel,
depending what assets require re-fuelling. The Small Container Convoy Refuelling System (SCCRS) is
designed to provide a 7 point refuelling unit for refuelling multiple vehicles at once. JOFS Phase 2
enables the deployment of a Primary BulkFuels Installation (PBFI) which has a capacity of 600,000
Litres with support for aircraft fuelling, aircraft defuelling and bulk road tanker filling. It
cansimultaneously refuel and defuel either twotankers or up to six aircraft.
Most of the JOFS components are provided by the UK company; DESMI, who also provide much of
the pumping equipment for RN/RFA vessels and RAF fuel installations. DESMI produce some
excellent fuel packages, the Aviation Fuelling System, Bulk Fuel Installation for Temporary Sites,
Containerised Ground Fuel Stations, Air Landed Aircraft Refuelling Point (ALARP), Forward Air
Refuelling Point (FARP), Helicopter/Light Aircraft Refuelling System and Air Delivered Bulk Fuel

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The video below shows JOFS in action in a ship to shore role, making use of Army Work Boats, RE
Divers and Mexeflotes to bring aviation fuel ashore, the system is called theTowed Flexible Barge
Discharge System (TFBDS), supplied by DESMI and Trelleborg, 5 are in service.
The barge or dracone has a capacity of300,000 Litres, once it has been filled by connecting to an
RFA (or civilian) tanker the barge is towed to within 200m of the shoreline and connected to a
manifold raft. this raft is then connected via flexible pipelines to the onshore installation that uses
136,000 Litre flexible pillow tanks.
Storage and handling of fuels and lubricants is a complex and demanding business, especially the
relationships between military and civilian regulations and who does what across the three services
and within (RE and RLC), have a read of JSP 317 if you dont believe me!
Both the Oshkosh articulated high capacity tankers and lower capacity MAN SV based tankers are
distinctive in appearance and beyond differences in capacity and mobility, carry out the same
role.The Unit Support tanker carries 7,000 Litres, the Close Support Tanker 20,000 Litres and the
Tactical Aircraft Refueller 15,000 Litres. All have metering, pumping and filtering equipment and
carry an assortment of ancillary items like pipeline and manifolds. The UST has also been supplied in
a winterised and waterproof variant.
For operations in Afghanistan the MoD purchased 20 ISO tank container based Fuel Dispensing Racks
from WEW in Germany. As noted in a previous post these are ground mounted and not used whilst
mounted on the vehicle.

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Air Portable Fuel Container

Close Support Tanker

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Unit Support Tanker

Fuel Dispensing Rack

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Royal Marines
The Royal Marines comprise 3 Commando brigade, 1 Assault Group, Royal Marines Band and Special
Boat Squadron.
3 Commando Brigade has units from both British Army and The Corps of Royal Marines, who form
the bulk of the UK amphibious assault capability.
3 Commando Brigade comprises
40, 42 and 45 Commando; each a battalion sized amphibious infantry unit equipped with the
standard British small arms ad infantry support weapons such as mortars and Javelin ATGWs.
43 Commando Fleet Protection Group; provides a range of security tasks for the UK deterrent and
force protection for deployed RN/RFA vessels.
30 Commando Information Exploitation Group; a battalion sized group primarily tasked with the
provision of ISTAR, EW and logistic support functions but also including air defence (Starstreak
missile) and communications.
Armoured Support Group; Operate the Viking protected mobility vehicles
In addition to the main body of Royal Marines in 3 Commando and the Commando Helicopter Force
(CHF) there are a number of relevant specialist units.
1 Assault Group; provides the training lead and specialist equipment operation personnel for
landing craft, hovercraft, other small craft and boarding operations. Smaller squadron and individual
detachments are distributed across the RN assault vessels and other locations.
Commando Logistics Regiment; TheCLRis an unusual Regiment because it contains personnel from
the RN, RM and Army. Its basic role is to provide all manner of combat service support to 3 CDO
From the MoD;
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The CLR is situated atChivenorin North Devon. It is home to about 620 personnel from all
three Services, including mechanical engineers, medics and logisticians. No other unit has
such an eclectic mix of cap badges working together.
The regiments purpose is to provide every aspect of combat service support for 3
Commando Brigade, anywhere in the world. In particular the regiments aims are to provide
support for brigade amphibious operations when sea-based, during offload across a beach
or port, and over a largebattlespaceon land.
Specifically, the Landing Force Support Party (LFSP) has the role of beach logistics support.Read
more about the Commando Logistics Regimenthere.

British Army
17 Port and Maritime Regimentare relatively new, being formed in 1949 as a Corps of Royal
Engineers unit, tasked with operating ports and beaches in support of the armed forces. In 1965 the
Royal Corps of Transport was formed and assumed the port operations role from the Royal
The role of 17 P&M is quite varied;
The Regiment has three Port Squadrons, a Port Enabling Squadron, a REME Workshop and
a Headquarters Squadron. It operates a wide variety of vehicles, plant, railway equipment
and vessels, including Ramp Craft Logistic (RCL), Workboats, Landing Craft Vehicle and
Personnel (LCVP), MEXEFLOTE rafts and Rigid Raider Craft. It also has the only military Dive
Team in the RLC; they are responsible for a range of tasks including port clearance and
vessel maintenance.
The basic role of 17 Port and Maritime Regiment is to load ships at one end of the supply bridgeand
unload them at the other using road, rail and of course, shipping. The twoport squadrons are
organised on equipment lines, 51 Squadron, work boats, 52 Squadron,Mexeflotesand 53 Squadron,
HQ and Port Enabling,although recent operations have seen these dividing lines soften a little.17
P&M are within the 104 Logistics Support Brigade which also includes air movement, postal and
courier and movement control.
17 P&M are twinned with an Army Reserve Regiment, 165 Port and Maritime Regiment. 232
Transport Squadron RLC(V) re-roled to a port squadron under the Army 2020 Reserves plan.165
(Wessex) Port and Enabling Regimentwill see102 Port Squadron and 275 Railway Troop
withdrawnfrom the order of battle. 165 also subsumed142 Vehicle Squadron RLC(V), and 710
Operational Hygiene Squadron RLC(V).165 now consists of142 (Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars)
Vehicle Squadron,232 (Cornwall) Port Squadron,264 (Plymouth) Headquarters Squadron,265
(Devon) Port Squadron,266 (Southampton) Port Squadron RLC, and710 (Royal Buckinghamshire
Hussars) Operational Hygiene Squadron.
The RLC also provide338 Commando Petroleum Troopand a significant contributionto
theCommando Logistics RegimentRM.
Marchwoodishome to17 Port and Maritime RegimentRLC and the Sea Mounting Centre. In March
2015 it was announced that Solent Gateway Limited were the preferredbidder to manage and
develop the commercial potential of Marchwood whilst still retaining its core role. It is interesting
that the announcement also stated that the operator would also provide a deployable Reserve
capability as part of the Armys Total Support Force.Solent Gateway is a partnership between GBA
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Holdings and David MacBrayne Limited, incidentally David MacBrayne is the ferry operator wholly
owned by the Scottish Government.

24 Engineer RegimentRoyal Engineers providesthe British Army amphibious combat engineer

capability. The Regiment, unusually, has only a single Field Squadron, 59 Commando Squadron. 54
Commando Headquarters and support Squadron combines the traditional role of HQ and field
support. One might assume that a regular squadron would be paired with an Army Reserve
squadron within a single regiment but that would be thinking logically! Instead 131 Commando Field
Squadron hasbeen retained in the recent organisation changes resubordinatedto 32 Engineer
170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group Royal Engineers used to be called the Military Works
Force and includes a range of specialist engineering disciplines including port operations. 65 Works
Group is a wholly Army Reserve force and consists of a number of specialist teams,509 STREbeing
ports infrastructure.509 STRE is a small team, less than 30 personnel all in, but they retain the core
of the UK's port infrastructure engineering capability. Their role includes professional assessment,
design consultancy and construction supervision.
29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery provides fire support for 3 CDO using principally, the
105mm Light Gun.

Korps Mariniers

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The Royal Marines and Dutch Korps Mariniers have a long history of collaboration with the Royal
Marines and together form the UK/NL Landing Force (UKNLLF). The Korps Mariniers is organised and
equipped on similar lines to the Royal Marines.

US Capabilities
As a contrast, it is interesting to see US capabilities and if you thought the UK has some impressive
systems the US puts them, mostly, to shame, as of course, one might imagine.
The underlying trend, led by the US, has seen a requirement to operate further offshore in response
to area denial challenges, but this does not mean everything has to be launched from 65 nautical
miles off shore.
TheOperational Manoeuvre from the Sea(OMFTS)and Ship to ObjectiveManoeuvre
(STOM)conceptsareentirely logical when one looks at the prevailing threats; advanced surveillance
systems, anti-tank missiles that can easily destroy landing craft and other lighters and finally, antishipmissiles that arebothdifficult to defend against and devastatingly effective. Add in fast attack
craft, mines and guided rockets and the zone between the beach and horizon becomes a very
unfriendly place for amphibious shipping.
Theseabasingconceptforesaw a far offshore collection of logistics and combat vessels that could
delivera force and all their sustainment needs directly to the objective without needing to build up
stores at a beach locationor operate in vulnerable areas close to shore.
The cornerstone of the sea basing leg ofSeapower21 was theMaritime Propositioning Force
(Future) that proposed a 14 ship squadron able to sustain a USMC brigade. The MPF(F) was the
support echelon, not amphibious assault.

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Making maximum use of these would require large numbers of V22's and CH53K's to avoid a
concentration logistics ashore. The sea base would eliminate the need to organise,redistributeand
repack supplies onshore and palletise what was needed, to order, whilst afloat. Technical cha llenges
included total asset visibility in the deployed logistics management system, ship to ship transfer of
stores and vehicles in high sea states andvery high fuel usage rates.
The planning requirement for the 14,000 thousand strong Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) is
just under a thousand tonnes per day and even with the excess of airlift available to the US forces it
was not deemed practical at distances roughly greater than 60 nautical miles offshore.
A larger number of LCAC hovercraft were seen as the answer, especially when less than ideal
conditions and aircraft losses were factored in.
From a2010 RAND study, the MPF(F) squadron would consist of;

1 LHA(R) large-deck amphibious assault ship

1 modified LHD large-deck amphibious ship
3Lewis and Clark (T-AKE) cargo ships
3 modified LMSR sealift ships
3 mobile landing platform (MLP) ships each capable of operating six landing craft, air
cushioned (LCAC) surface connectors
2 legacy dense-pack MPF ships taken from existing squadrons.

In addition, the US Navy and Army would obtained a number of Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV) that
would be used to transfer personnel to the theatre ready to join the MPF(F)In typical US fashion it
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was a bold and ambitious concept but even the welltrouseredUS forces have had to recognise that
the concept is largely unaffordable.
The main problem with standing far offshore is that to deliver volume to shore your cycle time
becomes a huge problem so in order to avoid trickling materials onto shore and increasing
vulnerability throughout the supply chain the need for speed becomes ever more apparent. This
need for speed has penalties, putsimply, reduced payloads and increased capital and running costs.
A month after the Haiti earthquake the MPF(F) programme was cancelled, it had been on the cards
for some time before that.
The simple reality was the envisaged concept of sea basinglacked clarity andwas too expensive in a
military environment that was still focussed on campaigning in Iraq and Afghanistan and instead of
operating without host nation support the word 'partnership' was getting a good airing.Our old
friend intra and inter service politics played its usual 'best supporting actor' role.
Whatultimatelyemerged was a more modular and bottom up concept that made greater use of
existing ships and capabilities buttressed with one or two new systems, the Mobile Landing Platform
(MLP) for example.
These would use fixed wing and rotary aircraft supported by a range of other capabilities to drive
safe lanes to shore that would then enable the follow on forces and logistics packets to reach their
objectives by launching closer in, a more pragmatic approach than attempting to do everything from
60 nautical miles at high speed.
We are all aware of the V22 tilt wing, LCAC hovercraft and the ongoing struggle to replace the ageing
AAV7 amphibious assault vehicles. The fundamental difference between the US and pretty much
everyone else in NATO is that the US still believes an opposed landing is possible.
Of course it is possible with enough spending, which is arguably why everyone else decided it isn't.
So sea basing as a concept remains in loose terms but some distance away from the original
ambitious concept.
Still in place is the ability (although at a lower level) to selectively palletise storeson-boardthe Large
Medium Speed Roll On Roll Off (LMSR)ships and transfer them to either the V22/CH53,LCAC or
landing craft. In the case of the LCAC, vehicles will becross-deckedfrom the LMSR onto the new
Mobile Landing Platforms (MLP). Pallets will be transferred to landing craft using conventional over
the side cranes.
Critics have suggested that the sea base concept was misunderstood by both the US Navy and US
Marine Corps, the former concentrating on carrier strike and the latter seeing everything through
the lens of amphibious assaults against peer enemies bristling with advanced anti access weapons.
If USN/USMC Sea Basing was the favourite child of the modern transformational all singing all
dancing brave new world of Sea Power 21 then the ugly ginger step kid was theUS Navy/US Army
Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS) and it here that I am going to concentrate for this section.

Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS) Overview

Logistics Over The Shore (LOTS) is defined as;
Theprocess of loading andunloading of ships without the benefit of deep draft-capable,
fixedport facilities; or as a means of moving forces closer to tactical assemblyareas.
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When Army and Navy LOTS operate together under a Joint Force Commander LOTS becomes JLOTS.
The threat environment is described as;
Joint logistics over-the shore(JLOTS) operationsare normally conducted ina low threat
environment.Primary threats toconsider are air androcket attacks, attack byadversary
ground forces,guerrillas or insurgentsoperating behind thelines, and sabotage.Chemical,
biological,radiological, nuclear, andhigh-yield explosiveswarfare is consideredpossible.
Sea Basing was supposed to largely replace JLOTS, instead of anchoring ships close inshore and using
D Day era landing craft and pontoons Sea Basing was high speed, largely airborne and of course very
expensive.JLOTS on the other handisin comparison, cheap as chips.I get the impression that those
in charge of JLOTS had a look at Sea Basing,realised it was all expensive nonsense and decided to
carry on normal jogging, bothprogrammesoccasionallytalking to each other but essentially moving
along in glorious isolationwith one sideviewingJLOTS as a transitional solution to sea basing and
the other an important capability that will always be needed regardless.
JLOTS is not for use when there is opposition in the area but then again, neither was the MPF(F). It is
not very mobile and takes time to establish but when it does get going, throughput can be
significant, unmatched by anything else.One of the initial proving exercises, despite many
disruptions due to higher than expected sea states,demonstrated an offload of over 800 containers
and 1,300 vehicles in 14 days. To do this required 67 different units, a total of 5,000 personnel, 70
small craft and a large onshore build.
Impressive, hell yes, especially when compared to the LCU/Mexeflote capability the UK enjoys but
look again at those numbers.
5,000 personnel for a start, that is significant ration strength to support and if replicated in the UK
would represent nearly 15% of the total British Army strength. 800 containers in two weeks, as a
comparison, London Gateway canhandle about 125,000 containers in the same period!
Its principal mission is to allow Sealift Command vessels to discharge in damaged or inadequate
ports or over the beach and some of the equipment can also be used for in theatre support and
movement post deployment. It can augment existing ports, supplement damaged ones and create
one from scratch with the ability to conduct Roll On Roll Off (RORO), Load On Load Off (LOLO) and
bulk fuel transfers using pipeline systems.If onelooks at the systems on display later in this
sectionand compare them with the Mulberry Harbour in D Day case studythe lineage is obvious.
Design and materials improvements have improved speed, safety and deployment resources but
apart from the obvious difference of pallets and containers the concepts are more or less the
same.Containerisation has delivered many benefits but what it has done is concentrated port
operations into a smaller number of ports with the necessary equipment and space to handle very
large and heavy metal boxes, moving containers over the shore using JLOTS is difficult.
The complete JLOTS capability requires a many personnel, the JLOTS 2008 exercise for example had
the following participants;
Expeditionary Strike Group 3, Naval Beach Group 1, Amphibious Construction Battalions 1
and 2,,BeachmasterUnit 1,Assault Craft Unit 1, Expeditionary Health ServicesPacific,
Naval Cargo Handling Battalions 1 and 12,and Maritime Expeditionary Security Group 1.
Armyunits participating included the 8thTheaterSustainment Command, 45th
Sustainment Brigade, 24thTransportation Battalion, 169th Seaport OperationsCompany,
368th Seaport Operations Company, 331stCauseway Company, 705th Transportation
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Company,443rd Transportation Company, 481st Heavy BoatUnit, 175th Floating Craft

Maintenance Unit, and the109th Quartermaster Company
The US definition of Joint can sometimes be interesting, both Army and Navy maintain similar, but
different, capabilities that do the same thing,lighteragebeing a good example.
JLOTS has a myriad of components and it would be impossible to list them all here but the main ones
are shown in the diagrams below, JLOTS over a bare beach and JLOTS using an existing port.

Planning preference is to augment an existing port because of its proximity to main supply routes
and other facilities. Just parking the whole JLOTS capability in the middle of nowhere means roads
and offloadinghardstandinghave to be built from nothing.The vast majority of JLOTS is designed for
installation and operation between Sea State 2 and3. ELCAS for exampleELCAS can survive up to sea
state 5 conditionsbut only operate at a maximum sea state of 2 because of potential damage to the
pier and inability of the cranes to safely offload stores in the associated high wind speeds.
Generally speaking, JLOTS only operates at a maximum of Sea State 2 because of the impacts of
cranependulation, dissimilar motions between large vessels and lighters, surf impinging on
causeways and issues caused by surf zone waves on the stability and safety of all components.

Pontoons, Lighterage, Causeways and Small Boats

The 'small ships' of JLOTS are of course the workhorses, without which nothing would move.
Maritime Prepositioning Force Utility Landing Craft - MPFULC;The MPFULC is not formally part of
the JLOTS system but is often used as a workboat.

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Landing Craft Mechanized;Both the Army and Navy operates the LCM-8 (LCM MOD I) which is a
familiar bow loading landing craft.The MOD II LCM is a smaller vessel that can also be used as a light


Landing Craft Utility;The Navy LCU-1600 and ArmyLCU-2000can each carry significant loads and
dischargeover the bow or sides either onto a beach, causeway or pier.Army LCU-2000's can carry
350 tonnes of cargo a distance of 4,500 miles at a top speed of 11 knots.The Army craft cannot
enter the well dock area of USN Amphibious ships as it is too large.Navy LCU-1600's can carry 160
tonnes of cargo a distance of 1,200 nautical miles at a top speed of 8knots, it is worth mentioning at
despite generallybeing a Navy craft, the Army also operate a small number of them. In the imag es
below, note the use of a non-dedicated vehicle to push the landing craft back, in contrast to the UK
and Dutch forces.

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LCU 2000

Causeway Section Powered and Side Loadable Warping Tug;Both the CSP and SLWT are powered
by a 360 degree rotating propulsion unit that provides significant power and good manoeuvrability,
they are not dissimilar to the BritishMexeflote.

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When fitted with an A Frame and winch the Causeway Section Powered(CSP) becomes a Side
Loaded Warping Tug (SLWT).Both are used during the initial establishment of JLOTS, the warping
tug being used mainly to construct and maintain position of the unpowered causeways.
Side Loading Warping Tug

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Improved NavyLighterageSystem; In 2003the Navy issued a contract toMarinetteMarine Corp for

the manufacture of anewsystemto replace the 50 year old NavyLighterageSystemcalled the
Improved NavyLighterageSystem that was designed tooperate in sea state 3 and be survivable in
sea state 5although with what level of safety I am not sure.
INLS consists ofpowered modules,non-poweredmodules intermediate and beach), a warping tug
and other components.They are transported on the decks of Maritime Prepositioning Ships and
offloaded over the sideassembled at sea using the INLS Warping Tug.
INLS Warping Tug Transport

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INLS Warping Tug

Army Tug Boats; It would be remiss not to mention the Army's tug boats as well.

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FloatingCausewayPiers;Again, the Army and Navy have different versions, as shown in the
schematic below

The Army's version is called the Trident Pier

In the Haiti case studythe use of a causeway pier on White Beach was covered in some
detail.Looking closely at the image you can see the causeway is slotted into the beach to provide
directional stability. After cutting the slot using heavy plant the operation is called 'stabbing the
The slot is still there in Haiti, clickherefor a Google Maps view.
Stabbing the Beach

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Causeway Ferries;The same modules can be combined to create powered ferries, much like the
UK'sMexeflotes, again.Instead of a simple tapered bow section the INLS ferries can be fitted with a
ramp as shown below.
The 3 or 4 section INLS causeway ferry can be assembled in 2 hours.

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Vehicles and Hovercraft

LighterAmphibious Resupply Cargo 5 ton (LARC-V);TheLARC-Vis a Navyamphibious vehicle that
havebenefitted from a 2006 service life extension programme. They are also in service with
Australia and can be launched and recovered from a variety of ships.

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Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC);The LCAC is a high capacity high speed hovercraft

Impressive but a bit thirsty and expensive to operate

Roll on Roll Off Discharge Facility (RRDF)

The preferred method of offloading RORO ships is for vehicles and containers to be driven down the
ships ramp onto a floating platform called a Roll On Roll Off Discharge Facility or RRDF. They are then
transferred from the platform to lighters.When weather and sea conditions preclude safe operation
of the RRDF vehiclesand equipment will be loaded onto lighters over the side.

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Unsurprisingly, there is a Navy and Army version

The INLS RRDF uses the larger INLS modules.

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Elevated Causeway (Modular)

The Expeditionary Elevated Causeway is a portable modular structure that can be built out from the
beach to a distance of 3,000 feet (914m)and up to a depth of 20 feet to allow small vessels to come
alongside and discharge their cargo, mainly containers.

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They are installed by the Amphibious Construction Battalions ofUS Navy and their main purpose is
to bridge the surf zone and decouple the loading/unloading equipment from waves and tide. Smaller
vessels coming alongside to load and unload can be secured and the cranes on the ELCAS-M only
then have to deal with movement on the vessel, not itself.
First used on operations during the 2003 operation to invade Iraq the ELCAS-M was used to augment
an existing Kuwaiti naval base, providing additional loading and unloading capacity.
The pier 40 foot by 8 foot ISO container sized modules are supported on 2 feet diameter hollow steel
piles that are driven in during construction as the causeway is assembled from the beach to the sea.
The piles are driven in sequence and modules attached until the required length is achieved.
Individual piles are 30 foot long and welded together as they are installed. Softer soil conditions will
require longer piles to be used, in Kuwait for example, many had to be 90 foot long to achieve
sufficient load bearing strength. In order to accommodate two way vehicle traffic the pier is 24 feet
When the piles are driven to the correct depth they are pinned to the module and cut off flush to
avoid interfering with traffic and crane operations.The pier head is wider to accommodate two 175
tonne cranes and two turntables that allow trucks to be turned within their diameter which negates
the need for vehicles to reverse along the full length of the pier.Lighting is also installed to allow
24x7 operations.
It should be noted that the ELCAS-M system is not designed to accommodate large ships but lighters,
small logistic support vessels and pontoons/bargesalthough theLightweight Modular MultipurposeSpanning Assembly (LMMSA) was testedin 1990tointerface ELCAS with a floating RORO
discharge platform.

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ELCAS Vehicle Turntable

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ELCAS Operate

The fender strings shown abovealleviate some of the lateral forces between ELCAS and the lighter,
they are the same size as normal ELCAS modules but only one wide.Elevating the pier head and
causeway 15 feet above mean water level allows tidal ranges of 8 feet and wave heights of 7 feet to
be accommodated

Logistics Support Vessel

The Army operates a small number (8) of General Frank A.BessonclassLogistic Support Vesselsor
With ramps at the bow and stern they are used to carry vehicles and stores in a RORO configuration
and can beach directly or onto landing platforms as required, 900 tonnes when operating in a JLOTS
environment or over double that when operating from conventional ports.

There are two variants, one with a bow shroud and one without.

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Liquids Transfer
JLOTS has threemain means of transferring water and fuel from ship to shore, the Amphibious
Assault Bulk Fuel System (AABFS),Offshore Petroleum Discharge Systems (OPDS) and
InshorePetroleum Discharge Systems (IPDS).
AABFS can transfer approximately 2.6 million litres per day and the OPDS/IPDS nearly double
that.Time to setup differs drastically, the AABFS can be in place in less than 8 hours but the more
robust and higher throughput OPDS takes several days.One of the biggest differences is that the
pipe for AABFS floats and the OPDS is laid on the sea floor.

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The SS Chesapeake Bay is an OPDS tanker and in order to lower the heavy Single Anchor Leg
Mooring into the sea it ballasts down to what looks like a heavy list until the SALM can be lowered.
Chesapeake Bay and Single Anchor Leg Mooring

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Read more about the OPDS and SALM at these links,hereandhere

TheirOffshore 850pipeline is supplied byFlexible Pipelines Ltdof Thame, Oxfordshire
The MSC MV K.R. Wheeler is a modified DP2 Platform Supply Vesselbuilt byEdison Chouestandwas
introduced in 2007 to replacetheSS Chesapeake and SS Petersburg.
MV K.R. Wheeler

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She carrieseight miles of pipeline on 5 large spools that can be lifted onto INLS causeways ferries
and otherlighterage. This is double the distance of the OPDS system and can be deployed much
quicker with fewer personnel. Instead of using cumbersome mooring lines the KR Wheeler makes
use of dynamic positioning and the165 foot long tender vessel, the MV Fast Tempo,is used to run
the pipes from the Wheelers stern to tankers and ashore from the bow.
The Fast Tempo was formerly acrewboatdesigned and built byBreaux Brothersof Louisiana
A LARC is used to carry the Beach Terminal Unit to shore where it is linked to other pipeline,
pumping,storage and distributionsystems.Pumping rate is 1.7 million US gallons per 20 hours.The
new system is now called the Offshore Petroleum Distribution System, still OPDS though. It can also
be used for fresh water.The final and most important advantage of the new system is that the
specially constructed, multiple layer flexible pipe can be laid over rocks and coral.What the Wheeler
has shown is that modern commercially available materials and systems can radically improve
capabilities and reduce costs, read morehere

Observations and Summary

There is no doubt that JLOTS, MSC and associated capabilities are hugely impressive and their
maintenance and improvement is testament to those charged with 'keeping it real' whilst the sea
basing, OMFTS/STOM and Pacific Pivot crowd spend vast sums on high tech platforms.The
newUSNSMontfordPointhas attracted significant controversy as the far offshore concept keeps
ringing up large bills.
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As the US disengages from Europe, in the future and if the UK and Europe were to attempt to
improve ship to shore logistics capabilities they would do well to look at JLOTS as a starting point.
That is not to say it is without limitations, far from it in fact.
Despite the recent new introduction of the new OPDS and JHSV, both incidentally based on civilian
technology, the majority of JLOTS would not look out of place on Omaha beach.The collection of
Army and Navy systems each have their own issues and incompatibilities, they are manpower
intensive, slow,still rely onlighterage(even when using ELCAS-M), organisationally very complex
and are limited in sea conditions above Sea State 3. ELCAS-M requires all components to be landed
first, then the pier is built out from the shore, a lengthy process, although it does provide some
insulation from sea state issues.

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Making a Case for Change

The case for change comes in three parts;

A case study review

Current capabilities review
A look at the future

Case Study Review

The Mulberry harbours and D Day was perhaps the apogee of ship to shore logistics but as incredible
an achievement as they were, they still could not match the offload capacity of the existing French
and Dutch ports.
Even a massive mobile port like mulberry was no match for an established port.
PLUTO was less of a success but the lesser known TOMBOLA exceeded all expectations although
more fuel was delivered by tankers and ports than any other method
Even ingenious and innovative systems like PLUTO and TOMBOLA were no match for an
established port
Of course, these are obvious conclusions and certainly no surprise to the D Day planners but do
worth reinforcing when looking forward.
There are a number of others, many of them obvious but easy to ignore;

Not invented here, hubris and inter service rivalry is corrosive and counter-productive.
Civilian industry has solutions that can be exploited for military need .
Training in realistic scenarios is essential to success.
The weather can really screw things up.
Separating loading and unloading from tide and wave is the key to high offload rates for
expedient solutions.
Accurate surveys are critical to success.

When Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982 the scale of the challenge had many echoes of
D-Day; a need for joint service cooperation and a number of technical challenges to overcome for
example. What we did not have was the luxury of time, no time to develop new and novel solutions,
no time for testing and no time for practice beyond what was available on the journey south.
Argentine commanders considered the most likely British landings would be in the same place as
they did, close to Port Stanley. Their USMC training and doctrine told them to ignore the other
options and so they extensively mined the beach areas to the north of the airport and other beach
locations, the same beach locations they used in their invasion.
Land where the enemy is not.
Intelligence about possible landing sites was essential; local knowledge gained by RM personnel over
many years, technical information collection and close observation by special forces were all used
As in 1944, accurate surveys are critical to success.

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Establishing the Beach Support Area (BSA) took much longer than expected because after the initial
attacks at San Carlos the various stores ships were withdrawn with only those unloading allowed in
the area. The enemy action had an effect on the build-up in a way that was simply not envisaged.
Despite being moored very close to the beach, Individual ship offloads took a long time because the
force had no options other than the use of lighterage i.e. Mexeflotes and landing craft.
Offload rates are function of distance from shore and the number of transport modes .
Packed fuel (jerrycans) was a problem, the initial landings saw Mexeflotes ferrying Bedford PODs
(fuel tankers) back and forth between Ajax Bay Red Beach and ships in San Carlos water, refilling at
the ship end and discharging into jerrycans at the land end. If one looks at many of the pictures of
Mexeflotes in San Carlos a Bedford POD is almost a constant fixture. This was not efficient but given
the relatively low numbers of vehicles the task force had at their disposal it was not a battle loser in
the way that the lack of fuel has been in the past.
Fuel demand should not be underestimated and the method of transfer from ship to shore must
cater for the estimated demand, and more.
The lack of a single fuel policy also meant that the fuel distribution system had to cope with aviation
fuel, diesel and Civgas.
A single fuel policy is a must.
Normal usage rates or (Daily Ammunition Expenditure Rates DAER) were regularly exceeded,
sometimes by spectacular margins.
Usage estimates must be established against recent operations and realistic exercises.
The difficult terrain and lack of transport meant distributing stores onwards from the Beach Support
Area was difficult, getting it onto a beach was one thing but getting it to the point of use was very
much another. A lack of palletisation and poor-quality packing materials were a constant problem.
MFO (Movements Forwarding Office) boxes were often used for stores and whilst these might have
been fine for moving between married quarters they were not for ship to shore amphibious logistics.
Spillage dues to damaged boxes and the need to repack created many needless delays and stores
Unit load devices; boxes, pallets and containers maximise efficiency.
In Iraq in 2003, the invasion was largely a land based affair but the build-up that preceded it made
use of already established ports although these established ports would need temporary
The use of ports is a constant and is not all about the combat phase.
During the operation to open Umm Qasr the key challenges were a damaged and neglected port and
waterway infrastructure, and the inconvenience of Iraqi mining. Counter mine and EOD operations
took much longer than expected and in the port, had to lean heavily on Australian clearance teams
because they were the only ones with an established method of port clearance.
Ports are a unique environment for mine and EOD clearance and need a separate approach, even
if that approach may exploit already in service equipment and personnel
Outside the port and in the approach waterways the mine countermeasures task demonstrated the
potential of unmanned system and the complexities of working with foreign flagged civilian
merchant vessels and insurance providers.
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Shallow water mine countermeasures will probably be needed before prior to any kind of
amphibious operation, speed, the ability to determine debris from a mine and confidence in the
final result are critical.
Local labour was and a broad array of civil engineering expertise were vital.
Ports need skilled and low skilled personnel
Haiti in 2010 was a very different operation conducted with the absence of an enemy, it was a
humanitarian disaster relief operation (HADR) in the aftermath of the powerful earthquake that
severely damaged the port at Port au Prince.
The geography and time of year also ensured that sea conditions were benign, another place and
another time may well have completely changed the ability of responders to get so much ashore so
Solutions must be capable of operating in adverse weather and in varied environments.
Information and reconnaissance assets were invaluable but by Day 2, Google had made available
high resolution satellite imagery which would form the basis of a number of innovative mapping and
survey applications and arrangements with all responders reporting it as having a very positive
impact on the response.
Accurate surveys and information were vital, yet again, but some of this can come from open
source and civilian providers.
Despite the local GSM infrastructure being damaged the communication tool of choice was the
Blackberry, being able to integrate civilian communication systems was a key lesson as was the
power of web services and SharePoint.
An information system that can differentiate and segment information and work ov er low
bandwidth unreliable data networks will be able to be used for a wide range of military and
civilian contingencies.
The divers at the seaport operated in atrocious water conditions without appropriate protective
equipment simply because none was available and the lack of joint training and equipment between
the Army and Navy dive teams introduced unnecessary delays. Divers actually took daily doses of
antibiotics and were constantly monitored for health problems, all for the lack of proper PPE.
Hazardous working environment protection should not be an optional extra.
The importance of material handling equipment (especially the Kalmar RTCH), being able to clear
pathways out of a port area and the ability to move supplies out of port areas were again reinforced.
Apparently minor capabilities like building a RORO ramp out of compacted earth and hardcore had a
huge impact on the ability to flow stores through the port.
Material handling equipment (MHE) is never available in enough quantities but they need trained
people to drive them.
The ISO container continued to prove it is much more efficient than break bulk, the ability of the SS
Cape May and SS Cornhusker State to load break bulk into containers was invaluable in the
reduction of crane and lighterage movements, moving half empty containers is a fools errand. Whilst
the JLOTS piers and lighters were invaluable for moving plant and vehicles to shore the amount of
double handling required for palletised and containerised stores meant in reality, it was quite
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inefficient. If it has wheels, JLOTS is very good, if it doesnt, there is great deal of double and triple
handling to be considered.
Reducing crane movements and double handling through the use of pallets, containers and
effective ship berthing is what actually makes the biggest difference for throughput.
The potential of the USNS Grasp was little understood, although she stayed the longest of any ship
and offered invaluable salvage, survey and diver support she was initially characterised by
SOUTHCOM as offering limited capability.
Survey and salvage are key enablers.
Delivering anything by helicopter, despite being very photogenic, is low capacity and inefficient,
particularly for dense stores like water. Much was made of the water generation capability of
amphibious warships and carriers but getting it to the point of need was another matter.
The large Army landing craft provided greater utility than the USMC and USN would like to admit,
they should be considered a key asset.
Although the smaller ports around Port au Prince were in some cases undamaged they were
arguably under-utilised in the response, some of the JLOTS personnel and equipment might have
been better used for this and indeed some of the civilian response did actually make use of these
smaller ports.
Ports, again.
Whilst many focus on the military response one could reasonably argue that it was a number of
civilian governmental and commercial organisations that actually did the heavy lifting and received
less credit than they should have. Military Sealift Command, The Maritime Transportation System
Recovery Unit, US Coast Guard, Transport Command, Crowley Marine, Titan Salvage, Seacor and
Resolve Marine being notable examples. They were rolling quickly, often with only verbal
agreements in place, Crowley even had a small float plane fly in a survey team on the 18th of
January, the Sea Express and Cape Express combined with the Marcajama and SS Cornhusker State
and the survey and debris removal paved the way for the port to open with the Crowley barges.
Civilian providers, techniques, equipment and expertise is just as useful as military, if not more so.
The step change in throughput when the two barges arrived was noticeable (although the actual
profile in reality would have been smoother); as soon as the second Crowley barge was in place
JLOTS was only used for military traffic. The first barge arrived on 13th of February after salvage and
debris removal commenced on the 3rd of February. If this salvage operation had commenced earlier
the barges may have been available sooner and the need for much of the JLOTS capability
diminished. That a single cheap and simple barge with a crawler crane could deliver more than
double the assembled military capability throughput is an interesting observation.
Large barges allow ships to dock directly, reducing crane moves and transfer to lighterage.
To summarise the case study observations;

Ports are always used and it is much more efficient to repair a port than build your own.
If you cant make use of an existing port, bringing your own is a valid option but make sure
the offload and loading infrastructure is separated from the sea and has sufficient ability to
unload containers and vehicles.

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Civilian industry has solutions that can be exploited for military need.
Training in realistic scenarios is essential to success.
Solutions need to be robust and resistant to weather and extremes of climate.
Accurate surveys are always critical to success.
Mine countermeasures, like surveys, are critical to success.
Salvage, repair and dredging are have relatively low resource requirements but potentially
large impacts on port operations.
Bulk fuel capabilities is just as important and vehicles and stores.
Offload rates can be hugely increased by reducing crane movements and allowing larger
ships to offload directly, without lighterage.
Dont ignore people and skills, especially the locals where applicable.
Material handling equipment, containers and pallets contribute significantly to efficiency
and offload rates.
Large landing craft and amphibious vehicles are extremely useful.

Current Capabilities Review

Observing and analysing past amphibious and ship to shore logistics operations can provide a vital
insight into the requirements of today and tomorrow but they do not tell all the story.
When you look at the UKs ability to covertly survey a beach, clear mines, land light forces by sea and
air, prepare a beach for repeated trafficking, get stores and heavy vehicles over the same beach and
sustain them with specialist capabilities like fuel dracones and pumping equipment it is clear that
this is not a capability for show, it is a capability for doing.
Over the beach fuel, covert survey and specialist beach recovery vehicles are all indicators of a
serious force, they might not be showy but they are essential and that the UK has managed to retain
these little discussed capabilities is testament to good decision making.
But whilst it is perfectly formed, it is small and there are some clouds on the horizon.
SDSR 2010 basically saw the Army trying to minimise support for 3 Commando Brigade because, lets
be honest, it wanted to prioritise the field Army and not the Royal Navy. We can argue that one all
day long but it was only after a series of fairly fraught negotiations that some of the combat support
functions were retained, specifically the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers. 3 Commando also lost
the attached 1 Rifles. 29 RA has lost a number of light guns and 24 RE has not formed a second
commando engineer squadron.
The future is also less than rosy on the ships front.
HMS Ocean is due out of service in the 2018 timeframe with no replacement. Although she will not
be missed by many I think HMS Ocean has delivered sterling service for what was, not a lot of
money. The role of HMS Ocean will be absorbed by the QE class carriers. Although the decision will
have to be confirmed by SDSR 2015, the mod music seems to be that both QE carriers will be bought
into service. Whether this means both in service simultaneously or both in service in a paired
rotation like HMS Albion and Bulwark is yet to be decided.
My money is on the latter, one in service at any one time.
In many ways, the large and modern QE class will be streets ahead of HMS Ocean but in others, it
has a few features (or lacks them) that makes it somewhat of a less than perfect replacement. No
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landing craft or vehicle deck means that embarked forces will have to go ashore by helicopters only
and with minimal vehicles. There may be some room in the hangar or on deck for vehicles but
parking Land Rovers next to F35Bs in the main hangar does not seem like a recipe for a stress free
The more helicopters on-board for Royal Marines means fewer F35Bs or Merlin HM.2s for ASW or
When you only have one ship in the LPH and fixed wing aviation role the conflicting demands of
those missions conspire to compromise both. It is also likely that our single QE carrier will operate
further offshore than HMS Ocean for obvious reasons. This results in longer transits to shore,
reduced cycle times and momentum.
Which means there are two choices, bring a QE close to shore or just accept a reduced operational
tempo during ship to shore transfers.
Maintaining both HMS Albion and Bulwark at the same specification will need future spending as
they get to their out of service dates towards the 2030 timeframe and this will be difficult to find.
Due to cost pressures they only had relatively limited aviation facilities and so would find it difficult
to take up any slack from the withdrawal of HMS Ocean.
Personnel shortages continue to degrade capability in the RFA.
The strategic RORO service now only has 4 vessels on permanent charter instead of the original 6.
The entire 3 Commando Brigade has the sum total of 99 protected mobility vehicles (Viking) and an
eclectic collection of other soft skinned vehicles.
Whilst the Mexeflote is one of the wonders of the modern world, they are getting long in the tooth
and in need if replacement.
Helicopters are a rare bright spot, the Merlin HC4/4a will be a step change compared to the Sea
Kings although there are potential problems with the maintenance of availability and during the
transition, capacity will be fairly low. Whether the Apache Attack Helicopter replacement
programme will give operations from ships any priority is in question, aspirations and trade offs
during project definition stages might clash. The lack of a powered rotor fold/brake for the Chinook
fleet also continues to constrain their use in the amphibious role.
One could argue that we have, and are likely to, make use of ports more than beaches and
therefore, the balance of investment should go to the port augmentation and enabling capabilities
that whilst there, are relatively small and established mostly on a reserve basis.
For survey and mine countermeasures, both the Army and Royal Navy have very well established
and modern capabilities with a strong development path. However, we could make a reasonable
argument that the port environment is one which has not benefited from the advances in unmanned
systems to take the man out of the minefield and a lack of joint training for port clearance and
survey points to a shortfall.
Is it worth strengthening the port and over the shore logistics capability in a time of budget stress
and shrinking amphibious capabilities?
A difficult question with no easy answers.

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I am of the opinion that traditional amphibious combat capabilities remain vital for the UK and
would not be in favour of reducing that at the expense of improved port and logistic capabilities but
the fact remains that ports will be just as vital, if not more so, than beaches.

Future Operating Environments

It is rather a hackneyed thing to say but the world is changing, and that means the worlds shorelines
are changing also.
The MoDs Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) regularly publish a document called
Global Strategic Trends which describes the context for defence and security out to 2045.
It is available from this link
Global Strategic Trends is an excellent document that should be used to inform capability
generation. One of its themes is that of urbanisation.
With 70% of the global population likely to live in cities by 2045, urbanisation will be a
particularly important theme in developing countries. Urbanisation is likely to enhance
economic and social development, but without mitigation measures may also lead to
pressure on infrastructure (and the environment) which could contribute to social tensions
within the urban population. Urbanisation and the effects of climate change are likely to
result in an increase in the magnitude of humanitarian crises, particularly since the
majority of urban areas will almost certainly be either on, or near the coast, making these
cities vulnerable to flooding.
The worlds population increasingly moving to cities and those cities are increasingly situated on
The United Nations also publish an annual report on urbanisation.
Migration to coastal regions is common in both developed and developing nations and population
density is observed being higher in coastal cities than in other areas.
If the current trends in population growth, urbanisation and migration continue over three quarters
of the worlds population will be living within 150km of the coast.

By 2030 it is predicted that the coastline between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro will be a single urban
sprawl housing 40 million people. In South East Asia 75% of all cities with a population in excess of
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2.5million are on the coast. Closer to home, the Mediterranean basin has one of the highest
population densities anywhere.
This recent video from RUSI of David Kilcullen is well worth the time to watch;
Population growth results in an increased level of coastal land development, dredging, land
reclamation, pipelines, port development, marinas, storage facilities, fisheries and mines. Sea walls
are built, flood defences built and in general, nice, easy to access coastline becomes increasingly
under threat.

In the developing world, the lack of effective governance and land management means land
development generally wins over beach preservation. Where beaches, coral reefs and mangrove
swamps are retained it is because they are valuable to local economies but they will be under
constant pressure.
Coastal terrain is incredibly varied, a marina, deep water port, beach, mangrove swamp, mudflat,
industrial facility, rocks and cliffs and a load more. Existing amphibious capabilities are generally
limited to beaches.
What this will result in is a shortage of areas in which amphibious forces can approach objectives will
reduce and continue to reduce. If the objective is to capture a port then the chance of accessible
coastline being within practical reach of that port becomes increasingly low. The point of access to
the objective becomes a very long ruler which compounds the logistics problem.
In short, as the worlds population grows, urbanises and concentrates in coastal regions amphibious
operations become very complicated as terrain that can be accessed by existing system reduces in
If course, I am not saying the worlds beaches are an endangered species but that options are
reducing and will reduce further as these trends continue.
The images below show a selection of coastal terrain from various parts of the developed and
developing world that shows its increasing diversity, development, and resistance to conventional
ship to shore logistics capabilities;

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Increasing population and globalisation means increasing trade.

Increasing trade means increasing shipping activity.
This does not necessarily mean more ports and ships, it has generally meant bigger ships (New Post
Panamax and Malacca Max for example) and fewer ports, supply and demand driving the need for
greater efficiency, automation and fewer platforms
Infrastructure needed for different types of cargo (bulk, liquids, RORO and containers) has also
resulted in port specialisation. Felixstowe for example has no RORO, bulk or liquid cargo facilities
whatsoever. Increasingly large and specialist ports act as hubs and more numerous feeder ports
collect and distribute on short sea routes, typical hub and spoke configurations being the norm.
There are about 500 container ports worldwide able to handle more than a thousand TEUs per year
with the largest able to handle container capacity in the millions per year but it is noteworthy that
less than 20% of worldwide ports handle containers in any meaningful manner despite the high
penetration of containerised traffic which means container handling equipment is not as widespread
as might be imagined.
The smaller ports (and inland ports) tend to be multipurpose and in order to meet the demands that
results from consolidation in mega ports they are both being developed and becoming more
Below is another collection of images but this time, showing the range of diversity of small to
medium size port infrastructure.

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So more and better ports at the smaller scale but fewer ports and high levels of automation in the
mega ports.
If we believe that future operations in Africa may be more likely than less port trends in Africa are
important to consider. Here we find that port density compared to coastline is low and large areas
do remain undeveloped. There are many small and medium sized ports approaching capacity, quality
of aids to navigation, machinery availability and dredging consistency also plagues many African
As ships get larger so do their draughts and this is often a limiting factor.
This means if a ship absolutely needs to access a port it can either offload to lighters or arrive at less
than capacity so decrease their draughts, none are ideal
One survey found that in order to access ports in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield the
average utilisation of US sealift ships was a mere 23% of their maximum capacity, the implications of
which should be obvious to all.
During Operation Restore Hope in Somalia the first three US propositioning ships to arrive at
Mogadishu had to turn around and go elsewhere or back to Diego Garcia because it was too shallow.
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The conclusion I am drawn to is that the UK and others have emphasised the combat element of
force projection over an enemy shore and whilst not ignoring the logistic element, have not given it
sufficient budgetary or intellectual priority.
Ports survey, enablement and augmentation and the ability to transfer significant quantity of
materials at a sufficient pace over an enemy coastline (or through a port) are simply not good
enough for todays forces with their voracious appetites for fuel, stores and ammunition.
Look at the F35B or Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers and compare them to what was available for
the D Day planners, they couldnt be more different.
Do the same for the logistics elements.
What you actually see is a set of equipment that would not look out of place on Gold or Omaha
beaches and in fact, when taken in the round, is probably not as capable.
Survey and MCM have progressed enormously but how would they cope with the same D Day
obstacles and mines?
Todays capabilities are also still hopelessly tied to beaches. All well and good, but increasing
urbanisation means beaches are giving way to the built environment and therefore become fewer in
number. As suitable beaches become fewer in number they become more obvious and therefore
easier to defend.
This means the simple expedient of landing where the enemy is not becomes increasingly difficult
and the whole basis on which amphibious operations are based, increasingly tenuous. Urbanisation
and industrialisation of the coastal environment is funnelling amphibious operations into an ever
decreasing number of locations. If bypassing the coast is not practical for operations at scale, the
inescapable conclusion is that amphibious operations must be able to exploit terrain other than
This points to two requirements;

Be able to exploit a greater range of small and austere ports for logistics activity whether those
ports are well found or degraded, and be able to repair damaged ports so they can receive

Be able to exploit a wider range of coastal terrain than just beaches where port access is not
practicable and significantly increase the throughput compared to existing solutions.

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Increment 1
Increment is designed to satisfy the first objective; be able to exploit a greater range of small and
austere ports for logistics activity whether those ports are well found or degraded, and be able to
repair damaged ports so they can receive shipping.
Accepting that rehabilitating and/or augmenting an existing port is both the preferred and lowest
cost option a set of requirements will need to be defined before means of meeting that requirement
Existing ports have berthing space for many ships at the same time, facilities for specialist cargo such
as fuel, cranes and material handling equipment in abundance, hard standings and covered
warehousing, connection to road and rail routes and in some cases, a ready supply of labour. Not all
operational scenarios involve direct combat in these port areas, in fact, it would be the very last
thing any joint force commander would want.
But there are many scenarios that do not involve direct combat such as responding to a disaster,
augmenting a fully working port as part of a force build up phase or pushing into an existing port to
establish a logistics lodgement area much quicker than using a beach where no direct threat exists.
The port may be operate as a small feeder port, in a hub and spoke arrangements, as part of a
seabasing capability or as a direct port of entry.
The requirements set out below are modular, apart from survey they may be no requirement for
certain of the component parts, each one is a 'mix and match' based on needs.

Survey and Decision Support
The survey phase is arguably the most important as it describes a common recognised picture of the
environment and task at hand.
It might at first be imagined that a port survey would simply comprise of a bathymetric survey of
approach routes, berths and turning basins but for a port to be of use to a joint force commander or
humanitarian response effort it must include much more.
It is this breadth of need that makes it a relatively complex task and the drives the requirement to
involve skills and capabilities across the defence spectrum, and possibly beyond defence as well. The
baseline for a port survey is of course bathymetric and sub-surface obstruction information but it
should also include the following;

Berthing and mooring facilities; are they damaged, are they in a good enough condition for
shipping and what augmentation or repair is needed
RORO linkspans, ramps and slipways; are they damaged, are any present, can they support
the required traffic levels and shipping types
Aids to navigation; are they present, in the right place and in what condition, can they
support safe navigation for military and civilian shipping
Handling equipment; cranes, reach stackers, forklift trucks and port tractors could all
contribute to cargo handling but are they in a serviceable and safe condition, what spares or
repairs do they need and how many of each are present

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People; harbour pilots, stevedores, security and engineers are all essential and will be
needed to supplement military or aid agency personnel, does the port have a functioning
team of people, can they be re-employed if not and is it possible to employ additional local
Warehousing and storage facilities; hard standing, buildings, refrigerated storage and fuel
tanks (with their associated pipelines and pumps) allow ships to be cycled through the port
quickly, their condition and capacity will form part of the planning calculations
Access roads; if stores are to move beyond the port the surrounding access roads will need
to be assessed
Others; utilities, security, radio systems and helicopter access are additional survey

The simple objective is to create an accurate, geo-referenced survey of the port, its facilities and
potential for operability at a scale required by operational need. A gap analysis between the as
found state and requirements of the joint commander creates a statement of requirements for
repair, augmentations and operation.
It is here that a Decision Support Tool would be invaluable.
There might be many moving parts in play, emerging needs, changing situations and information
that may be incomplete. Using a bespoke software package will help formulate and manage the
response whilst providing accurate work packages and status updates as the operation continues.
The survey team should be able to operate in hazardous environments and at both extremes of the
temperature scale.

Explosive Ordnance Clearance and Disposal

Before any work can take place to rehabilitate the port it must be made safe. Deliberate mining and
IED's or unexploded munitions represent difficult challenges in a port environment requiring
specialist skills and equipment.
One way of visualising the environment to be cleared is the port above water, the water in the port
and the water surrounding the port. As the tide falls and rises there will be places that qualify for the
first two categories but the challenge remains.
Shipping must have safe access to the port via a cleared channel and in the case of deliberate mining
this requirement may be a significant element.
Some devices can be made safe in situ, some ignored but others will need to be explosively cleared
before operations can commence.

Force Protection and Life Support

The underlying assumption for this proposal is that immediate close combat has ceased or never
started but this does not mean there would be no need for force protection measures. Security
personnel, perimeter fences, access control and monitoring equipment may be needed, scaled
against the threat.
Potable water, rations, accommodation, ablutions and other facilities for maintenance of the
embarked force may be replaced by using afloat facilities but in general, these would be better
provided within the port. They may also need to be expanded for locally employed and transiting
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Debris Removal
If the port has been subject to war damage or natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes it may
be degraded or completely inoperable. The decision on whether to attempt a restoration or
implement other arrangements like a beach landing would be subject to the initial survey findings
but in general, a degraded or damaged port is likely to provide much greater potential throughput
over the medium term.
There is established practice and good procedures for post disaster zone debris removal; prioritising
transport routes, segregation of hazardous waste, de-fuelling vehicles and recycling for example, but
the objective of this port opening capability is necessarily focussed on the short to medium term so
speed is of the essence and the proper handling of debris traded against it.
It is important to appreciate the difference between civilian maritime salvage, port construction and
rehabilitation, and what would be both possible and desirable within this capability. It is not to
repair or augment a port in general terms but only to do so to a level that is desired of the operation.
Follow on repair and augmentation is the job of civilian agencies, governments and contractors.
The main focus of debris removal would be to make it safe and push it out of the way, thats it.
There is a blurred line between the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and debris removal tasks
because UXO's can be rendered temporarily safe by simply moving them out of the way for disposal
at a later stage. They can be left in situ and protective berms or other barriers erected around them,
it would all depend on the quantity, types and surrounding environment.
Longer term rehabilitation will ensure the safe disposal of waste and debris but in the first few days
and weeks the priority will be enabling the port for traffic and increasing that traffic.
Not all of this debris will be hazardous, wood; sediments, green waste, rubble and soil generally
comprises the bulk of post disaster waste and can be a valuable resource for the recovery effort.
Other debris will be hazardous; unexploded munitions, medical waste, toxic chemicals and
human/animal bodies will all pose a risk to those in the area.
Damage to infrastructure and the types and distribution of waste materials will show different
characteristics depending on how it was made; an artillery barrage on a port will produce different
damage and debris than an earthquake or storm for example.
Sunken ships and barges; these represent the most significant removal challenge because of their
sheer size and weight. In most cases removal will beyond the scope of the proposed capability.
Large ships and barges would usually be left in situ to await disposal using specialist civilian
Libyan ship sunk by the RAF

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Port of Sendai in Japan 2011

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Containers and other Sunken or Floating Debris; At a smaller scale than ships and barges the
potential for other floating debris to cause port disruption is much greater. As seen in Haiti, Japan
and New Orleans, the aftermath of a natural disaster such as a storm very often results in small
boats being displaced, intermodal containers falling into the water, fishing nets coming loose and
other general debris.
These can cause hazards in the port turning basins and berths and prevent trafficking of the port.

St Barth

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General Port Damage; Earthquakes, tsunamis and storms/hurricanes are extremely destructive to
the port infrastructure, port contents and surrounding area. Earthquakes are particularly destructive
because they not destroy buildings in situ, they also damage their foundations. These foundations
can also include mooring facilities, harbour walls and roadways, infrastructure that even the most
intense of storms has trouble with. Container stacks may be toppled and cranes dropped into the
water, insulated and reefer containers are insulated with foam so naturally buoyant.
Damage to approach roads, hard standings, concrete piles and container storage areas may also
have been caused by longer term neglect and lack of maintenance.

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Organic Matter; not just sewage but trees and vegetation (green waste) that might be obstructing
roads, access and storage areas. Floating organic matter may also be present in the water if the port
handles timber or is near to timber processing facilities.
Human Remains; there exists a very real possibility of encountering human remains during any
clearance activity and they will need to be handled with care and respect, not only because it is the
decent thing to do but could be enormously counter-productive to relationships with local people
and could damage security relationships. Uncleared human remains can be a source of infection so
rapid disposal is an additional protection against disease in already, potentially, immune suppressed

Equipment Damage Repair

In parallel with debris and waste removal the repair of existing machinery and systems such as port
lighting, lifting equipment, warehouse space, traffic control and navigation equipment should be
Repair capacity will be finite although may be augmented by local resource who are likely to have
excellent knowledge. It is also likely that this local resource, if available, will also be able to operate
the repaired equipment.
Repairing equipment in-situ can be a significant 'throughput multiplier' and if nothing else, removes
the need to transport replacements to site.

The need for dredging will depend on many factors but will generally include the restoration of
previously dredged areas that have silted up, rather than cutting new channels into rock or sand. A
port may have neglected dredging due to wars or lack of economic activity with its subsequent
shipping traffic. Damage to the port may leave a part of the quayside the best option for traffic even
though it does not usually have the required depth.
Dredging might imply a long term operation but specialist dredging equipment can be very time
efficient and given it would be used for maintenance dredging activity it remains a valid
To determine the need for dredging two items of information are needed, current depth and
required depth. Current depth will be determined from the survey stage but required depth
(whether possible or not) will be a function of the kind of ships involved with the operation.
For a short notice operation, ships will need to be part of an established military/civilian organisation
like the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Military Sealift Command or available on the market at relatively
short notice.
These ship types are...
Mixed passenger and vehicles, usually on short sea routes and includes a wide variety of designs.
The image below shows the Canadian MS Chi-Cheemaun, a 7,000 tonne vessel with a bow visor
vehicle ramp and 650 passenger capacity. It is typical of the type and has a draught of a touch under

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This combines container holds with roll on roll off vehicle decks, an example of which was
the Atlantic Conveyor owned by the Atlantic Container Line. The Atlantic Compass in the image
below is a large G3 Class vessel with a design draught of 9.75m but can carry over 3,000 twenty foot
containers and a thousand small vehicles.

It is unlikely that a short term port restoration mission would be hosting the large Maersk E Class
type of container ships but there are many smaller feeder container ships, usually between 500 and
3,000 TEU. The image below shows the Samskip Endeavour from Damen. It can carry 804 TEU's and
has a draught of 7.33m

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Freight RORO
Carrying only vehicles and containers these are a common type of vessel and the UKs Strategic
RORO vessels are a good example. The Point class are of a Flensburger CONRO 220 design of 14,200
gross tonnage with capacity of 2,650 lane metres. It has a draught of 7.6m

Bulk fuel can be landed in ISO Tank Containers, wheeled tankers or pumped ashore using flexible
pipelines so refined fuel tankers may not form a large part of the inbound shipping into a
rehabilitated port but they are included here for completeness. To distinguish them from crude oil
tankers they are called Product Tankers, having stainless steel or coated holds with segregated
pumping arrangements. Sizes can vary but the Medium Range and coastal types are most common.
The image below shows the Stena Caribbean, built by FKAB, with a gross tonnage of just under 8,600
tonnes and a draught of 6.5m

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Container Barge
Coastal and oceanic barges are used extensively for container transport in conjunction with tugs.
Sizes vary considerably with the larger types are ocean going with double or triple decks for roll on
roll off trailers. The image below shows the Crowley El Morro that has a draught of less than 4m.

The US Military Sealift Command (MSC) RORO/Container ship is a good example of a strategic sea-lift
vessel that could be used in a port rehabilitation scenario. The USNS Redcloud shown below is
typical of the type with a draught of 10.4m

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Joint High Speed Vessel

The US MSC Joint High Speed Vessel is based on a high speed catamaran ferry used for short
distance routes. Besides its high speed, one of the principal selling points for this type of vessel is the
shallow draught at 3.8m.

Although the whole point of a landing platform type amphibious vessel is to be able to ignore ports
it would still be useful if it could make use of a port. The Bay class Landing Platform Dock (Auxiliary)
has a draught of 5.8m

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Across these different types of ships there is a wide range of draughts, between 4m and 8m are the
majority of small to medium sized vessels. 8m to 12m brings in the really large vessels like the the US
LMSR's and CONRO's like the ACL G3's but these would likely be the exception.
4m to 8m is a good working target draught to work to, which means a dredged depth of 8m to 10m.
Although the large Landing Craft Tank (LCT) type vessel has largely fallen out of favour with military
forces they are still popular for coastal and island shipping, transporting vehicles, engineering plant,
cargo and people. Because of their shallow draught they would be invaluable in the early stages of
port rehabilitation, either inside the port boundaries or nearby.
LCU Mk10
The UK Landing Craft Utility Mk 10 is typical of a vehicular landing craft commonly used during
amphibious operations. It has a draught of 1.5m

The Mexeflote is also typical of the powered modular pontoon systems commonly used in both
civilian and military applications. Unloaded they have a draught of 300mm and are only 1.5m deep.

Ramped Craft Logistics

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The RLC's Ramped Craft Logistics have now all been disposed of but they are typical of the 30m type
able to carry over 90 tonnes of cargo or 3 20ft ISO containers. They have a draught of only 1.5m, the
image below shows a former RLC RCL now owned by Ferguson Transport and called the Leslie Ann
used to support the MoD/QinetiQ range tracking station at Hirta on St Kilda.

Bahamas Express
The Bahamas Express is next up the size ladder at 60m. It was built by St John Shipbuilding and is
now owned by Seacor Island Lines. It is a RORO design able to carry up to 26 TEU in RORO mode or
double that if stacked and lifted off and on. Draught is 2.1m.

Damen Stan Lander

The Stan Lander is a standard design in use with many operators that can carry up to 60 vehicles
with a draught of 2.1m. The image below shows an illustration of the design used in the Royal
Bahamas Defence Force project Sandy Bottom.

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the Frank S Besson class

In service with the US Army is the 83m General Frank S Besson Logistic Support Vessel. They can
discharge 900 tonnes over the beach or 2,000 when used in a conventional configuration. They
have a draught of 3.7m

Large landing craft can be extremely useful, even when rehabilitating a port. With a draught of
between 1.5m and 4m combined with an ability to beach they should be part of equipment matrix.

Mooring Fixtures
Mooring fixtures include fenders, bollards, ship arrestors, berthing/breasting and mooring dolphins.
In general terms there are three types of port mooring configuration.
A conventional quay for RORO, container and cruise ships. The area will have fenders to protect the
wall and ship and a series of bollards for securing mooring lines. Ships will be moored on their
longitudinal axis parallel and in close proximity to the quay wall. Cargo will be discharged using
cranes or side ramps and gangways.
Bulk products like LNG, coal, ore and oil are carried in very large vessels that need deep water when
fully loaded. Relatively small loading platforms are connected to shore by long jetties carrying pipes
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or conveyor belts. Ships are secured against breasting dolphins by lines connected to mooring
dolphins, dolphins being sturdy steel and concrete constructions secured to the seabed using steel
RORO ships use a variety of methods; simple slipways, extending and multi-layer linkspans or
conventional port walls if fitted with suitable slewing ramps.
Because of the large forces they have to withstand dolphins and bollards have a necessarily
substantial construction with reinforced concrete and large diameter steel piling being the norm.
Various combinations of pneumatic and rubber fixed and mobile fenders are used. Ports are also
increasingly implementing suction and other types of automatic mooring systems.
Conventional Mooring

Bollard and Fender

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Terminal Mooring

Oil Terminal

RORO Example

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Mooring dolphin

Bollard Damage

Parallel Movement Fender

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Cone Fender

This massive construction is both an advantage and disadvantage, not so good because they take
time to install, therefore deployable solutions are rather thin on the ground. On the other hand,
their heavy construction does make them very resistant to damage, even deliberate explosive
demolition would require some time.
A temporary solution may be needed, either to improve or replace existing damaged facilities.

Ship Interface - RORO Linkspan or Ramp

RORO ships have ramps that drop down onto the quayside or dedicated linkspan. Some ports that
have a high tidal range may need arrangements that allow ships to load and unload regardless of the
tide. RORO ships also have different configurations as shown below.
Side and Quarter Ramp

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Slewing and Stern Ramp

These different types of RORO ramps place restrictions on how and where they can be used.
Conventional quaysides are only accessible by quarter, slewing or stern ramps. Those ships with rear
ramps cannot make use of the quayside unless they are moored stern in or in the 'Med moor'
arrangement. The difference in height between the quayside and lowered ramp also places many
restrictions on how they can be used.
A typical landing craft will be unable to use a normal quayside and thus require arrangements.
There are two basic methods to address these issues.
The first is to use a ramp or slipway, this is the simplest and lowest cost and therefore most common
for smaller and lower volume ports. They can be of earth or concrete construction and fitted with
mooring bollards, fenders and connecting roadways.
Concrete Ramp 1

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Concrete Ramp 2

Concrete Ramp 3

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Concrete Ramp 4

The other method is to make use of a device called a linkspan. A linkspan is an intermediate device
that evens out the different heights of the ship cargo deck/ramp and the quayside.
The mechanical support linkspan uses a mechanical system, usually hydraulic, to raise and lower
ramp onto which the RORO ships ramp is landed. The support housing is secured to the seabed using
piles. Tidal range and different ship deck heights can be compensated by raising and lowering the
deck and the more complex types have multiple ramps for fast loading and unloading of vehicles and
foot passengers.
Mechanical Linkspan 1

Mechanical Linkspan 2

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Mechanical Linkspan 3

Mechanical Linkspan 4

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A floating linkspan falls and rises with the tide, the main structure being buoyant. Some ramp height
variability can be accommodated using tank ballasting and they are usually of single deck
construction, although some multi deck floating linkspans are in use. The landing area and tank
creates a large water-plane resulting in good resistance to traffic loads.
They comprise two main components, the landing platform (usually incorporating the flotation tank)
and connecting roadway.
Floating Linkspan 1

Floating Linkspan 2

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Floating Linkspan 3

Floating Linkspan 4

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Floating Linkspan 5

The requirement for RORO interface comes in two parts.

Linkspan; A deployable linkspan that will enable the UK strategic RORO ships (like many other stern
ramp types) to load and unload at a conventional quayside where no linkspan or ramp/slipway exists
Ramp; The ability to quickly create a ramp or slipway for use with stern ramp RORO ships and
landing craft using expedient materials.

Cargo Handling
The Point class Strategic RORO vessels are often used for ISO containers in addition to vehicles,
sometimes these ISO containers are carried on the same vehicles that will transport them to their
destinations but when these vehicles are not available there is an obvious need for some means of
transferring the containers from the ship and into the port area where they can either be crossloaded onto other vehicles, stored, repacked or otherwise handled.
The majority of ISO containers arrive at port on dedicated shipping, they are taken from the
container ship cells by large port cranes onto the quayside for handling by straddle carriers or
directly onto other container handling vehicles or trucks. Container handling in large dedicated ports
is increasingly automated and very efficient.
In the scenario envisaged by this requirement there may be a complete absence of dockside
handling equipment so bring your own is the order of the day but it would be impossible to match
the container move rates of a dedicated port equipment such as straddle carriers.
The Points also have a fairly sturdy deck crane, capable of lifting 40 tonnes at 25m outreach and
their container capacity is also impressive, 668 TEUs on Mafi trailers. Many general cargo ships also
have deck cranes that can offload onto a dockside without port infrastructure.
For those non RORO ships without cranes, some means of offloading containers and break bulk
cargo will be required. These would allow a rapid turn ship around, the key to throughput rates.
Container handling within the port area is another critical requirement.

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Aids to Navigation
In lieu of channel markers pilot boats can be used but for medium term operations aid to navigation
will need to be restored. These can include visual, audio and radio beacons on fixed points and

If the recovered port is to be used at night or during fog there will need to be some provision for
Modern ports and harbours have computer controlled lighting systems that are designed to
minimise electricity use by coordinating crane and ship movements with the hour of day and season,
security sensors and access control. The control circuits are often wireless and able to be
reprogrammed remotely, all very clever stuff. However, the type of location envisaged for use with
this proposal is unlikely to have this type of high technology solution.
With recent legal judgments any port area that is used for UK personnel will likely need to comply
with relevant Health and safety legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Dock
Regulations 1988 and the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. This might not be as onerous as
imagined because any equipment on the market will be in compliance with current regulation and
BS 12464-2007. Light pollution when operating at night may well impact key ships crew and pilots
night vision, it is not sufficient to simply flood an area with light (see what I did there!)
For most applications, where accurate colour rendering is not needed Metal Halide or High Pressure
Sodium are normally used although LED technology is now making headway in the market. Lighting
level requirements vary between 5 and 50 lux depending on area, working or storage for example
need differing levels.
The basic requirement will focus on repair of existing lighting but where none exists a temporary
lighting solution will enable continuous operation of the port.

Cargo Storage and Forward Loading

When cargo and vehicles have been offloaded from ships it (obviously) needs to go to the point of
need, the point of need usually being outside the boundary of the port. In some instances the stores
vehicles will simply be driven off the ship or landing craft and directly onward to beyond the port.
A more likely requirement is for a a static area in which they can be offloaded, stockpiled, organised
and selectively loaded on to vehicles for transport forward. For most cargo types this can be no
more than a flat free draining area with sufficient load bearing capacity for all terrain forklift trucks,
telehandlers and other material handling equipment.
An existing port will usually be well provisioned with covered warehouse space and refrigerated
storage but these might not be in suitable state for use.
Again, the requirement would focus on repair of existing facilities but clearance of rubble and
damaged equipment/buildings could create sufficient space for storage. Some modest refrigerated
storage would be useful in some circumstances.

Locally Employed Civilians

An existing port will have existing port workers and these are a valuable resource in most scenarios.
Provision for employing, organising and paying these civilians for the duration of the operation will
need an administrative capability and the ability to pay either in cash or other commodities of value.
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Power and Fuel Storage & Dispensing

Electrical power is the lifeblood of port operations and in the absence of grid power it will need to be
generated locally. Fuel for vehicles and generators is also an obvious requirement. Portable
generators, bunded fuel tanks, collapsible pipeline and dispensing equipment will all be needed to
sustain port operations.
Beyond basic operation of the port and its facilities, additional fuel storage and dispensing facilities
will support other operations, the fundamental reason for opening the port in the first place.

Timings, Transport and Tonnage

Timings form an important part of the requirement set but they should not be arbitrary and be
flexible enough to accommodate the hugely different range of scenarios in which the port
rehabilitation and augmentation capability might be used.
In a peace time build up before operations commence, the urgency and need for many of the
requirements simply not needed.
In the Kuwaiti port augmentation prior to operations in Iraq and 2003 there was no port damage, no
mines and in reality, no massive need for urgency. The task was simply to augment and existing port.
Haiti was completely different, the port had been destroyed and needed repair in very short order
but there were no mines or explosive ordnance that needed to be cleared. Umm Qasr in 2003 was a
degraded port with a significant amount of mine clearance activity needed but although it was time
important, it wasn't time critical.
Across the span of these three examples the timing requirement could be set from 'yesterday' to 'in
your own time'
There are many parts of the requirement whose width may be somewhat elastic, a single
unexploded mortar bomb or a harbour and approach channel full of mines for example.
One aspect that can have an achievable time requirement is notice to move for the survey team and
in this regard, 5 minutes is too long although 12 hours may be more sustainable! For a small survey
team in the grand scale of defence capabilities this should not be achievable or disproportionate.
In a non-deliberate deployment, all other capabilities should be held at 48-72 hours-notice to move,
by which time the survey team should be in theatre and reaching back to the planning cell in the UK
with their initial findings. Provisional loading onto transport may be possible prior to the full
requirement set being fully known (depending on availability of that transport) to claw back some

Generally speaking, the usual mode of transport will be ships but deployment by air and road, or
combinations of the three may well be required.
Quality information about the current state of the port and surrounding area will be priceless and
critical to success in an unplanned deployment scenario. It is here that time is of the essence and
this logically dictates certain modes of transport. These modes of transport impose size and weight
limitations on equipment.
The survey team equipment must be air portable.
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Considering the most likely disaster response scenarios transport to the target port will involve
multiple legs by road and air and in the interests of speed, the equipment and personnel might not
always be able to utilise their own means of transport. Practically speaking, this places a size
constraint on all equipment of the 20ft intermodal container. These may also be broken down into
Bicons, Tricons and Quadcons where they can be combined into a single 20 ft intermodal container
There may also be a requirement to utilise helicopter transport in the final leg, again, there are
practical size and weight limitations imposed by the normally available and common helicopter
types in service. Merlin/NH90/Mil 17 top out at around 4-5 tonne sling load and the Chinook, 10
tonnes. A decision on helicopter load constraints would see a choice being made between common
medium helicopters and the less common Chinook.
Most survey equipment is relatively lightweight and able to be boxed and palletised, keeping pallet
bundles under 4 tonnes should not be a significant challenge. It gets difficult however when we
consider survey boats but if inflatable systems are used the weight and size constraints may be met.
EOD systems must specifically comply with low magnetic aspects of STANAG 2895. Because the
survey and EOD tasks utilise many common systems the logical extension is fold both into the same
Therefore, for systems meeting the survey and EOD requirement in the initial stages of a port
rehabilitation and/or augmentation operation, they must be able to be broken down into 4 tonnes
loads that collectively, occupy a space no larger than a 20ft intermodal container.
All other equipment must be transportable by road
For all the other requirements, low weight and small dimensions are desirable but as a minimum, no
component part shall be larger than able to be transported by road. It is also desirable that key
individual items may be air transportable by A400M and C17.
Besides road and rail, the LCU Mk10 and Mexeflote may be key to initial equipment deployments
and so that equipment must be considered during specification. The A400M and V17 are also
obvious considerations.

Tonnage is a misleading name for a requirement, throughput is a better description. The main
requirement for port repair and augmentation is to increase the ability of that port to handle more
cargo than it either normally does or can currently. More cargo might mean specific types of cargo,
explosives or vehicles for example.
Or, it might mean containers.

Potential Solutions
From the requirements, a basic task list can be created and from this task list, a comparison against
current capabilities.
The first is to maintain a high readiness globally deployable survey team to assess a damaged,
austere or well found port within the port boundary, below the water surface and approach lanes.
From the survey would come a plan to meet whatever the operational requirements there may be
and from there, deploy appropriate resources to meet the plan, simple!
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The tasks could range from deploying a linkspan into an established and well found port (for
example Kuwait in 2003) or a complete rehabilitation like Haiti in 2010, with all points in between. In
the review of current capabilities the mine countermeasures, explosive ordnance disposal and force
protection capabilities are already in place and could simply be bolted on to the side of any
The sensible place to start when trying to describe a new capability is the organisational structures
into which they will reside, at least the core capabilities. 17 Port and Maritime Regiment would be
the logical starting point but because most of the actual personnel and equipment is likely to be
engineering, a Royal Engineers regiment might also be valid, or even a Royal Electrical and
Mechanical Engineers regiment. The Commando Logistics Regiment might also be a potential
Looking at the three options I think it would make more sense to attach a composite RE/REME/RLC
squadron to 17 Port and Maritime Regiment, it is the logical choice.
To be clear, Increment 1 is focussed on providing an improvement to existing capabilities without
breaking the bank. But the most significant cost would be personnel, an extra squadrons worth of
personnel would need to be either re-rolled from other units or additional personnel added to the
overall establishment. This additional capability would also make use of Army Reserve, contractor
and retained reserve personnel.
17 Port and Maritime Regiment has the following;

53 Squadron HQ and Port Enabling

52 Squadron Mexeflotes
53 Squadron Work Boats

17 Port and Maritime is paired with an Army Reserve regiment, 165 (Wessex) Port and Enabling
Regiment, which has the following;

264 Squadron HQ
142 Squadron Vehicle
232 Squadron Port
265 Squadron Port
266 Squadron Port
710 Squadron Operational Hygiene

509 STRE (port) would remain within 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group. 24 Engineer
Regiment (Commando) would remain but provide force protection and additional combat
engineering support for the expanded 17 Port and Maritime / 165 Port and Enabling regiments.
The proposal is to;

Expand 53 Squadron so that it can maintain a high readiness survey function,

Move the port enabling capability in 53 Squadron into a new squadron,
Attach an engineering plant heavy Royal Engineers squadron,
Attach a REME troop
Attach an AGC troop

The range of tasks will be aligned to the requirements described above, to summarise again;

Conduct a survey and create a detailed requirement list,

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Deploy sufficient force protection if deploying alone as a discrete force,

Clear the port, approaches and attached facilities of mines, IEDs and UXOs,
Remove debris, wreckage and other impediments if the port infrastructure is damaged,
Repair portable and fixed equipment and infrastructure,
Dredge berths, turning circles and approach lanes to the required depth,
Repair or install mooring fixtures and berths,
Deploy and operate cargo handling and transportation equipment,
Deploy and operate ship handling boats or tugs,
Repair or installed aids to navigation,
Repair or install lighting,
Deploy a RORO linkspan,
Deploy a fire protection capability,
Create a RORO ramp,
Deploy temporary cargo storage,
Employ and pay local civilians as required,
Establish liquids storage and distribution facilities.

The only task that would be needed for every deployment is the first one, survey. All others would
depend on the conditions of the port, the operating environment and any overarching mission
They might overlap and run in parallel depending on priorities.
It is also important to reiterate the scope of Increment 1; temporary repair and augmentation of
existing facilities. Long term repairs and new build is outside the scope, these tasks being usually
delivered by civilian contractors.

Conduct a Detailed Survey

To conduct a detailed survey the team will need to operate above and/or below the water surface. It
is an and/or because the survey may well be conducted in a well found port against a very narrow
The full team might not therefore, always be needed.
The options are many, but can be loosely grouped into three categories;
1. A damaged or austere port with no risk or IEDs, mines or attacks e.g. Port au Prince in Haiti
2. A damaged or austere port with a risk or IEDs, mines or attacks e.g. Umm Qasr 2003.
3. A well found port with no risk or IEDs, mines or attacks e.g. Kuwait in 2003
The mechanics of deployment will also require some flexibility.
In a deliberate operation one of the Royal Navy Echo class survey vessels would probably host the
survey team and deploy its survey motor boat. In the rapidly deployed scenario, the ship would not
be available and therefore an air deployed capability is needed. In this type of operation the survey
team would be operating in the context of a wider operation and so would benefit from in theatre
transport, force protection and logistic support. This means rapid deployability of the survey team
becomes less of a concern because they are already in theatre.

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In a response scenario, perhaps as a precursor to a wider operation or in response to a disaster,

deployability is a key issue.
The survey team will need to be maintained at high readiness, wagons rolling in 4 to 8 hours
followed by a flight into the target area with a boat or vehicle trip to the port. They must also be selfsustaining for a 72 hour deployment period.
If the target port is expected to contain IEDs or have a high risk of attack, some local force
protection elements and an RE Search Team (REST) will be needed to support the survey team.
Rather than overt armoured vehicles it would be more practical to use B Vehicle types or light
commercials because they would be more deployable.
Therefore, any equipment must be air deployable and vehicle mounted, demountable if operating
from a ship.
Before deploying the survey team would extract information from existing sources; satellite imagery,
Admiralty Charts and commercial information. This information would be loaded onto rugged
laptops and taken with them. During the journey the team would plan the survey, optimal approach
routes for example.

The baseline requirement for a survey is to determine the general outline of the port, facilities and
its buildings, before progressing to the underwater environment.
Most ports will already have some information available in the public domain or available in the
Additional Military Layers (AML) data set from the UKHO Defence Maritime Geospatial Intelligence
Centre, as ratified by NATO under STANAG 7170, but given the locations of likely target ports
detailed information may not be available so a rapid environment assessment is the first stage in
augmenting any existing information.
AML supports the following information sets;

Contour Line Bathymetry (CLB)

Environment, Seabed, and Beach (ESB)
Large Bottom Objects (LBO)
Maritime Foundation Facilities (MFF)
Routes, Areas, and Limits (RAL)
Small Bottom Objects (SBO)

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In addition to AML, the Defence Maritime Geospatial Intelligence Centre provides Environmental
Briefing Dockets (EBD), Strategic Port Products and Beach Intelligence and Survey Database (BISD)
but they do not provide specific port capabilities information.
Public domain information will be readily available including satellite visuals and mapping and port
information such as that available from the Lloyds List, IHS Fairplay Ports and Terminals Guide or
Guide to Port Entry for example.
Commercial satellite imagery providers such as Digital Globe and Saab Vricon can provide geo
corrected high resolution satellite imagery and 3D data on demand. A comprehensive picture should
be available for most ports and these can be confirmed and expanded using a combination of rapid
airborne surveys, physical inspection and local knowledge.
A rapid airborne survey of a port environment could easily be completed using any one of the many
commercial unmanned systems now available at low cost. The two market leaders are senseFly and
QuestAV. Both can produce hyper accurate geo referenced digital imagery using autonomous
unmanned aircraft.
Post flight analysis is carried out to add reference points, ground information and stitch the imagery
together into an orthomosaic image. It can then be exported in a number of formats suitable for
inclusion in mapping and GIS systems, whether they be publically accessible through a UN On-Site
Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) and MapBox or defence only.
QuestAV have recently introduced a system specifically for the marine environment called
QuestUAV Aqua (imaginative I know!).
This kind of rapid assessment and mapping system is probably enough for an initial survey, it will
allow the team to create an accurate map of the port facilities, list buildings and equipment,
evaluate routes and estimate capacities. Additional information can be obtained by traditional
surveying techniques and laser scanning to create accurate 3D models.
In parallel with the ports built environment is its underwater environment; berths, turning circles
and approach lanes. A hydrographic survey is required. Under keel clearances and declared depths
are an important factor in determining whether a vessel can use the port, vessel squat, manoeuvring
characteristics, accuracy of tidal ranges, sea state and rate of siltation will also need to be
understood. S-57, the relevant standard, requires uncertainty to be quantified in Zones of
The Echo class hydrographic vessels have a wide range of survey equipment and for ports and
harbours. The launches allow survey equipment to be carried into very shallow waters to collect
data which is then merged and referenced to complete the complete picture. Equipment carried on
the 9 tonne 9m long survey launches includes a Kongsberg 2040 Multibeam Echo
Sounder, Kongsberg EA400 Single Beam Echo Sounder and a GeoAcoustics (now Kongsberg) 2094
Side Scan Sonar
The EM2040 is used for high resolution mapping and inspection in shallow water. For accurate
survey work and second layer detection, the EA400 single beam echo sounder is deployed in
conjunction with GPS. The Sonar 2094 is a dual frequency sidescan system used for wide area sea
bed scanning. These systems and technologies are combined with RN survey expertise to produce
extremely accurate surveys and charts of the seabed and water column. Multibeam, single beam
and sidescan sonar is usually used for bathymetry or depth and relief measurements. Tilting the
sensor allows data to be gathered right up to the water surface and the high resolution produces
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photo like very accurate imagery. A higher frequency scanning sonar is often used for collecting
imagery from underwater structures, scour, sediment accumulation and pier damage for example
and these are sometimes combined.

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A new technique that is gaining traction is to combine above and below water scanning to present a
single model.

Laser scanning is also being utilised for this combined view application.

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Unmanned systems such as the Royal Navy REMUS 100 AUVs could be employed in the rapid
environmental assessment and survey tasks. They are compact, robust and proven and have all the
necessary modules, sensors and software to allow their use in a port environment, especially if there
is a suspect mine threat.
The REMUS 100 is documented in the current capabilities section.
Tide gauges will be used to confirm tidal information, this is important to establish declared depth
ranges at different times of day. Valeport and RS Aqua are two UK manufacturers that can supply
internally powered and data logging gauges. They can be easily fitted using standard hand tools.

Close inspection of port facilities will require a diver team.

Divers can be drawn from the Royal Engineers, Royal Logistic Corps or Royal Navy, using existing
capabilities and equipment.

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One of the observations from the Haiti case study was the need to operate in an environment that
contained sewage, petrochemicals and other unpleasant pollutants. Protective equipment is
available and should be included as required. The Dirty Harry system from Divex is a good example,
a complete system designed specifically for diving in contaminated waters.

Once the survey team has established the basic outline of the ports facilities and started work on the
water environment they will need to assess the state of the ports buildings, vehicles, power
distribution, lighting, container handling, security and aids to navigation.
This of course, cannot be done remotely, neither can the survey ignore workers and administrators
of the port.
The team will need to conduct a physical inspection of plant, equipment and facilities and wherever
possible, conduct this in conjunction with the locals, for it is they that will have intimate knowledge
that should not be discounted. Using the mapping and GIS system fixed infrastructure can have
additional data attached.
A bespoke application may be needed that allows rapid capture of imagery and status information in
order to build up the overall picture and transfer as necessary to any shared data set.
Although I have not discussed this a great deal the need for a common and cohesive picture of the
port, its facilities and environs is one of the most important parts of the survey process. Having
isolated pieces of data will result in wasted effort.
The final part of the equipment component is to make a choice on vehicles and boats.
Where the team is staging from one of the Echo class survey vessels the survey launch would be
used but in a rapid response scenario another survey launch or workboat will be needed with the
same types of equipment and a processing environment on one of the team vehicles.
Launch and recovery of the survey motor boats from HMS Echo or Enterprise does not need to
concern itself with road and air transport issues but in the rapid deploy scenario, the team must take
one with them. The current craft on HMS Echo and Enterprise are capable, but rather large, and this
makes rapid deployment by road and air problematical.
Although the A400M or even C130 might be sometimes used it is more likely that a C17 on national
tasking will be used for the rapid response task and so it is the C17 cargo bay dimensions that need
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to be considered. Maximising the cube is important because it leads to considerations of whether to

use trailers or different types of vehicle and of course, what type of boat to use.

As the diagram above shows, taking out the ramp space (which is often used for pallets) the C17 has
a cargo box of approximately 5.5m wide, 20m long with a height depending how far along the cargo
bay you are, between 4.5 and 4m.
Whatever the survey team use, it must fit inside those dimensions.
The easiest option would be to dispense with a large boat altogether and use inflatable craft like the
Zodiac FC470 Inflatable Raiding Craft MkIII or Avon WS525 inflatable craft used by the mine
countermeasures force, but I think this would be a sub optimal solution given the amount of sonar,
motion sensing, display and positioning equipment needed to be carried for the survey task.

A general purpose workboat is also required for other tasks such as surveying aids to navigation and
diver support so it would be good to combine the two.
It is here that a number of compromises and trade-offs might have to be made; the survey and diver
support role requires consideration of speed, shelter, hull strength, power provision,
manoeuvrability, deck space, endurance, sea keeping, stability, fuel consumption and any number of
other characteristics.
Above all though, transportability and ease of launch and recovery are the main limiting factors.
Launch and recovery via a slipway ramp or beach may not be possible and so launch over the
quayside using a hydraulic jib or crane may be the only viable method, this will impose weight limits
unless we also want to send a crane with the survey team.
In order to accommodate both methods (slipway and jib) the workboat will have to be trailer
The equipment most likely to fit the basic requirement is the RE/RLC Combat Support Boat and its
specialist trailer.

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Unladen weight is 4.75 tonnes, length 8.8m, beam 2.77m and draught 0.65m. It is smaller than the
Mustang Marine Spitfire/Sapphire survey launches embarked on Echo and Enterprise, but not that
much. The CSB trailer from Oldbury adds another 6.1 tonnes, and is 10m long.
At over 11 tonnes, the CSB and trailer is not a small load and so it is often towed by large logistics
vehicles, as the image above shows.
Together, the total length of the trailer and truck will be short of the 20m of the C17 cargo deck. At
over 3.5m width it would only leave 2m width for any other vehicle which might result in a C17 only
able to carry a single truck and a single CSB trailer. We could try and use a shorter vehicle, a shorter
or narrower boat. A short wheelbase MAN HX60 is available but not in service and would not release
enough length to be useable for another vehicle in any case.
The shorter vehicles in service like Land Rovers and Duros do not have the towing capacity.
There are vehicles available on the open market such as the Mercedes Benz Unimog Tool Carrier
that has the towing capacity and approximately 5.2m long. This would allow another short
wheelbase vehicle to fit within the 20m C17 cargo deck but still leaves the width problem, two very
short wheelbase vehicles and the CSB/trailer would be all that could be carried.
A shorter and narrower workboat would unlock much of the C17 useable space, although of course,
it may be compromised as a work boat. One that could be stacked would also be useful if two
stacked was less than the 4.5m height of the C17 cargo deck.
These are interesting trade-offs but deployability is the driving factor which leads to an outline
specification of 5-6m long and less than 2.5m beam. For durability, aluminium construction is
preferred, with a lightweight or demountable wheelhouse shelter. There are many small craft
manufacturers in the UK who should be able to fulfil such a requirement, the images below show
Alnmaritec 6m x 2m workboats without a wheelhouse.

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Another possible design choice is a 6-7m workboat from Munson Workboats in the USA. Resembling
a small landing craft they are adaptable, available in many configurations and sturdy, with a good
track record.

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The craft can be fitted with the survey and diver support equipment.
One of the key attributes of these smaller work boats is their relatively narrow beam, less than 2.4m.
It is this narrow beam that is so critical for carriage inside the C17 because it allows a second payload
to be carried side by side, in our case, another set of vehicles.
The next key decision is means of transport and launch and recovery.
Because of the potential conditions at the target port the workboat may be launched in three

Lift in

Slipway and beach launch would use a trailer, these are widely available.
If no facilities exist for slipway or beach launch the workboat could use the lift in launch method,
effectively, craning it over the side of a quayside.
The conventional solution would be to use a hydraulic telescopic jib as fitted to many British Army
vehicles but this might be unsuitable as this type of jib generally speaking, is not used for lifting and
lowering loads beneath the ground or load bed level.
Cranes are usually used for boat launching.

Taking a crane with the survey team just for launching and recovering the 1-2 tonnes workboat
would be wasteful.
Three options are available.
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First, use a larger jib than would be needed just for the weight that would accommodate a higher lift
using fixed length strops and therefore enough clearance to reach lower than ground level. Second,
use a truck mounted crane and third, use a demountable device.
A demountable crane such the Unic URW-376 has the lift and reach for the workboat and when
stowed, is relatively compact, especially in height, an important factor for air carriage. It is already in
service with the RAF for use with the Chinook fleet and has air carriage and sling loading clearances.

Weight is approximately 4 tonnes and they could be easily carried on a truck, when folded they are
4.3m long, 1.3m wide and 1.8m high. The demountable option might also provide greater access
than a truck mounted version.
Unic also make a range of truck mounted cranes that offer a number of advantages over hydraulic
jib cranes such as greater outreach the ability to position loads beneath ground level.

They can be mid or read mounted on a suitable truck. Mounting at the mid-point provides stowage
direction flexibility, either over the cab or over the load bed. Reversing such a truck into the C17
with over cab stowage of the crane boom would allow the boom to use the ramp void, thus
preserving useful load space.

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Truck mounting looks like the sensible option.

Taking into account the towing frame and attachment points the length of the workboat on its trailer
would be approximately 8m, leaving 12m free for a towing or other vehicle(s)
Although the C17 cargo deck is approximately 5.5m wide this does not mean that two vehicles of
2.25m wide can be carried side by side. There has to be space to actually drive the vehicles in and for
securing chains to be fitted. Vehicle width is therefore very important for the objective of
maximising the available space.
Vehicle selection is influenced by any number of factors; volume and weight of stores, number of
personnel, dimensions and weights, suitability for towing and crane mounting, mobility
requirements and support arrangements to name but a few.
It would be preferable to use an in service vehicle from a support and training perspective but for
such a niche role as this, alternatives might offer a better outcome. These alternatives may range
include light commercial vehicles.
For the workboat towing role, and because it may have to be launched from a beach, a reasonably
high level of mobility will be required. Because of width, overall length issues and a desire to avoid
putting all the survey eggs into a single basket, I have discounted the in service MAN HX/SX Support
For the purpose of this exercise I am going to look at a handful of vehicles, some in service, some
Pinzguaers and Duros are in service and enjoy established logistic support infrastructure. They have
both been used with box bodies and trailers and easily transported by C130, C17 and A400 aircraft.

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Out of the two, the Duro is perhaps the better choice as especially high mobility is not required and
it is still being manufactured and supported by General Dynamics.
At 2.16m wide and between 5.7m and 6.7m long for the 4 axle and 6 axle variants respectively it
would fit comfortably in the single 20m C17 lane, even with an 8m workboat trailer. The Duro might
have a problem with sandy and shingle beaches and mounting the Unic crane so its selection is not
The The Iveco Daily 4x4 would provide a good alternative at very low cost but again, beach mobility,
towing power and suitability for crane mounting would preclude it.

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The next obvious choice is a Mercedes Benz Unimog

The Unimog is available in two major variants, the implement (or tool) carrier and the all-terrain,
each having a number of models and options. The implement carrier can be fitted with numerous
attachments for many different industries and the all-terrain is optimised for load carriage in difficult

For towing the workboat, either would be suitable but the all-terrain, arguably more so.

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Adding a Unic crane would be simple and a crew cab would provide additional seating for personnel.
The load bed could be used for other stores. With an overall width of 2.48m and height of 3.5m with
the Unic crane it fits well inside the C17 envelope. The long wheelbase variant is 6m long and so
taken together with the workboat trailer it would be 14m long, leaving at least 6m, not accounting
for the tail ramp area.
It would be subject to trials and confirmation but a single C17 should be able to carry at least one
other similarly sized vehicle if it is loaded in single file and uses the ramp area. If side by side loading
were possible then this could increase to at least three additional vehicle, more if smaller vehicles
like the Iveco Daily or Duro were used.
It would be desirable to keep all vehicles the same for obvious support reasons but detailed load
planning might force the issue.
Each vehicle would need air conditioning, heating and other modifications to make them suitable for
use in a waterside environment in either very hot or very cold conditions. Additional stores carried
would include fuel, water and rations for at least 72 hours, spares and tools, shelter, the REMUS 100
AUVs, survey RPAS, computing and communications equipment, diver support and medical
supplies. One of the vehicles could be used as a working environment or tentage carried as normal.
One option for shelter and a working environment would be to simply throw a 12x12 tent and some
folding tables onto the back but in extremes of climate this might not create an optimal environment
for the survey team to work so a demountable command post container could be used. Using a
demountable container would allow it to be offloaded and the vehicle used for other purposes
during the survey.
Because the container would not need to be continually loaded and offloaded a hydraulic system
would not be needed although a hydraulic jib would be fitted to the vehicle with the survey boat and
could be used. The other method of offloading the command shelter would be to use a Haacon
Fitted to the side of the container would be a lean to shelter that could provide additional space,
or, the shelter could be extendable. There are also many options for air beam or rigid frame soft
skinned shelters (tents to you and me).
The basic plastic box is also subject to thinking on packing density and how they fit on pallets and in
containers. A good example is the Peli ISP2 case (previously Hardigg Industries) that are available in
64 dimension options. All of them have a grid pattern on the lid and base so they
interlock which reduces case movement when stacked without strapping. There are also a number
of accessories available such as forklift runners for the larger cases. Already in service with deep
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trousered NGOs, and the MoD, is the Zarges Euro Container, again available in size combinations
that are optimised for Euro Pallets.

Communications in the local area between teams would be delivered by VHF radios and for reachback communications, especially data transfer, a compact satellite system could be used. There are
many available in service and commercially.
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To conduct a typical 72 hours survey task the team comprise approximately 12 personnel.
Following the survey task a series of work packages would be created, resourced and delivered as
part of follow on port opening/augmentation activity. These tasks may be carried out in parallel, in
their entirety or just one or two.
Increment 1 is designed to be flexible.
An interesting alternative to using a conventional workboat and trailer would be an amphibious
vehicle. The reason an amphibious vehicle is worth considering is to maximise space inside the C17
and avoid the need for a trailer to launch and recover the workboat on a beach. Most available
designs are optimised for short river crossings or similar short distance calm water applications, not
launch and recovery over a beach or survey and diver support tasks inside a port.
Contenders might include;
The CTruck Avenger amphibious rescue and survey vehicle, Searoader Amphitruck and Gibbs
Phibian. The Sea Legs concept is also worthy of consideration, although the workboat would still
need transporting via vehicle for any appreciable distance it would negate the need for a trailer. The
technology has been licenced to a number of builders including Stabicraft and ReconCraft.

Getting There
Except for the survey task, the majority of Increment 1 capabilities will be deployed by sea and the
most likely host vessel would be one of the Bay class LSD(A)s.
As described in the existing capabilities section they are versatile and capable vessels. We should not
that in loading a Bay LSD(A) with port opening stores any amphibious or other operation would be
denied the capacity.
To recap on their capacities;
Capacity includes 1,150 lane meters for vehicles and containers, 2,000 tonne cargo capacity and
accommodation for between 350 and 700 personneldepending on overload conditions. This is
enough to accommodate the engineering and logistics personnel
Smaller landing craft or work boats can be carried on deck and lifted to the surface by the 30 tonne
capacitydeck cranes. Mexeflotes are side loaded, one on either side of the hull and with a single
LCU Mk10, the ship to shore transport capacity is high. This allows stores, vehicles, plant and
personnel to be transferred into the target port in a relatively short time.
Because the port augmentation operation has relatively little need for aviation the extremely large
flight deck could be used to carry extra stores and vehicles.
A single LSD(A) is therefore likely to be enough for most of Increment 1 tasks.
It is also likely that in all but the rapid response mission there would be one of the Echo class survey
vessels and MCM vessels as required. The survey, dive support and mine clearance personnel and
equipment would be hosted on these vessels, there would be no need for demountable systems.
Once in place the planning team will need to balance the needs of establishing enough engineering
capability onshore with the need to get the port open or ready for additional shipping. The use of
lighterage such as landing craft and Mexeflotes should be kept to a minimum because it is a
fundamentally inefficient means of transferring anything from a ship to shore. This might result in a
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minimum use of such lighterage in order to offload just enough equipment to effect a repair, for
example, to allow the LSD(A) to dock and unload using normal means.
Each situation will be different.
Most port environments will have a small slip way or beach that will allow the LCU and Mexeflote to
offload. Equipment may then need to be driven off the beach or slipway and into the port.

Force Protection and Mine/IED/UXO Clearance

Clearance of mines, IEDs and UXOs is likely to be on ongoing operation conducted in phases.
Force protection, mine, IED and UXO clearance would be delivered by existing capabilities described
in the current capabilities section of this document, no additional equipment or personnel would be
It is unlikely that major combat operations would be ongoing at the same time as port augmentation
for theatre entry or disaster relief but there may be harassing indirect fire or simply heightened
tension as a result of the existing security environment. Pilferage from the local population may also
be an issue, especially for fuel and other valuable commodities.
Personnel, stores, fuel, vehicles and other equipment will therefore need protection after initial
clearance operations have concluded. Once a safe area has been cleared, the first task will be to
create a protected compound for the port operations and engineer squadron(s) involved with the
operation. There may be existing fenced off or secure areas and these would generally be first
choice but if not, a temporary solution will be needed.
If there are empty ISO containers available they would be easy to reposition and use as barriers.
They could be augmented with HESCO barriers or simple solutions such as Heras Readyfence or
Ready Hoard, whatever is most appropriate and easiest to implement. Heras panels can be fitted
with a cheap and effective fence mounted detection system or the wireless intrusion sensors like
the Heras Sentor (there are many more alternatives available)

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The familiar HESCO Bastion system of filled gabbions can be used to create security barriers, sangars
and shelters of varying styles and sizes. The RAID and CART system are container and pallet
deployed single height barrier than can be rapidly installed to provide a robist security or perimeter
barrier. Finding aggregate and other fill material might be problematical but it is likely that rubble
and other materials can be used, highlighted in the previous post on debris removal and rubble
processing. Sangars and shelters can also be quickly constructed. Defencell, is an alternative product
to HESCO with some key differences.
It should also be noted that in some instances, especially those of a well found port is being
augmented in some way, there may be no requirement at all for protected compounds, additional
work spaces or other facilities.

Opening and Expanding the Port

At this point it is worth restating that Increment 1 is not designed to replace the services offered by
civilian marine salvage and construction companies. Anything it does will be completed in a short
time period and temporary in character. This is in part a recognition that specialist capabilities exist
in civilian industry that should not be replicated in a military context, because there is no need. It is
also a recognition of the limitations of what can practically be achieved with a collections of
equipment carried on a single non specialised vessel. Even a cursory glance at any images of port
construction or marine salvage will reveal specialist equipment on a simply massive scale. None of
this will be found in Increment 1.
From the requirements section there are a number of possible activities, some more complex than
others, some likely to take longer than others, some sequential, some completed in parallel, and
some possibly not needed at all. Rather than examine each task individually this section will look at
potential solutions and equipment options, recognising that some of those equipment selections can
be used for multiple requirements.

Debris and Wreckage Removal

There are two types of debris; that which exists on the land part of the port and that which is
floating or sunken.
Above water debris can be pushed, pulled or lifted out of the way and collected in situ or removed
to a central point for classification and recycling. Some of this debris may be toxic or hazardous in
some other way and therefore any removal capability must reflect this.
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Debris could be collapsed buildings, steelwork, containers, machinery or organic matter.

Where it can be pushed out of the way the ideal solution will be to use in service bulldozers, the Cat
D5 (Tractor Caterpillar D5N) and DEUCE (Tractor Med Combat Air Portable Cat 3030) for example.

Containers could be pushed or lifted out of the way. Because they are unlikely to be arranged neatly
and aligned with the ground so that container lifters or large fork lifts can use their lifting spreaders
and attachments, the most practical method would be to use a crane, especially if the containers are
The in service Terex AC35 and AC55L mobile cranes would provide vertical lift for debris removal
from all areas of a port ad their deployment would likely be a high priority because they can be used
for many other tasks.

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If the debris is on the surface and simply needs moving a greater distance than is feasible with a
crawler tractor the combination of wheeled and tracked loaders and a dump truck is an effective
one, moving the debris to a designated dumping area.
In service with the British Army via the ALC C Vehicle PFI is the Medium Dump Truck and Self Loading
Dump Truck, both based on the Iveco Trakker AD380T chassis with a Thomson Loadmaster Tipper
Body that has a 16 tonne payload.

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These are in service vehicles and would therefore carry no additional cost but if a greater payload
was considered desirable or if the dumper is likely to be used in marginal terrain such as a beach or
shoreline then a larger articulated dump truck would be a better choice.
There are a wide variety of manufacturers but to maintain manufacturer consistency with other in
service equipment, Volvo and Caterpillar would be on the shortlist. Although they each have many
models, typically, they can carry double the payload or more when compared to the Trakker.
Because they would not need to travel any great distances they would not need a dedicated low
loader and could simply be driven directly off the LCU or Mexeflote and into the port area. With
double the payload a given load total could be moved in half the time or with half the personnel and
half the number of vehicles in the same time.
Excavators and loaders, wheeled or tracked, are used to load the dump trucks. In service with the
British Army is equipment from Volvo and JCB, with a number of items of Caterpillar protected plant
purchased as UORs for Afghanistan. These types of wheeled and tracked loaders and excavators are
versatile and useful, and already in service in quantity. They can also be fitted with specialist
ancillaries like hydraulic breakers, sweepers, shears and grapples.

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Where the debris might need more effort is if it is fixed in place such as large blocks of reinforced
concrete or structural components, if it needs to be moved some distance (depending where it is) or
if it needs reducing in size in situ before clearance.
The hydraulic attachments show above such as grapple and shears could be supplemented with
specialist demolition equipment such as pulverisers, drum cutters, demolition grabs and rippers for
greater efficiency.
If there is any floating debris such as insulated containers, logs or small craft they can be pulled out
of the way using workboats and ground based winches. The in service CAT D5N can be equipped
with a winch, useful for such applications.

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In the same manner as options for larger dump trucks described above there are also options for
larger excavators and loaders. Larger machines would allow more rapid debris removal but at the
expense of increased space aboard ship and greater transport requirements
Hydraulic and compressed air hand tools, found as standard in Royal Engineers squadron stores,
could be used to facilitate debris removal.
The safe demolition and removal of obstacles may also be facilitated by explosive cutting charges.
Most of the in service equipment is supplied by Chemring Energetics and Mondial Defence including
Hayrick Charge Demolition No 14 and SABREX linear cutting charge for example. General purpose
explosives like PE4 and Pastex 14 might also find some use in demolition and debris removal
With the wide range of plant and machinery already available in service with the Royal Engineers
there should be no obstacles or debris in the port that cannot be quickly cleared.
Removal of underwater debris and wreckage presents a more difficult problem because of the
environment and potential size of debris and wreckage. It will also require the purchase and
maintenance of certain specialist items of equipment as is the first element of Increment 1 that
might need significant additional investment.
There has to be a recognition of the limits of capability embodied in Increment 1, it is not envisaged
that it will replace large scale commercial salvage organisations that can move sunken supertankers
but simply implement a capability that can remove small to medium sized underwater debris and
wreckage, simply moving it out of the way is the order of the day.
Viewing the underwater debris or wreckage directly may not always be needed but if it is, a diver
and possibly ROV capability will be required. A multipurpose work platform and long reach excavator
is also likely to prove very useful for this and other tasks, and so, they will be described here.
Diver Support
Some of the lead diver support elements may have been deployed during the survey task and in the
same manner, underwater clearance needs to proceed in a range of temperatures and in the
presence of pollutants.
The Royal Navy and British Army have considerable diving expertise and capabilities so Increment 1
may not need much in the way of new equipment, the tasks will be completed at relatively shallow
depth and therefore, not require saturation diving techniques, most will be conducted using surface
supplied equipment.
The subsurface environment is complex and especially dangerous in ports so the full range of rescue
and standby equipment will be needed.
In many scenarios, the divers can use facilities on-board RN vessels that will be in the area but in
others, only general purpose may be available and so a deployable 10 and 20 foot containerised
system would be optimal, such that it can be demounted from a transport vehicle and used at the
quayside or from a work platform. These are available from a number of suppliers such as Divex and
SMP and contain equipment storage, compressors, control equipment and other machinery. 10 foot
dive control and machinery containers would be best suited as they can be easily lifted onto floating
work platforms with the larger 20ft container used for workshops and diver decompression
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chambers. These containers should also contain hot water systems for use in cold water

Underwater cutting equipment and power tools are in service including cutting torches and
compressed air chainsaws for example.
In addition to portable ladders and other access equipment the divers will need a floating work
platform. This platform can also be used for many other tasks.
Work Platforms
As part of the survey team equipment a small workboat will be available to the follow on dive team
but more are always useful. Traditionally this would be a Combat Support Boat and if they are
available, would be ideal. There are other options available that could be used for other tasks in
addition to diver support.
The easiest way to provide a floating temporary work platform in relatively sheltered water is to use
one of the many modular pontoons available in the commercial market, steel or plastic.
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HDPE modular pontoons are cheap, easy to deploy, adaptable and available from many
manufacturers such as Airfloat, Magic Float, EZ Dock, Pontoon Works, Versadock and Aqua Dock,
to name but a few.

They can be fitted with a range of accessories such as cleats, rails, deck covers, utility connectors,
outboard engines and connecting modules. Surprisingly robust, when assembled they can be used as
work platforms, temporary bridges, jetties, drive on boat docks and docking interfaces.
A stock of these would be inexpensive and extremely versatile in this and other applications in and
around a port environment.
To support heavy plant a more robust solution would be needed, deeper and with stronger
connecting mechanisms. The principle of modular pontoons is the same but steel ISO container sized
units are obviously much stronger and able to support greater loads.
The first option would be to simply obtain dunnage and spud jacks for the existing Mexeflote
pontoon but this might create a situation where these always in high demand units are required
elsewhere and so a dedicated solution is needed.
Again, there are many commercial off the shelf solutions and in specifying a modular steel pontoon
solution for use as a strong work platform for debris removal and minor salvage tasks there is a
recognition that their inherent versatility can be used for other tasks and I ncrement 1 requirements.
Modular steel pontoons are incredibly versatile, they can be used as work platforms, dredgers,
ferries, jetties, raftscauseways and linkspans.

Manufacturers include Volker Brooks, Janson Bridging, Damen, Hann Ocean, Robishaw
Engineering, Combifloat, Modular Pontoon Systems, Intermarine, Innovo, Baars, Poseidon
Barge and Ravenstein
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All similar, generally ISO container sized steel boxes with a range of accessories such as lifting spuds,
rails, decking, bollards, fairleads, ramps and connectors. They are transported to the work area,
lifted into the water using cranes and connected together using various locking mechanisms, pins
and other connectors. They can be towed, pushed or propelled using Thrustmaster type units, as
found on the Mexeflote, the OD15N in particular. Spud legs are used to stabilise the platform and
resist turning and pushing forces when using excavators and other equipment.

Long Reach Excavator and Underwater Plant

In much the same way that modular pontoons can be used for tasks beyond for the debris and
wreckage removal phase, a long reach excavator can be used not only for wreckage removal, but
also other construction tasks.
A long reach excavator is no different to any other, it simply has a longer articulated arm, and thus, it
not especially specialised. A small number could be added to the existing ALC C Vehicle PFI, using the
same Volvo EC210 chassis that are in service.

The reason long reach equipment is so useful in port clearance operations is because they can be
used from the quayside or a floating work platform and achieve useful depths for the manipulation
or reduction of underwater debris and wreckage using their bucket, as a lifting device, or with
specialist equipment like demolition shears and hammers.

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The standard excavator bucket and chain hook should be sufficient for most simple removal tasks
but for extra speed a set of specialist underwater hydraulic shears, grabs and pulverisers would be
useful. A great deal can be achieved with hydraulics and a standard excavator bucket but even more,
and especially faster, can be achieved with specialist hydraulic equipment.
Another example of specialist equipment that could replace the unwieldy long reach excavator is the
telescoping arm.
Salvage Equipment
Underwater salvage is a specialist task and whilst the US Navy has a handful of salvage vessels it is
not proposed that Increment 1 follows suite. Instead, a small amount of specialist equipment could
be used to push or pull small wrecks and other large debris out of the way to enable port access.
Distances are likely to be small and vertical lift not needed, shear leg cranes for example, would not
be needed.
The Cat D5N has a winch but where this is not suitable, a dedicated chain puller or static winch may
be used. They can also be deployed in parallel to increase power.
Whether using a chain puller or ground winch, both will need a range of anchoring equipment,
chains and shackles. The work platforms and divers will be used to install lifting points on the
wreckage or debris and cranes and wheeled loaders used for handling the chains and other
equipment on shore, the 300 tonne chain puller shown below, from TGS in the Netherlands, weighs
12 tonnes and can pull at approximately 2m per minute. Both the chain puller and its hydraulic
power pack and ancillaries can be carried in a single ISO container. The video below also shows chain
pullers in action but to be clear, Increment 1 will only have two chain pullers and the size of the
wreckage dictated by the ability of the two. TMS make a rigging and winch vehicle for use with the
chain pullers.

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Dredging and Construction Tasks

With wreckage, debris and small sunken obstruction either pushed or pulled out of the way the next
task category is to ensure that the water environment is suitable for the intended shipping and the
land environment can handle the intended cargo.
For this, a number of specialist items of equipment may well yield significant efficiency benefits.
Rubble Management
If there is significant rubble it will eventually need to be processed but if the construction tasks need
graded fill material then this rubble becomes a valuable commodity. Processing concrete, rock and
masonry rubble into graded fill avoids having to ship it in or purchase locally.
For small gap filling requirements rubble can be processed in-situ using a combination of bucket
crushers and rotating sorters. These are attachments for existing excavators widely available from a
number of manufacturers. By processing in-situ stockpiling and transport is reduced.
If larger quantities are needed then the excavator mounted devices will not have the capacity so a
dedicated unit might be more appropriate. Concrete recycling equipment can vary in size from mini
units designed for domestic applications that fit through a doorway right up to large semipermanent units with high throughput.
A typical medium sized unit is the RM 70GO! from Rubblemaster that can process up to 120 tonnes
per hour with variable output sizes. The video below shows a slightly larger unit equipped with a
rebar separator.
Repairs to Quaysides, Berthing Areas and Mooring Fixtures
Quaysides may need temporary repair or reinforcement, piles and mooring fixtures can also be
damaged to an extent that stops the port being of use. Any repairs need only be good enough for
the duration of the operation and so temporary measures are perfectly good enough.
Pier decks are often mounted on concrete, steel or timber piles and if these are damaged or
degraded their ability to withstand berthing forces and mechanical handling equipment greatly
Traditional pile repair techniques involved dewatering the surrounding area but new methods have
long since replaced those and the most common method now used involves creating a temporary
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jacket using fibreglass or fabric forms and filling the cavity with marine repair epoxy, after removing
friable or rotten material. There are a number of British, European and International standards that
can be referenced and modern systems tend to comply with the provisions of all of them.
Most of the commercial systems are designed for permanent repair and require all friable, corroded
or rotten materials removed using high pressure water or physical abrasion before applying the
jacket but given the time constraints involved with Increment 1 tasks this may not always be
possible. Traditional marine cement can take many days to achieve full cure strength, again, not
likely suited to the Increment 1 mission.
Structural steel pile repair systems are available but they require considerable installation time,
probably more than traditional concrete systems.

Pilejax from the Australian company Joinlox is a relatively new system that combines ease of
installation with low cost. Available in a number of lengths and diameters it uses an innovative
locking mechanism and seal combined with flat pack FRP sheet forms. It is therefore space efficient
and lightweight, making it attractive for Increment 1.
A stock of Pilejax could be held in a single container, together with a stock of marine epoxy repair
compound and appropriate hoses, pump and mixing equipment such as those from Putzmeister.

Temporary repairs to deck piers can also be made with filled ISO containers, gabions such as
Defencell and Hesco, shoring with any available steel girders that could be cut or salvaged from
other areas or using temporary bridge supports as long as the bottom could support the load.
Combinations of these methods could also be used, Hesco filled with rubble and marine grout as
temporary foundations for bridge supports or prop systems for example.

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Pile supported decks are a challenge because the entire weight of the deck, any equipment or cargo
on that deck and berthing forces are transmitted through the piles. This generally makes them large
and sturdy structures that are both difficult to repair or reinforce and equally difficult to create any
sort of temporary work around where time is of the essence.
Non pile supported pier decks and other port structures use sheet piling. The sheet piles are driven
into the ground, secured using tie backs and soldier beams and then back filled. The sheet piles are
then capped, usually using concrete.

Because they are so strong and bulky, any damage is likely to be very difficult to repair although
sheet piling will remain a valuable capability within any port repair context.
For smaller areas of damage simply installing additional sheet piles in front of the damage and
backfilling without tie rods may provide sufficient robustness for the short term. Backfill material
could be processed rubble.
A more recent alternative is open cell bulkhead construction that uses sheet piles but arranges them
in a multiple U shapes to eliminate tie backs and anchors. A Y shaped pile connector is used to form
the U shape. This technique may also prove to be useful for smaller installations, extensions and
Z and U shaped sheet piling continues to evolve but they are poor at dealing with vertical loads and
so combination or high modulus walls incorporate sheet piling reinforced with tubular or box section
piles. Concrete diaphragm walls are low maintenance and long life for deep draughts but require
extensive construction excavation using equipment such as Hydrofaise cutters.
When driving sheet piles from the land side, the surface has to have sufficient bearing strength to
support the pile driving equipment, this may not be present in the case of damaged areas and so
driving from the floating platform may be the only choice available. This may require the use of a
driving alignment frame, especially for crane supported devices.
Vibratory pile drivers liquefy the soil which allows the pile to be easily driven into the ground. They
also reduce any transmitted vibration to neighbouring vulnerable structures, particularly where
damage exists. For small repairs a sheet piling attachment can be used with existing excavators
although a dedicated leader rig would yield faster results at the expense of higher cost and
transportability requirements.
Typical of the dedicated hydraulic leader rig is the RG16T from RTG Rammtechnik GmbH. It has a
telescopic leader and variable vibration for increased versatility and can install pairs of sheet piles up
to 15 metres long. Setup times are usually less than 30 minutes once unloaded and their work rate
is impressive. An auger attachments can be used to pre loosen very hard soils.
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PVC and composite sheet piles are used for smaller height walls or where soil conditions allow.
A final method that might be of use is the King Post Wall, often called the soldier wall or Berlin wall.
It uses regularly spaced H profile steel beams driven into the ground (or augered and concreted in)
with concrete, wood or composite panels slotted into the beam web, not unlike fencing panels. They
are usually only used for short retaining walls but could be of use in certain port repair applica tions.

As the Haiti earthquake showed, a simple ramp can allow the large landing craft and ships with
ramps to access the port which provided a significant uplift in throughput from the smaller military
style landing craft. Many ports will already have a number of these access ramps for boat launch and
RORO ships but where they do not, or have been damaged, construction will be needed.
Traditional construction techniques usually require a watertight cofferdam to be built with sheet
piling, sandbags or demountable barriers and dewatered. When the area has been dewatered
concrete formwork and reinforcing are installed and infilled with poured concrete. When the
concrete has cured the barriers are removed. This makes for a sturdy installation but is time
consuming, a luxury Increment 1 does not have.

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Purely in the interests of speed, alternative methods will be required.

Harbour walls or quaysides may be too high for a ramp and will therefore require some form of
demolition before installing the ramp. This may seem counter-intuitive but if the port environment
does not have a ramp, its ability to accommodate a variety of smaller craft will be limited.
The long reach excavator may prove invaluable in this task.
Building the ramp gradient could involve a number of techniques, used together or alone.
Pipe fascine bundles, Class 30 or 70 trackway and Hesco or Defencecell gabbions are in service or in
the defence supply chain and well suited to this type of temporary construction.
Marine grout is a special type of cement that is resistant to washout and able to cure in direct
contact with water. Mixed with sand or small aggregate it can be pumped into fabric bags or multi
cell mattresses and this type of installation is often used for scour protection and bank erosion
control. Because the fabric and concrete conforms to the underwater and surface undulations and
obstructions it would make an excellent concrete carpet for landing craft and ships.

The problems with using cement and concrete, as detailed in the pile repair section, is that it needs
specialist mixing and pumping equipment, storage/transport of cements and sand/aggregates and
time to achieve the required hardness after fill. Quick curing marine grouts are available but might
not be suitable for this application and still unable to achieve the required hardness in a reasonable
Pre-cast segmented concrete mattresses are widely used in the subsea installation sector for
pipeline and scour protection and subsea ROV platforms. They use individual cast concrete blocks
connected with polypropylene rope.
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The only downside to these subsea concrete mattress products is their heftiness and weight, they
are perhaps too heavy duty for the application. Lighter alternatives are available that are more
commonly used in inshore erosion control such as Flexamat.
The innovative Concrete Canvas could also be used. Concrete Canvas is a relatively new British
product that is a concrete impregnated fabric on rolls of various lengths and widths. It is unfurled,
secured using staples where required and hydrated. It can be hydrated by spraying with fresh or salt
water, or simply immersed. After hydration it is achieves 80% strength in less than 24 hours.
Although Concrete Canvas has many excellent properties it is relatively thin and so may not be
durable enough for repeated trafficking, multiple layers may be needed but it is very easy to install
so this would not be a significant barrier to use.
Finally, there are a couple of geotextile products that would be worthy of investigation for
temporary ramp construction; Tencate Geotube and Tele Textiles Teletube.
Geotubes are flexible synthetic tubular containers that are hydraulically filled with sand and water,
under pressure. The sand is usually dredged from the surrounding area. Residual internal pressure
forces the water out through the material leaving what is in effect, a gigantic sand bag. They have
been used for a wide range of marine construction and shoreline protection projects.
Bomb cratering or damage as a result of earthquakes will produce holes and cracks that need filling
(stop giggling at the back!). In order to operate fork lift trucks, reach stackers and container
handlers, port roads and storage areas must be relatively flat.
Concrete and tarmac repair products are widely available and can be used for small areas but where
large areas need repair a graded fill material will be needed. If rubble is available and has been
converted to graded granular fill material it can be recycled and reused for this purpose. Dredged
sand can be recycled although if settling lagoons are used it might not be in a suitable form for
several days. Otherwise, local purchase may be the only practical alternative.
The in service rollers and vibratory compacters such as the snappily titled compact Roller Motorised
Smooth Drum SPT Tandem Vib DSL Wacker RD27-100 or Compactor Plate Pedal Remote Control DSL
Wacker DPU7060SC would form standard components of any Royal Engineers port repair squadron.
The in service Class 30 or 70 Trackway may also be used but alternative products such as fibreglass
and composite road mats may be more applicable as the underlying surface is still load bearing and
are now widely available, very easy to use, lightweight and have a low scrap value meaning they are
less likely to be stolen.
Rolatrac i-Trac, Matrax HD and Oxford Plastics Roadplate are representative products.
Aggregate and infill materials would be transported by the Iveco Medium Dump Trucks described
above although if available, smaller Terex TA3, or Dumper Ultra Light, might also be used for smaller
loads. Excavator mounted hydraulic compacter plates could be used if the roller and vibratory
compacters were not available. It is a swings and roundabouts decision, less to deploy but when the
excavator is compacting it is not excavating. The ubiquitous JCB 4CX or tractor Wheeled Light would
no doubt find a role in general repair work.
Mooring Fixtures
There are a number of different types of mooring bollard with selection depending upon factors
such as mooring angles, number of lines and required load strength.
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Installation generally uses cast in or through deck bolts and resin anchors are used for retrofit
applications. For Increment 1 a small number of cast mooring bollards and resin anchors would be
available and installed as necessary.
Within the confines of a port and its approach lanes there are normally two methods of achieving a
desired depth, depending on soil conditions, both usually mounted on a pontoon of some sort.
Trailing arm cutter suction dredgers use a rotary cutting head that is lowered into t he soil and as it
cuts, the debris is removed to a settling lagoon or barge using a suction pump. Backhoe dredgers
employ a large hydraulic excavator and standard bucket with the spoils loaded onto a barge for
With a long reach excavator, some dredging might also be carried out from land. Backhoe dredgers
can use integral excavators or a land based excavator driven on for the duration of the dredging
activity. They are most suitable for unconsolidated soils containing pebbles, clay and sand, and
friable or crumbly rock.
Both types use a pontoon that employs spud legs in order to counter the dredging forces, especially
for excavators.
It would make logistical sense to maximise use of the proposed long reach excavator and modular
pontoon work platform. This could be augmented with spud leg modules (all of the proposed
pontoons can be fitted with spud modules) but the Baars Confloat range can make use of a travelling
spud leg carrier which increases work rate significantly as it reduces the number of spud movements
for a given dredged area.
Detailed information on suction cutter dredgers and backhoe dredgers can be found here and here
For Increment 1 tasks, the most likely requirement is to dredge to an already established depth after
siltation from neglect, a typical example of this can be found in the Iraq case study. However, some
dredging may be required to expand the depth of an existing port and so equipment should be
available to dredge to a depth of 12-15m.
There are many manufactures of modular pontoon cutter suction dredging pontoon but a typical
example is the IHC Beaver 50. It can dredge to a depth of 14m and can also be fitted with a walking
spud carriage system. The system is containerised for transport and comes with a range of options
for pumping equipment, hoses and different types of cutting head.
To cover both options, the long reach excavator and work platform pontoon could be combined with
a dedicated modular cutter suction system.
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Aids to Navigation
Aids to navigation such as marker buoys may have drifted out of position or not be present. With a
small stock of marker buoys and navigation lights it should not be an overly difficult task to install or
reinstate existing devices.
Hydrosphere are the main supplier to the MoD for harbour lights, buoys and other aids to navigation
and the buoy maintenance contract is held by Briggs Marine subcontracted to Serco Marine via the
Future Provision of Marine Services PFI. Briggs Marine are responsible for some 220 aids to
navigation and 110 moorings in the UK, Cyprus and Gibraltar and together with the Serco diver
support team and associated services provide an effective capability for the MoD.
As part of the wider PFI, Damen supplied 29 new vessels to Serco;

Included in the new fleet was a pair of Multi Cat 2510s equipped for buoy/mooring handling and
trials support. The SD Navigator is the name of one of the mooring and buoy handing Multi Cat
2510, and would be an ideal workboat for Increment 1 equipped for buoy and mooring maintenance
with winches and a 9 tonne at 7m outreach hydraulic jib.
A Damen Multicat 2510 would be an ideal general workboat for Increment but because they are
wide (for stability) they are too wide for easy road transportation or loading inside the LSD(A) well
dock. If the existing Army Workboats could be fitted with a hydraulic jib and maintain their stability
this would be the obvious solution but if not, a dedicated vessel for buoy replacement might be
needed. In some conditions one of the LSD(A)s could lift buoys into place using their deck crane but
closer inshore this might be a problem.
Again, taking the modular pontoon approach allows the creation of multiple vessel types. Simply
carrying a couple of extra pontoons and adding a wheelhouse and deck crane would provide the
necessary stability and reach for buoy handling.

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Using two modules wide creates the 1205 and three wide, the 1908.

If Increment 1 invests in modular pontoons like the Damen system, simply extending it for use across
multiple requirements makes a lot of sense.
With a suitable service vessel, a stock of buoys, sinkers, swivels, shackles and chains should fit into
one or two ISO containers. They can be used for lateral and cardinal marks, danger marks and wreck
markers. The Hydrosphere Mobilis ES1700, T1200 and Jet 2000 would provide a reasonable spread
of equipment capability.
Together with a stock of navigation lights, again from Hydrosphere, this will allow the reinstatement
of aids to navigation, at least to the level required.

RORO Linkspan and Buffer Pontoon

As shown in the Iraq case study a link span for use with large stern ramp RORO ships can allow them
to unload in ports without RORO facilities, of which there are many.

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The arrival of the two buffer pontoons in Haiti created a step change in cargo offload rates, making
the JLOTS capability more or less redundant, they are still there today. FIPASS at Port Stanley on the
Falkland Islands is another example, again, still there. A buffer pontoon extends the wharf into
deeper water and allows the spanning of damaged sections.

The solution to both requirements will have a number of common features; a large platform onto
which a RORO ships ramp can be landed that is large and sturdy enough for MLC 120 trailer and
tractor loads to turn, some means of securing the platform in place and an access ramp that can
accommodate the height differential between the platform and quayside. A buffer pontoon will also
require mooring fixtures and space for cranes to enable it to offload non RORO vessels.
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The platform can be either a modular pontoon or single piece unpowered barge, the former
described above and the latter, commonly used in the offshore energy, heavy lift and salvage
industries. There are pros and cons for either approach. A single piece barge will be quicker to install
than a modular pontoon but pose more difficulties in transportation.
When the pontoon or barge moored is placed in close proximity to the quayside it will need
securing. In locations where there is seabed scour protection close in to the quayside a spud leg
might not be suitable so it will require cleats for attaching mooring lines.

In some locations there will be a height differential between the modular platform and quayside or
pier deck. Without some form of ramp or roadway, vehicles will not be able to be offloaded so the
solution must also have some form of adjustable ramp that can also accommodate the same MLC
120 loads as the landing platform. It will also require an interface for both the platform and quayside
that prevents slippage and adjusts for differing angles as the tide changes.
This connecting ramp could be constructed using BR90 or Logistic Support Bridge components but
this would remove from use a relatively expensive and uncommon item of equipment from the
wider campaign so a dedicated ramp is preferable. There will be a number of cranes available within
the port environment so as long as it fits within the weight and reach envelope of a Terex AC55 it
should be quick and easy to lift into place. The connecting pieces for pontoon and quayside may
require some bespoke design and fabrication.

An alternative to unpowered modular or single piece pontoons/barges would be a self-powered

transhipment barge, now becoming more common. Because the quantity of modular pontoons
required for a buffer or linkspan pontoon is not inconsiderable and would therefore present a
number of transportability difficulties, a self-powered system would go some to easing the transport
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challenge. A single piece pontoon would also need towing or transporting to theatre on a FLO-FLO
Self-powered barges are not the fastest of craft though, so it would be a trade-off between
deployment speed and deployment ease.
A good example of the type is the Damen Crane Barge 6324. It is equipped with self-contained
accommodation for up to 12 personnel, basic navigation and propulsion options and a large Liebherr
CBG 350 Transhipment Crane.

The CBG 350 can lift up to 45 tonnes at 36m outreach and when equipped with a container spreader
easily handle fully laden 40 foot ISO containers.
Investing in such an item does somewhat go against one of the underlying themes of Increment 1 in
that it would be a large investment rather than a series of smaller investments but it would still be
worth considering because it could be used as a RORO linkspan and buffer pontoon inside a port,
and, a transhipment crane for ship to ship transfers in deeper water able to transfer over 1,000
tonnes per hour.

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Equipment Repair and Port Operations

Equipment Repair and Utilities
It may be quicker to repair harbour machinery such as cranes, container handlers, fork lift trucks and
generators than land it from expeditionary shipping, and some equipment such as large container
cranes would not be practical to deploy at all, so repair is the only short term option.
It would be impractical to carry spares in the Increment 1 stores, ready to go, for every different
manufacturer of fork lift trucks or harbour cranes but call off contracts and online documentation
and manuals would be feasible for the major equipment manufacturers. The initial survey and
standing port data will also provide insight into equipment held in the port.
The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, together with specialist elements from the Royal
Logistic Corps and Royal Engineers will deliver the equipment repair task. It might also be assumed
that locally employed civilians would play a key role and the ability to pay the local personnel and
suppliers should be incorporated into the port operations and management capability.
The deployed equipment will also need maintenance and first line repair tasks and naturally, this will
also be carried out by the engineering team. No great amount of new systems will be needed
because the Deployable Engineer Workshop, Deployable Machine Shop and Fitter Section in a Box
are already in service.
The 44 Deployable Machine Shops in service can be used alone or with other infrastructure and
includes a range of powered and hand tool including a lathe, milling/drilling machine and grinder
amongst many others.

The much larger Deployable Engineer Workshop (DEW), supplied by G3 Systems, supports Royal
Engineer artisan trades such as carpenters, fabricators, welders, fitter machinists, builders,
structural finishers, electricians , utilities engineers and petroleum engineers. Each trade has a bay
linked to the large central Main Working Area (MWA).
All the bays are housed in 20 specially adapted DROPS compatible 20ft ISO containers, trailer
mounted generators (FEPS)
The full 1.2m DEW comprises;

ME Fabricator and Blacksmith two containers

ME Carpenter and Joiner two containers
ME Fitter Equipment and Welder one shared container

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ME Fitter Utility and & Petroleum Fitter ACR (Air Conditioning & Refrigeration) one shared
ME Electrician and ME Fitter H&P (Heating & Plumbing) one shared container
Planning Staff & Draughtsman one shared container
ME Building and Structural Draughtsman one shared container
Main Work Area Storage Container doubles as a Stores Container when Main Work Area
Shelter is deployed
Forward Deployment and Utility Container (FDUC) provides a forward deployable
capability independent of the main hybrid. System acts as a general Utility Container when
not on deployment
RACU Container housing the environmental conditioning equipment for the Main Work
Area shelter

All the containers and shelters are supplied by Ably Shelters (Denholm Defence), the RACU and
EXTENDA being specific examples.

The Main Work Area (MWA) provides a large open space (242 square metres W 11.5m x L 21m) that
allow vehicles to access the space and for handling large work items, FOB gates for example. DEW
can be operational within 12 hours, although planning assumptions are longer to allow site

Marshal Land Systems have recently supplied a number of Fitter Section in a Box (FSIB) which is a
deployable vehicle maintenance bay complete with inflatable shelter to allow maintenance of
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protected vehicles under cover. FISB comes in a single container with two inflatable shelters and its
own generator to enable a small fitter section to work during the night and use compressed air tools.
Given that DEW is modular it would seem to make sense to integrate DEW and FSIB so that vehicle
maintenance and first line repairs can be carried out in the same location, sharing power and cooling
for example, as the engineer artisan trades although perhaps we might dispense with the structural
finishing trades!
It would also be an improvement if different shelters were used for FSIB to accommodate larger
vehicles and heavy plant. Replacing the required 7 FEPS generators with a single containerised
450kva generator would also be an improvement worth pursuing.
These systems in service and could be deployed as necessary.
Materials Handling and Storage
Fork lift trucks, reach stackers, MAFI trailers/tractors, telehandlers, container mobilisers and harbour
cranes make up the working machinery of most ports. A port will also have, and may need more of,
storage facilities that need protection from the weather and even refrigerated storage.
Already in service are JCB Telehandlers, various fork lift trucks, DROP/EPLS trucks, Kalmar Rough
Terrain Container Handlers, cranes and other mobile plant that could easily be used for moving
pallets and containers around a port.
Where the in service equipment is less suited is to offloading ships, especially the larger container
and general cargo ships. Some of these ships have their own cranes to lift cargo from their holds and
onto the quayside or awaiting vehicles. Most civilian container ships, even the smaller feeder ships,
do not have their own cranes and this therefore, leaves a potential capability gap should neither the
ship nor port have offloading equipment in good working order.
If the Damen Crane Barge is obtained as described above the need for separate equipment may not
be needed but assuming not, a number of options are available; specialised mobile harbour cranes,
crawler cranes and material handlers should all be considered.
Fixed cranes are generally less complex but in order to access the full width or length of a ships hold
they need long reach and if the crane is going to be used in the construction of the shore linking
causeway (as I intend to propose) before being used to offload ships mobility is a key requirement
Any crane must be able to span the full width of expected ship types but in this scenario, heavy lift
capacity is not needed. If it is accepted that heavy vehicles will drive off a RORO ship the most
common item is in the region of 40 tonnes and usually it would be much less.
When selecting cranes there are many trade-offs and specification touch points so I am going to
show three examples, one from each category. It must be said however, that these are products
available from a number of manufacturers.
Crawler Cranes
Lattice or telescopic boom crawler cranes are common in the heavy lift and construction sector, they
combine a large tracked chassis with an equally large counterweight and long boom. A typical
example is the Link Belt TCC-750, with a tracked carriage it can traverse difficult terrain and the 4
part boom with lattice extension allows it to lift out to a maximum reach of over 50m. Other crawler
cranes use multi-section lattice booms rather than telescoping types. This is a general purpose heavy
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lift crane and more transportable than might be imagined because they are designed for frequent
road carriage to and from work sites.

Mobile Harbour Cranes

The mobile harbour crane is a more specialised design than the crawler crane that whilst not as
deployable has a number of design features that allow it to access the top container stack on
container vessels or the bottom of bulk carrier holds. Automatic spreader assemblies allow the rapid
attachment and lifting of ISO containers so containerised cargo offload rates are potentially much
higher that with general purpose crawler cranes. At the lower end of the size scale is the Liebherr
LHM 180. At 20m outreach it can lift containers weighing between 25-32 tonnes depending on
whether a semi or fully automatic spreader is used. With a turnover of up to 35 cycles per hour, total
throughput for an 18 hour operating window would be in excess of 630 containers or over 15,000
tonnes if those containers contained 25 tonnes of material. Actual throughput would of course be
lower depending upon many factors such as truck capacity, operator skill, light availability, weather
conditions, operator rest periods and ship configuration etc., but this is still an impressive piece of
equipment, even at half the theoretical throughput. Move up the model list and the larger LHM 280
can still do the same number of cycles but from much larger container vessels (between Handymax
and Panamax) and two 20ft containers (TEU) at a time, in effect, doubling the maximum throughput.

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Material Handlers
The final type of crane to consider is technically speaking, not a crane, as it does not use a winch
cable. Materials handlers are used to access cargo that does not extend above cargo ship holds, or if
it does, not by much. They are generally used for bulk cargo such as metal scrap, timber and
minerals but can be fitted with an automatic container spreader. Although they cannot access the
top stacks of traditional container vessels or lift heavy 40ft containers, their direct action allows a
very higher number of cycles to be achieved. The Mantsinen 200 is typical of the type and can
offload 45 20ft ISO containers (TEU) per hour, or over 800 TEU per 18 hour period.

Container Handling
If we can achieve high ship offload rates using specialist equipment like a harbour crane or RORO
linkspan there is potential for movement within the port and onward to create a bottleneck that
undoes the effort expended on the quayside. Cargo needs to get away from the port and to the
point of use as fast as possible (accepting some stockpiling and palletisation may be a requirement).
For RORO cargo the main requirement is space for turning and parking, one of the main engineer
and construction tasks would be to make sure suitable space is available.
For pallets and containers, the in service equipment should generally be sufficient.
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The 'retch' is an impressive piece of equipment but with less than 20 in service relatively uncommon.
For use where the all-terrain features are not required, the MoD has a number of Hyster container
Although they are not necessarily classed as deployable equipment an extra small purchase for use
in Increment 1 deployments would provide a useful uplift without costing a great deal.
DROPS (if any are left in service), the newer Enhanced Palletized Load System (EPLS) and whatever is
chosen for the non Articulated Vehicle Programme (NAVP) can be used for container transport in
and around the port and beyond. EPLS can lift ISO containers without first placing them on a flatrack
but in most other respects, EPLS is broadly similar to DROPS. The H Frame or Container Handling
system uses ISO locks and can lift 8'0", 8'6" and 9'0" containers with an optional kit for 4'0" and 3'3"
half height containers. The MAN SV Recovery Vehicle can lift 15 tonnes and the Iveco Truck Mounted
Loader, 5.3 tonnes, useful for shifting pallets and smaller or unloaded containers.
Where situations dictate the use of non specialised container lifting equipment a spreader frame
increases speed and safety. The twistlocks are activated by pulling a toggle which eliminates the
need for personnel to climb on top of the container. Bottom lug lifters are also available to avoid
working at height.
Not everything has to be powered and simple mechanical equipment still has utility, especially in
rapid response situations where the heavy lift equipment might be in follow on offload. Recotech in
Sweden make the 17 tonne capacity Wing Lift, Anga in Poland and Haacon in Germany also make
similar equipment that can be used for limited road moves and aircraft/vehicle loading.

These manual systems can be slow and have a lower lift weight but the advantage of not
needing power is obvious, especially for the wheeled lifting jacks. They also allow containers
to be loaded and unloaded from vehicles without any MHE.
Although manual systems are cheap and easy to use they often lack speed and lifting capacity.
Moving containers around port storage areas is usually done by equipment like container forklifts at
the Kalmar but as mentioned above, are difficult to deploy, expensive and few in number. Other
powered systems might not have the reach or stacking capacity of the Kalmar but are much lower
cost and easier to deploy.
Container mobilisers are similar in concept to the large shuttle and straddle carriers seen in
container terminals. They are much easier to transport although may require some assembly in
theatre, can operate on moderate to poor surfaces and can be easily used indoors or where space is
tight due to a low height and small footprint.
Best of all, compared to the Kalmars of this world, as cheap as chips!
Combilift, ISO Loader, Meclift and Mobicon are notable manufacturers in this space, the
latter selected by the US Navy for moving containers on and off LCS.
The Combilift is delivered in two 20ft containers and takes about a day to build, ideal for Increment

The Mobicon straddle carrier uses two lifting frames that operate together rather than the
rigid frame of the combilift. Mobicon also make a soft terrain version that because of the
low container height are not vulnerable to tipping over should a soft patch or hole be
encountered, they are more or less tip proof. The Meclift is intended for use on storage yards
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but it reminds me of the Mobitainer above and which may be an alternative to using a hooklift
trailer, the centre of gravity is much lower than a hooklift.

Many ports will also have a number of Mafi trailers and tractors, where these are not
available, damaged and beyond repair, the equipment described above would be provide a
good alternative.
Any of these relatively cheap systems would be an ideal addition to the Increment 1
package, relatively cheap, easy to operate, efficient, widely available and likely to deliver
meaningful uplift in throughput without taking too much in service equipment away from
other operational tasks.
Existing port buildings such as warehousing and refrigerated warehousing may be well
found, non-existent or completely destroyed so in order to provide some shelter for stores
and materials a temporary shelter of sort would be a useful addition to Increment 1.
The MoD has a well-established relationship with Rubb UK, fabric building specialists. Rubb
produce a number of different products for port warehousing and their specialist military
range, the EFASS (Expeditionary Forces Aircraft Shelter System). EFASS can be used for
storage, as a hangar for aircraft or temperature controlled maintenance space. It is available
in 11.1m, 20.4m and 25 m spans with typical lengths up to 100m.
Power, heating and cooling options are available, as are a range of doors, double skin fabrics
and other ancillaries. They are quick to erect, with a 25m x 100m shelter built in 13 days,
and not overly expensive.
Daytime operations are a given but if ships are to use the facility in the hours of darkness, lighting
will be required in any area that is being used. The port will more likely have these facilities in place
so may well have been addressed in the repair task. If those repairs need spare parts that are not
available a quick portable solution will be needed.
Modern ports and harbours now have computer controlled lighting systems that are designed to
minimise electricity use by coordinating crane and ship movements with the hour of day and season,
security sensors and access control. The control circuits are often wireless and able to be
reprogrammed remotely, all very clever stuff.
In line with the just enough and no more philosophy of Increment 1, any deployed solution should
provide lighting for the working locations in support of the operation and very quick to set up,
consequently, the level of sophistication must be kept to a level that is supportable with the
intended timescales and deployment resource.
With recent legal judgements any port area that is used for UK personnel will likely need to comply
with relevant Health and safety legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Dock
Regulations 1988 and the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. This might not be as onerous as
imagined because any equipment on the market will be in compliance with current regulation and
BS 12464-2007.
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Light pollution when operating at night may well impact key ships crew and pilots night vision, it is
not sufficient to simply flood an area with light (see what I did there!)
For most applications, where accurate colour rendering is not needed Metal Halide or High Pressure
Sodium are normally used although LED technology is now making headway in the market. Lighting
level requirements vary between 5 and 50 lux depending on area, working or storage for example
need differing levels. To achieve these levels the only practical solution is a portable type, lighting
towers and mobile generators but the demanding operating environment of a port needs careful
equipment selection.
Power consumption is an important factor for a deployable solution because every lux will need
powering from self-contained generators, each needing fuel that must be landed or taken from
existing finite supplies. Although low energy lighting has a higher capital cost the running cost and
operational advantages would point to a low energy solution such as available from Holophane, CU
Phosco and Prismalence. As an example, a 70w Prismalence Ceramic Discharge Metal Halide unit
outputs the same light as a 1000w Halogen unit.
Portable lighting towers are available through the C Vehicle PFI with ALC but they are mostly
designed for site use and may not be high enough although the C Vehicle PFI would be an ideal
commercial provision solution.
Combining a low energy lighting solution like the Prismalence Stella with a self-contained semi
mobile lighting tower such as the 11m Maxi Tower or 15m TI15 from Towerlight would provide good
coverage at low energy use. Deploying them around the port area should be a simple task for any of
the wheeled loaders and wheeled tractors described above.

If the common 11-15m solutions do not elevate the lights to sufficient height to clear container
stacks and other obstructions without needing many units a greater height might be needed, this
means moving away from conventional solutions and to those that use elevating lattice towers like
those currently in use in Afghanistan for the Base-ISTAR observation towers
from Floatograph and Will Burt.

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A quick check using a light meter will confirm the correct levels, obviously, some leeway and an
application of common sense is needed. Floodlighting for work and storage areas will need to be
deployed in addition to harbour navigation lamps.
Port Operations Management
The final part of Increment 1 is port operations management, fundamentally, two elements. In
addition to maintaining security and utilities, they are traffic management and the administration of
port activities.
Traffic management in and out of the port is an administrative task not unlike air traffic
management, although obviously not as fast. The people best placed to deliver this would be the
personnel normally employed at the port, managers, pilots and controllers. In some scenarios,
simply turning up with a pile of cash and paying the existing staff can cut through any administrative
issues and get people working.
This is an important and not to be overlooked element of augmenting or repairing a port
environment, its people are every bit as important as the built environment and mobile plant. A
small administration cell that can manage port movements and small scale local employment has
great potential to leverage investment in Increment 1 investment. This admin cell could use any of
the many Operational Portable Offices already in service as long as they are equipped with sufficient
people and cash management equipment, computers and software.

Moving ships in turning basins and mooring areas requires the use of tugs. some ships are equipped
with bow thrusters and other propulsion systems that allow precise positioning without the use of
tugs but this would cut down on potential shipping that can use the port. Yet again, getting any tugs
that are already part of the ports facilities working is the easiest option but if none exist, or those
that exist are beyond practical repair, a deployable tug pair will be needed. The RLC Army
Workboat's can be used as tugs but not perhaps for the larger ships.
Conventional harbour tugs are powerful but heavy, usually in excess of 300 tonnes, even for a small
design like the Damen ASD Tug 2009, used by Serco and the MoD. The reason the weight is
important because it has to be able to be lifted from an LSD(A) deck, either that or transported
inside or on a FLOFLO or heavy lift ship. It is a trade-off, large bollard pull rating allows fewer tugs to
be used (within sensible limits) but means big and heavy vessels and resultant poor deployability.
Drop down to smaller bollard pulls and you need more, including more skilled operators, although
deployability is easier. Going to a smaller bollard pull would allow the use of containerised tugs that
can be easily transported and lifted from ship to the waters surface.
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A Summary and Final Thoughts on Increment 1

Having (I think) made the case for change, detailed an outline requirement and described a number
of options to deliver against the requirement, the difficult challenge is to look at organisational, skills
development and finance issues.
Assuming the case for change and the basic requirement is agreed, and this is of course, not
necessarily the case, there are a number of issues to address before the manufacturers catalogues
can be opened;

Does this need to be a UK only capability or can we pool and share with others?
Would it be possible to dip into conflict prevention or overseas development budgets?
What readiness would need to be maintained?
What would an Increment 1 organisation look like?
How can we maintain what are perishable skills?
Is the equipment supportable in the medium term?
How much research and development would be needed?
Go on then, how much?

Does this need to be a UK only capability or can we pool and share with
Yes and yes!
I think given the modest ambition and scale of investment needed for Increment 1 it can be
established as a wholly UK capability but equally, there is no need why it cannot take advantage of
the UKs defence relationships with others. The Netherlands and France spring immediately to mind
because the Netherlands has a very close relationship with the UK in amphibious operations terms
and France of course, because it has a similar expeditionary outlook as the UK and a very close
defence relationship with us.
If the UK wishes to maintain an expeditionary theatre entry capability this would simply fall into that
general aspiration.

Would it be possible to dip into conflict prevention or overseas development

Increment 1 has glaringly obvious utility in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, it
can be used to develop capacity with allies and partner nations as part of the UKs overall defence
engagement strategy. Although Increment 1 has the core requirement for short term, relatively fast
operations, there is no reason why it cannot be used for more permanent tasks.
Helping the Republic of Sierra Leone to develop a small port for its maritime security needs for
example, would make a valuable contribution to regional security.
There has been a great deal of discussion about dual use capabilities and whether spending on such
would fall inside or outside of OECD guidelines on overseas development assistance but I think the
UK is going to have to have a sensible and mature discussion about issues like this.
To answer the question, not sure, but I think it is something that should be seriously examined.

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What readiness would need to be maintained?

Does the entire Increment 1 capability need to be maintained at very high readiness, no, but at least
the survey capability does?
Maintaining equipment and people at very high readiness is expensive, but given the small size of
the team it should not have a disproportionate or especially significant cost in the context of the
multi-billion Pounds defence budget.
The rest can be held at graduated readiness.

What would an Increment 1 organisation look like?

I quickly described a potential organisation view in opening part of this section but briefly, it would
consist of a composite Royal Engineers squadron and Royal Logistic Corps port operation squadron,
the pair subordinated to 165 Regiment RLC, it having a number of multi service attachments.
There also exists great scope in the capability for utilising a range of engagement models, whether
regular, reserve, sponsored reserve or contractor.

How can we maintain what are perishable skills?

Although I have detailed much of the equipment needed the real challenge for Increment 1 is the
development and retention of skills and experience. Without realistic collective and individual
training the capability will atrophy.
By taking a flexible approach to engagement models we can utilise secondments and a range of
deployment and training opportunities to ensure skills are maintained.
The UK and Europe has a vibrant port and offshore engineering industry, effective partnerships with
industry could provide a valuable means of development and more importantly, maintenance of
skills, experience and knowledge.
For those elements that are more military oriented, like mine countermeasures in a complex shallow
water and port environments for example, greater joint training might be difficult and expensive to
schedule, but it is critical.

Is the equipment supportable in the medium term?

Excepting the mine countermeasures equipment, the equipment described is commercial off the
shelf or at most, commercial equipment with a green paint job. I have been careful to look at
equipment that is widespread use worldwide.
Also, much of the equipment for Increment 1 is already in service that enjoys existing support

How much research and development would be needed?

Although none of the equipment or methods would require primary research and exists at high
technology readiness levels, integration and assessment would no doubt require no small measure
of work. Loading plans, equipment trials, organisational development, knowledge management and
establishing processes will require staffing.
I quite like the idea of developing Increment 1 through trial and error rather than defining a complex
statement of user requirements and treating it like a traditional MoD project, hopelessly naive I
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Go on then, how much?

Always the most important question.
In the section on potential solutions I have posed a number of options so the cost would depend on
which of those options is taken. Which option is taken depends on the scale of ambition for
Increment 1, obviously.
It could range from just adding a spud adapter to existing Mexeflotes and maybe a sheet piling
attachment for the Volvo excavators, this is at the low end but would still provide an uplift from
what we have today. At the top end would be a dedicated piling rig, dredger, long reach excavators
and crane barge.
And yet even this specialised equipment is not hugely expensive in the context of other defence
equipment, a specialist sheet piling rig like the one described above costs in the order of 300k to
400k, the large harbour cranes, less than a million. None of the equipment is needed in large
quantities either, ones or twos.
Even at the luxury end of the scale, equipment costs would when set against the defence budget, be
very small, perhaps no more than 50m to 75m.
The real cost however, reside in the people. There is no getting away from the fact that establishing
Increment 1 would need more personnel, whether they were additional or re-assigned from other
areas would be subject to debate but if we accept the general requirement for flexibility in
engagement models the impact may not be as high as thought.
Is it a price worth paying, I think so.

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Increment 2
Building on Increment 1, Increment 2 addresses the second objective;
Be able to exploit a wider range of coastal terrain than just beaches where port access is not
practicable and significantly increase the throughput compared to existing solutions.
As described in the making a case for change section, the trend towards shoreline development
and urbanisation of the littoral environment means the world is running out of beaches suitable for
amphibious assault. This wont happen overnight but the direction of travel is clear.
Although we might initially look at increasing aviation assets, prepositioning equipment, investing in
intra theatre transport vessels or even buying lots and lots of hovercraft, these are not without
issues. Improvements in any of these do not exclude development elsewhere and elsewhere is
where Increment 2 will focus.
Increment 2 is a great deal more ambitious than 1 because in a nutshell, it is a concept for a modern
day Mulberry.
Piers for use on beaches except this time, it is beaches plus a load of other terrain.
Mulberry was a masterpiece of military engineering but whilst the design was in many ways
visionary, it was not without faults. The US Navy and Army picked up the baton and created the
Elevated Causeway (ELCAS) as a component of the wider Joint Logistics Over The Shore (JLOTS)
capability, but again, this is limited. Since then there have been a handful of studies aimed at
improving the concept of an expeditionary harbour but they have not resulted in any tangible
Instead, the West has concentrated, arguably correctly, on the amphibious assault phase whilst
seeking solutions that avoided shore lodgements and staged everything from the seabase far off
shore. The utility and efficacy of the sebasing concept coupled with ship to objective manoeuvre is
subject to endless debate but at its core, I am not sure the problem of tonnage has been
adequately addressed.
The reason STOM/OMFTS/Seabasing evolved was because of the real threat of so called anti access
capabilities proliferating in likely future operating areas. Having a modern Mulberry does not
suddenly make that problem go away so this might not address the issue completely.
Instead it would create a compromise between the two, a balance of risk.
Ships would still need to come into the shore but instead of hanging around for a long time whilst
unloading to lighters, and thus vulnerable to discovery and targeting, they would unload in very
short order. This rapid unloading will allow combat power and logistics provision to be built up
By utilising a greater range of terrain the element of predictability is reduced. Instead of offloading
at suitable beaches, which as I described above, are likely to dramatically reduce in number as
urbanisation and population driven changes in land use put coastlines under development pressure,
almost any coastal terrain can be exploited.
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Both these will reduce risk; shorter times for offloading and greater terrain utilisation, at a cost that
is a fraction of that needed for a true over horizon capability.
And that is the essence of Increment 2.
Various solutions exist to make bare beaches less compromised but they are generally characterised
by cost and low throughput as a result of double or triple handling cargo onto lighterage or landing
Because these bare beach solutions generally exclude any means of wave attenuation they are
restricted by sea state and getting supplies onto lighters or landing craft is also a challenge in the
rough stuff.
The existing approach is very much limited by the view that only these two environments equipped,
a deep water port that can be easily defended OR a beach that is logistically challenged
Increment 2 provides an ability to carry out a ship to shore logistics operation in varied terrain and at
higher sea states than currently with a much higher throughput derived from cutting out the
lighterage middle man and avoiding operations in the surf zone of a beach.
The surf zone is a very difficult environment for cargo and vehicle transfer; if the ground is too soft,
handling equipment will bog in, too shallow a beach gradient means lighters and landing craft will
run aground in the surf zone and steeper gradients are often accompanied by stronger currents.
Rocky or coral seabed conditions can cause problems for dracones or pipelines.
The requirements are relatively simple.

Capacity and Throughput

At the most basic level, Increment 2 must be able to accommodate a single ship at a time and that
ship type should include ROPAX ferries, container feeder vessels, large CONROs, the UKs Strategic
RORO vessels, RN and RFA vessels, product tankers; container barges and allied shipping such as the
US LMSR vessels.
This is the same range of vessels as defined in the requirements for Increment 1.

Build Time and Operations Duration

The basic system must be built and trafficking cargo within 48 hours of construction start although
for extra-long causeways this may be extended.
Throughput will depend on many factors; the number of ship moves, sea state, type of cargo, and
crucially, the ability of the shore location to handle it. However, the target would be to offload any
ship within the target types in as little time as practicable. This does sound a little vague, granted,
but there is some degree of chicken and egg here with the throughput achieved with different
design combinations that may be practical, or not.
The systems should be operable for a minimum of 90 days.

Ship Interface
The ship interface must be able to accommodate a single RORO, Container or general cargo vessel at
low water (including any in service ships) directly, allowing them to offload without the aid of
lighters. The component must include appropriate cranes and offload platforms, lighting and
mooring systems
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An optional interface may be bulk fuel, in addition to vehicles, containers and general cargo.
The ship interface must be stable, not affected by wave and tide.

Link Causeway
The link causeway is the connecting roadway from the ship interface to the shore interface.
It may be floating or fixed but must be able to accommodate MLC120 class loads in single lane
configuration with a twin lane configuration as a desirable option.

Shore Interface
Because the shore is more than a gently sloping sandy beach in the Increment 2 requirement set the
shore interface must be able to connect the pier to a variety of shore terrain.
This shore terrain must include rocks, port and harbour walls, sea defences and other developed

Operating Environment
The nearshore environment is both complex and challenging.

It is into this environment that Increment 2 will be placed and therefore has to operate.
Temperature Variation; although sub surface temperature variation is not as significant as offshore,
any equipment must be able to work across typical temperature variations from the artic to the
tropics. In the artic, air temperatures can be lower than those underwater.
Wind; wind velocities can often be the determining factor in nearshore operations, especially those
involving cargo transfer and berthing activities.
Marine Growth; water chemistry will have a long term effect on marine construction but for the
shorter term, marine organism growth will need to be considered.
Current; Tidal currents are not only horizontal but also have a vertical component and they may be
channelled by sub surface features. Tide induced currents may also lag the prevailing tide so in some
circumstances, the surface current will flow in a different direction to the sub surface current,
exacerbated by changes in salinity in estuaries. Currents around structures can create eddies
resulting in scour and erosion.
Waves and Swell; waves cause floating structures to move in six degrees,

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Consideration of wave loading is likely to be the major factor for Increment 2 design.
For most potential operation locations wave and swell prediction is well established, based on many
years of observation. Wave energy is proportional to the square of its height and long wave
periodicity can cause many problems where vessels are less than half a wavelength.
Waves are thus characterised by significant height and significant period.
Sea State is a simplification of a very complex subject.
Sea State is a combined measure of wave conditions whose components are local wind generated
waves and swell, or waves that have travelled from outside of the local area. Sea State is manifested
in three properties, wave height, wave period and wave direction. Wave height is the difference
between the crest and trough, period, the time between successive crests and direction from which
the wave arrives. These are aggregated over a period of time to produce a simple guide to aid
The build phase should be carried out in Sea State 3 and the completed system operable in Sea State
4, with comparable wind and tidal variations.
Scour; Scour can undermine foundations and spud legs leading to collapse.

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When scour has occurred the structure can be subject to wave induced rocking, total collapse in
these conditions is a real threat. Scour from tugs, bow thrusters and waterjet propulsion devices
should also be considered for Increment 2.
Soil and Seabed Condition; Because Increment 2 may utilise structures connected to the seabed the
condition of the seabed is of critical importance. It may consist of combinations of sands of varying
types and size, cobbles, clays, coral, gravel and large boulders.

It is recognised that most solutions to Increment 2 will require some form of dedicated transport
and that taking up space on existing amphibious and general cargo vessels is undesirable.
A high level of automation is a general requirement in order to reduce manpower requirements and
thus keep through life costs and manning manageable.

Potential Solutions
The most obvious starting point would be to examine existing solutions and previous research


To summarise from the earlier section on the US Joint Logistics Over The Shore (JLOTS) is defined as;
The process of loading and unloading ships without the benefit of deep draft-capable, fixed port
ELCAS was part of a wider programme, Container Off-loading and Transfer System or COTS, ELCAS
being a sub system.
It came into service with the US armed forces in the late seventies and was specifically designed to
transfer containers and equipment, but mostly containers, in the follow on phase of an amphibious
assault, similar to Increment 2.
Initial testing and concept studies recognised that its significant volume would displace equipment
intended for the USMC and therefore, unlikely to find a home on USN amphibious shipping, hence
the drive to deploy it on civilian and MSC shipping, especially SeaBee and LASH barge carriers, the
LASH carrier being proven to have many advantages over the SeaBee. These tests also included using
something called the Lightweight Modular Multi-Purpose Spanning Assembly or LMMSA which
allowed a RORO ship to interface with ELCAS.
ELCAS modules were originally modified Navy Lighterage pontoon causeway units connected by a
hinged flexor pin. Once the causeway modules had been manoeuvred into place and connected
together using the flexor pin they were ready for elevating. Each module had a series of internal or
external spud wells and the piles were inserted into these spud wells and then jacked up up to the
required working height.

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The ELCAS pier head is simply another row of causeway modules.

A fender string was installed to resist berthing forces and provide some measure of standoff that
allowed the 140 tonne crawler crane to lift containers from the lighter to an awaiting truck and
trailer. The piles used for the fender string are pointed instead of hollow to allow them to be driven
deeper than the normal piles. Because the pier head was not wide enough to allow a truck to turn
the 180 degrees needed a motorised turntable at the seaward end of the pier head was used,
ingenious I think.

At the beach end, a pair of ramps were used to transition from the pier causeway to beach.
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The main problem with the original ELCAS was that because the causeway sections and piles had the
be assembled on the water before jacking up, the whole thing was very susceptible to wind and
waves limiting construction sea state. It was also very labour intensive and therefore, not very quick
to install. Because the deck was frequently overtopped by waves it was wet and hazardous when
operating cranes.
Recognising these shortcomings and because of the physical condition of the ELCAS stock a decision
was made to replace it, the new system coming into service, after a number of contract problems, in
the mid-nineties. Instead of jacking floating modules out of the water ELCAS-M uses a cantilever
method to build out from the beach, without the deck modules touching the water, and thus,
practically immune from wave conditions.
A number of alternatives were proposed and some initial testing conducted, these included a high
wire transfer and aerostat system, neither was adopted.
Apart from the method of construction, the ELCAS-M design was not that much of a change from
ELCAS, the modules are dimensionally compatible with ISO containers and the pierhead was
designed to operate from both sides but there were still the three basic components of pier head,
roadway and beach ramps, joined by cranes, fender string, lighting and truck turntables.
Typically, ELCAS-M is not used for break bulk cargo or vehicles because access for ramps and crane
cycle time make it either impossible or very inefficient. ELCAS-M is most commonly used for
intermodal container transfer from lighters.
It can be built out to a maximum length of 915m and takes on average between 7 and 14 days to
build, depending on pier length. In optimal conditions the maximum stated throughput is 370 TEU
per 24 hour period, or about 15 per hour.

Why Not ELCAS-M for Increment 2

There is no doubt ELCAS-M is a marvellous piece of engineering that has no peer (no pun intended)
in any armed force in NATO, or anywhere else for that matter.
But, it has a number of issues that take the shine off and make it unsuitable for Increment 2.
Ship Interface.
At 6m depth, it can only accommodate smaller vessels and lighters. Given one of the underlying
requirements for Increment 2 is to cut out the use of lighters, it needs to be approaching double
that. The ELCAS crane cannot offload the LCU-2000 without the craft repositioning and the LSV at all.
RORO cargo is not offloaded except by sling.
Bottom Conditions
Because it can only use piles to support the pier deck it has to be sand and clay. Increment 2 has to
be able to work in rocky conditions, concrete and other complex bottom conditions.
Build Sequence and Time
ELCAS-M requires the landing of the components before construction can start, this is time
consuming and is limited to a beach. It is also time consuming and requires a lot of MHE and
construction equipment. ELCAS-M needs 7 marshalling areas for staging, storage, generators and
others requirements.
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Throughput is a difficult factor to quantify but a number of exercises have proven the stated
throughput to be very optimistic. Although both sides of the pier can be used and the pier is wide
enough for two way traffic the means of offloading containers is relatively slow, manually
connecting slings and spreader bars to container twistlocks. No automatic spreaders are used. High
winds slows offload severely. As a whole system, the need for containers to be double handled (ship
to lighter) decreases actual throughput significantly.
Sea State
When installed, ELCAS-M is very resistant to wind, wave and tide but building and operating are
limited by sea state, current velocity and wind. Manoeuvring lighters into position and crane
pendulation make offload operations hazardous.

Fundamentally, one might argue the biggest problem with JLOTS in general, and ELCAS-M
specifically, is it is not part of Seabasing programme.
The Seabasing Annual Report for Programme Objective Memorandum 2017 mentions the Maritime
Prepositioning Force Ships, Support Ships and Connectors but in the connectors section, no mention
Skin to skin transfer, Mobile Landing platforms, automated cargo handling and heave compensated
cranes are all there, but no pier. Of course this is intentional, in the Seabasing concept, there is no
requirement for ELCAS.
And thus, it has not been modernised or expanded.

Other Systems
There are a handful of systems and studies that might provide some insight or alternatives.

Lightweight Modular Causeway System (LMCS)

The LMCS was developed by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC),
Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL) as a lightweight alternative to rigid modular pontoons. The
flotation tubes are neoprene coated heavyweight nylon and are inflated to 3 psi to support rigid
deck panels. LMCS sections are connected using pre tensioned cables and connectors in order to
form a floating causeway.
Total weight is approximately 25 tonnes per 25m section and can be packed down into a number of
ISO containers, two per 25m. It was intended to be carried aboard the Joint High Speed Vessel but
has also been adapted for wet gap crossing where its light weight, air portability and high load
capacity (70 tonnes) is particularly valuable.

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Even the USMC have taken an interest, using LMCS as a towed pontoon for moving light vehicles and
stores to shore from a T-AKE ship, somewhat like a Mexeflote.

LMCS can support relatively heavy loads but is susceptible to deflection under wave loading which
would severely limit offload rates with containers and tractor trailers.

Advanced Cargo Transfer Facility

Following the 1982 Falklands conflict the US Department of Defense initiated a number of studies to
investigate means of improving cargo transfer over a beach and after a number of years published a
paper on a system called the Advanced Cargo Transfer Facility (ACTF)
ACTF proposed a system that comprised a 2,500 foot long pier using 16 jackup foundation modules,
eight mooring modules and two berthing modules. These could be assembled and used to transfer
containers to the shore in sea state 4 from in service container ships without the need for lighters.
Jackup platforms were used in combination with a purpose designed universal foundation system
that could accommodate sand, clay, rock or coral seabed conditions.

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Ships would be manoeuvred using winch barges secured to the seabed with propellant driven

Once in position, they would be offloaded from both sides onto a rail mounted trays that propelled
them to the shore using linear induction motors. As can be seen from the diagram above, the facility
did not have its own cranes but instead made use of the T-ACS crane ships, like the SS Cornhusker
Two truss designs were described.

ACTF has a great deal to offer Increment 2 because like Increment 2, it proposed dispensing with
lighters and providing a facility for large 35,000 tonne cargo ships to offload directly whilst anchored
in 15m of water at up to Sea State 4.
The programme also examined floating container transfer, it concluded that it might be a viable
method for very low volumes, it would not be suitable for the higher volumes required.
The concept was developed further with improvements to the crane handling system but it was not
taken into production.

Based on technology and systems developed for the North Sea oil industry, the Falkland Islands
Intermediate Port and Storage System (FIPASS) was designed to resolve a number of issues; port
access, refrigerated warehouse space and personnel accommodation. Six North Sea oil rig support
barges (30090 ft) were connected together and linked to the shore via a 600 foot causeway. Four of
the barges carried warehouses, with provision for refrigerated storage. In addition there was
accommodation offices, which include a galley and messing facility for 200 persons.
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The first cargo ship to use Flexiport unloaded 500 tonnes of general cargo and 60 ISO containers in
30 hours, by way of comparison, the same load, offloaded using Mexeflotes took 21 days

All this cost 23 million.

The company that designed FIPASS was ITM Offshore, realising the potential they developed the
'Flexiport' concept.

This passed to ASP Ship Management and by the look of their website, Flexiport is now a company
in its own right.

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Much like ACTF, Flexiport has many relevant attributes for Increment 2

The MOSES Pier

The MOSES pier is one of the more recent proposals for the provision of a ship to shore causeway
The goal of MOSES project is to design a causeway that can reach large ships in deep water,
keep vehicles dry, and be safely operational in at least Sea State 4.
This is obviously very close to Increment 2.
MOSES is a result of work carried out by students on the National Research Enterprise Intern
Program sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, as such, it is relatively limited in maturity but it
does show a great deal of promise.
The MOSES pier consists of a large fabric filled structure that is pumped full of seawater. When
pressurised it forms a roadway 1m above sea level that can carry heavy vehicles. The weight of the
water in the fabric creates sufficient downward force to ensure stability in the surf zone.
Like ELCAS and LMCS, it makes the assumption that only landing craft and other lighters will dock at
the pier head. It only caters for RORO vehicular traffic and has no cranes or other means of
offloading vessels. It also assumes that the pier will be landed at a beach, no other terrain can be
Visualise it as a long RORO linkspan.
One of the more ingenious aspects of the proposal is that positive water pressure is maintained in
the structure by large open topped water reservoirs. This provides positive pressure for little energy
expenditure and allows a puncture reserve to be maintained. If the structure experiences a
significant puncture the reservoir can provide enough time to maintain rigidity and thus allow safe
evacuation of the pier. The cellular fabric construction is simply unspooled from a drum and filled
using the reservoirs.

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After a number of evolutions the final proposal described a 150m continuous structure with
roadway planking to protect the fabric.
Further investigations examined the ship interface and concluded that the proposed deployment
method would be sub optimal so one the original concepts of using a jackup barge was re-examined.

The jackup platform was called a Mobile Support Platform (MSP) and would be used both for
deployment of the pier, and interfacing to landing craft and lighters.

Floating Container Port

Scapa Flow is synonymous with the Royal Navy but a research study conducted a few years ago
looked at using it for the greenest container port in the world. Instead of developing shore facilities
the study looked at a number of floating concepts.
Scapa Flow, in the Orkney Islands could become the worlds greenest post if a clever plan
that has been drawn up by researchers from Edinburgh Napier Universitys Transport
Research Institute (TRI) is adopted.
The blueprint for the transhipment port could also could bring substantial benefits to
Scotlands economy.
The TRI estimate that the floating hub, which consists of a large storage vessel fitted with
cranes, could nearly double the current 16bn value of Scotlands exports of manufactured
goods and that spin-off jobs would also be created for Scotland as the hubs host nation.
Ultimately, the study was not taken forward for economic and other reasons but the research was
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At around 40m, the proposed floating port, called the Floating Container Storage and
Transhipment Terminal or FCSTT, would cost approximately 80m less to build than a conventional
land-based port offering similar capacity. What the proposed Scapa Flow Floating Container Storage
and Transhipment Terminal system did was provide a floating transhipment capability, putting a
storage and handling buffer in between vessels.
A couple of design concepts were considered, taking into account container vessel size, crane reach
and other factors.
The first design concept considered a barge and travelling portal crane design.
The barge concept provided for the most flexibility using existing crane designs. It could easily
transfer containers from a 13 container wide Panamax ship to either an 8 or 10 row feeder or lighter.
If a wider barge were used it would provide greater storage capacity but given the limitations of
existing cranes would not allow direct transfer from a 13 row container ship to one with 10 rows. In
this context, this compromise might be acceptable.
The throughput of a twin barge, twin travelling gantry crane system would, based on a 20 hour
operation time, be in the order of 740 crane moves. These moves either being directly from the
main vessel to feeder or from the main vessel to barge storage/barge storage to feeder, or any
combination in between.

The second concept considered conversion of a surplus Panamax container ship, fitting it with 4
pedestal cranes instead of the travelling portal cranes on the barge.
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The conversion would be self deploying and offer a greater throughput than the barge option but
would need larger cranes even to reach an 8 row feeder vessel and would be more costly in capital
and operational terms.
Throughput was estimated at 1488 moves per 20 hour day.

Floating Cranes
Crane pendulation is caused by a combination of operator input, relative ship motion and system
dynamics. Crane operations become impossible in Sea State 2 to 3 and above and this is
compounded if both platforms are in motion, in ship to ship transfer for example.
The US Navy Seabasing programme has been looking at various solutions to the problem of crane
pendulation including heave compensating cranes, the Auto log cable transfer systems and others.

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The latest solution is the Large Vessel Interface Lift On Lift Off (LVI LO/LO) from Oceaneering.
LVI LO/LO tackles the challenge of two ships moving in 6 degrees of freedom in relation to each
other, akin to threading a needles being carried by a horse, whilst riding another horse!
The objective of the study was to prove vessel to vessel container transfer in Sea State 4.
Trials were conducted using the AC5 SS Flickertail State.
It is an impressive feat of engineering, but excruciatingly slow.

The Flickertail State is not in active service now;

LVI LO/LO completed its S&T phase in 2011. The technology continues to be refined and
tested by PEO Ships.
Which would seem to indicate it is at a fairly low level of activity.

Increment 2 Proposal Introduction

ELCAS, Flexiport, ACTF, MOSES Pier, floating container cranes and LMCS all have valuable features
that can be utilised for Increment 2 but there are technologies available not within these solutions
that can be used, especially technologies used in the offshore energy sector that have matured since
these older solutions were proposed.
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Although the fundamentals of tide, wave, wind and soil are unchanging, technology moves on, it
would be silly not to exploit the latest developments, if relevant.
To summarise from the requirements section, Increment 2 will consist of 3 basic building blocks, the
pier head, the causeway or pier, and the shore interface. In addition, some means of generating
calm water.
Pre-build survey and transport also needs to be considered.

Increment 2 - Pre-Build Survey

In much the same manner as Increment 1, Increment 2 needs a survey element.
In practice, it would also use much the same equipment and personnel.
The exception to this is the understanding of seabed conditions at the proposed location.
There is a common misconception that large offshore jackup platforms simply turn up for work and
jack down, this is not the case. Leg push through is a dangerous condition where one of the legs
pushes through an unexpectedly soft layer of the sea bed and in some cases the rig can be put at risk
of collapse. Because jackup platforms are likely to feature in Increment 2 solutions this is a concern.
This potential need for seabed soil survey also poses a particularly difficult challenge for two
It is likely that potential operational locations for Increment 2 do not fall within the friendly nation
category and so unlikely to allow an overt survey using jackup platforms or survey vessels of their
nearshore areas. This would also provide an alert that a pre-surveyed is an area of interest and
counter-productive to mission success.
And so the first difficult challenge for Increment 2 that the seabed survey has to be conducted
covertly, underwater.
Although given time the number of pre-surveyed locations could be a sizeable database the time
available for conducting the pre-build survey may be compressed by contingent operations. The
second challenge is that the survey must be conducted and data analysed quickly. In speeds favour is
that the actual physical area to be surveyed is likely to be quite small.
Put the two together and the problems are amplified.
Conducting a rapid and covert subsea soil survey is not a trivial task.
The survey task would actually start in the UK by analysing existing data and data that may be
obtained from other sources. This initial desktop survey would be used to support additional capture
and analysis planning.
Follow up hydrographic surveys, metals/debris detection and sub bottom profiling could be carried
out using vessels of opportunity or under the cover of routine hydrographic surveys carried out by
NATO survey vessels. Stand off AUVs and even handheld devices could also be used.

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But this only gets us so far, there is no substitute for physical sampling.
Existing special-forces have quite capable covert beach survey capabilities (including manual core
sampling) and when combined with stand-off systems deployed from conventional survey vessels
the majority of the survey task can be covered. However, the aspect of the survey requirement that
is not covered by existing capabilities is sea bed load bearing capacity.
This requires penetrometers and possibly, core sampling.
At its simplest form, cone penetrometer testing involves inserting a rod into the seabed and
measuring tip resistance and sleeve friction. The data collected is then analysed using specialist
software. The traditional method of conducting a near shore soil load bearing survey is to use a
jackup platform and a cone penetrometer test using an integrated drill derrick or a standalone
system deployed over the side or through a moon pool. The penetrometer is inserted through a
hollow casing that provides lateral stability and buckling resistance. In very soft soils an additional
device called a piezecone penetrometer may also be used.
Core samples may be taken to verify predicted data taken from penetrometers.
These are established techniques, but hardly covert.
There are however, alternatives.
For deeper water surveys, typically used for offshore energy installations and requiring significant
load bearing, underwater penetrometers are available from a number of manufacturers including AP
Van Den Berg in the Netherlands and Datem in the UK. Both have developed compact coiled rod
units that can be lowered to the seabed and remotely operated from a ship.

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Although mostly used for deeper water they have also seen some use when mounted on a tracked
underwater ROV for intertidal applications.

If they can be mounted on a tracked ROV or lowered from a surface vessel, they can be deployed
from submarines or simply driven in from a safe offshore distance.
Any equipment will need to fit within the Project Chalfont dry shelters that can be fitted to the
Astute class submarines, and other similar shelters or launch tubes used by allies, this may require
some design engineering but the systems are available and well understood.
A number of parameters will need to be analysed; Soil density, soil strength, friction angle,
consolidation and permeability for example. This should also include analysis of the strata to the
desired penetration.
Finally, a scour potential survey should be carried out, analysing wave and current in addition to soil
Whilst sampling would in most cases be conducted covertly, analysis can be carried out away from
the target site, aboard one of the survey vessels supporting the operation, or in the UK via reach
The output from a survey would simply be a decision on site suitability.
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If Increment 2 were taken forward it would also be desirable to pre-survey potential locations in
peacetime. This could be a standing and regular task shared between allies, although of course,
there is some element of risk if those locations on not in the friendly nation category!

Increment 2 - Pierhead
The basic requirement for the Pier Head is a large flat platform than can support cranes and offload
ramps, space for vehicles to turn and store cargo, and finally, some means of connecting to the
shore via a pier.
It is as simple as that.

Size and Shape

Deck size and shape will depend upon a number of factors.
Orientation Relative to the Shore
Looking at the case studies and potential solutions there is no single approach to pier head
orientation. FIPASS and Mulberry were parallel to the beach, ELCAS and ACTF, perpendicular. The
orientation of the pierhead may provide some protection from waves and thus improve stability and
ease of berthing depending on prevailing wind direction, tidal currents and wave direction.

It would be desirable for Increment 2 to operate in either orientation.

Vehicle Turning Geometry
Although 40ft containers will be the exception, Increment 2 must allow articulated trucks or shuttle
carrier vehicles to enter the pier head, be loaded directly from the moored ship, turn around and
exit the pier head without having to use time consuming turntables like the ELCAS pier.
Throughput will greatly depend on the ability of vehicles to enter and leave the pierhead quickly,
they cannot become a bottleneck because speed of offloading is such a key requirement for
Increment 2.

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Industrial buildings, roads and loading areas have numerous standards and norms for sizing turning
circles. Vehicles using European roads must be able to turn within a circle of 5.3m inner radius and
12.5m outer radius. A common design for industrial buildings and loading areas is called a banjo,
with stub and hammerhead designs being less suitable alternatives for non articulated vehicles.
Orientation and position relative to the pier will influence turning radius requirements. If the pier
enters the pierhead whilst the pierhead in moored perpendicular to the shore, vehicles will require
space to turn into the banjo. When oriented perpendicular to the shore a vehicle can enter the banjo
without turning.

The turning banjo minimum width is 16.5m

To allow vehicles to turn into the pierhead at ninety degrees to it will have to perform a double eight
and this results in a minimum length of 35m, 50-60m would be preferable. This results in a desirable
clear deck space of 20m wide and 60m long, just for vehicle loading, unloading and turning.
This model assumes a single pier entry point.
Two piers, each entering the pierhead (in parallel orientation) at opposite ends would reduce the
need for a vehicle to turn back on itself and allow an easier two consecutive ninety degree turn
manoeuvre instead. If the pierhead in were installed perpendicular to the shore both piers would
need to be installed in close proximity across the narrow end and thus, a complete 180 degree turn
would still need to be executed.
Multi-Unit Connectivity
The Flexiport concept envisages an L shaped configuration to provide RORO offload for ships without
a slewing or quarter ramp.

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Creating a L shape for Increment 2 would have a number of benefits.

Inverting the L may allow some measure of shelter against wind and wave and the advantages of
simultaneous cargo and vehicle offloading increases flexibility a great deal.

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Size and Shape Requirement Summary

The key to Increment 2 is size, enough clear space to allow articulated vehicles to turn and cranes
Connecting two or more units into an L shape provides many advantages for RORO shipping and
provision of some wave and wind shelter.
35-40m wide and 60m plus long is a minimum, longer would be better. The longer the pier the less
the number of ships and crane moves and an opportunity for multiple cranes to operate

Stability and Strength Considerations

Stringing multiple platforms might seem easy in the videos and images but stability is both a serious
challenge and critical success factor.
The pierhead must have sufficient lateral strength to withstand berthing impacts, vertical load
bearing sufficient to accommodate multiple cranes and vehicles (plus itself) and general resilience to
overturning and sliding from wind, tide and wave.
In order to provide an environment where ships can safely and efficiently offload the relative motion
caused by wave, wind and tide have to be minimised. Without fitting expensive (and slow) motion
compensating cranes on both the pier head and vessels it is logical that one of them has to exhibit
little or no movement.
It is unlikely to be practicable to conduct any dredging operations at the pier head so it must be
grounded in waters of such a depth to enable the target ships hazard free access. Small to medium
sized vessels need between 4m and 8m with larger vessels needing 12m-14m, plus under keel
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This leads on to deliberation about whether the pier head should be completely free of the surface
or free floating.
Lifting the pier head completely clear of the surface of the water with vertical and lateral loads
borne by piles or legs results in relatively low loading from tides and other currents and zero
movement under wind, wave and tide load.
A large semi-submersible vessel anchored to the seabed can be quite stable but those same wave
and tidal loads act upon a much larger area and so anchor systems would be needed.
In a normal offshore construction these are known challenges and many solutions exist to meet
Where Increment complicates things considerably is the requirement for high speed installation (sub
48 hours) on many different seabed geologies and construction in Sea State 3 or below.
If we look back at the Mulberry harbour system used on D Day, the pier head platforms had to be
able to offload 130m 10,000 ton Liberty ships with an 8.5m draught. Each pierhead platform had 90
foot spud legs that allowed it to be raised and lowered with the tide. Mode of operation depended
on the weather. In calm seas the pier head was anchored by the spud legs but not supported by
them, the whole thing floating up and down guided by the legs. In heaver weather, although it was
not completely supported by the spud legs, it was held a small distance above the free flotation
level. At their full extent, the D Day Mulberry Pier Head had 15.2m of water underneath it, well
within the required range for Increment 2.
The significant expansion in nearshore (and offshore) wind turbine construction has moved the state
of the art on considerably and it is worth examining for potential solutions.
The most common form of foundation design is the monopile, typically a 4m diameter 35m long
steel tube weighing 600-700 tonnes driven into the seabed. Pre-drilling and grouting may sometimes
be carried out depending on seabed conditions.

A transition piece is fixed to the pile and the turbine tower fixed to the transition piece.
At the base of the monopile, scour protection mattresses are installed. Installation time varies but a
typical driven monopile takes approximately 24 hours, up to three times that if pre-drilling is
The forces monopoles need to resist, particularly over-turning moments, are extremely high, much
higher than needed for Increment 2, but they do provide a useful indicator and applicable
installation techniques.
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A typical deployment sequence for an offshore wind jackup construction vessel involves mooring (or
dynamic positioning) over the target location, deployment of the spud legs and pre-loading for a
number of hours to confirm stability
When stability at pre-load levels have been confirmed the vessel will be jacked clear of the sea and
work commenced. This is a critical phase as uncertainty of penetration depth and footing stability
can give rise to the leg dangerously pushing through pockets of poor soils. Wave slap on the
underside of the vessel as it is raised can produce dangerous levels of stress and wave height
restrictions are placed on operations although the larger types can be jacked clear in conditions in
excess of 2m significant wave height.
Construction vessels have to withstand very high vertical loads because of the weight of monopiles,
transition pieces and turbine components. Although some resistance against collision loads is
considered they are simply not designed to withstand lateral loading i.e. from berthing ships.
Their legs are either of solid construction (circular or square section) or lattice. Spud cans fitted to
the bottom allow deployment in a number of different conditions and jetting systems can be used to
fluidise the top soil layers allowing the spud to be placed on harder soils below.

The diagram above shows spud can pockets on the underside of the construction vessel.
Jetting was developed by the US Navy for the Advanced Cargo Transfer Facility (ACTF) described
So, although legs may penetrate the seabed, they are not driven.
Eddie currents around the spud leg footing can also contribute to dangerous instability and so scour
prevention mats and rock mattresses can be used to both prevent scour and spread the load over a
greater area where leg penetration is not required.
If conventional monopiles take too long to install and jackup vessels using spud legs do not have the
lateral load resistance necessary some other solution will be required.
Conventional pile installation can be significantly quicker if the driving equipment is duplicated,
installed of driving one at a time, all 4 (or 6) per pier head platform can be driven simultaneously.
The Fistuca BLUE piling technology is an interesting innovation that might be applicable. Using a
combusting mixture and water column it avoids the need for hydraulic or impact hammers.

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Suction piles are traditionally used in deep waters and for anchors but the Dutch company, SPT,
have developed the concept for platform and foundations in shallower waters. The Self Installing
Platform 2 has been used in the North Sea.

Suction piles are much wider than conventional piles but penetrate to much shallower depths.
Negative pressure is applied to the closed top pile, water is extracted and as can be imagined, the
pile is sucked into the ground.
Because seabed penetration is much smaller, installation times are much reduced. SPT have also
proven installation in 2m significant wave height, Sea State 4.
There are many variations on the theme of foundation piling and selection would ultimately, be the
result of modelling and testing.

Cranes and Other Deck Equipment

Cargo Handling
Considerations on cranes are very similar to those for Increment 1, and it is not inconceivable that
the same mobile harbour crane could be used for both.
Whilst Increment 1 cranes had to be portable, the key difference with Increment 2 is that they can
be fixed to the pierhead. This simple factor opens up a wider group of potential designs.
Ship to shore gantry cranes, available from manufacturers such as Liebherr, Kone and Terex, are
generally sized according to the container ship size; feeder, Panamax and Post Panamax for example.
They are very fast, able to operate in high wind conditions and lift multiple containers at a time.
Their design also allows them to easily reach the far side of a high stacked container vessel whilst
maintaining lift capacity. Backreach span can be up to 30m.
For maximum container throughput, the Ship to Shore Gantry Crane is the gold standard.

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The fundamental problem with using one of these for Increment 2 is one of size.
They are extremely large and because of their height would present weight distribution problems,
potentially resulting in the pierhead overturning.
For this reason, they are discounted from consideration.
All of this brings us back to the same conclusions as Increment 1, a mobile harbour crane.
They can be wheeled, rail or pedestal mounted. Although there may be some stability benefits in rail
or pedestal mounting the crane on the pierhead centreline greater flexibility will be achieved by
using the wheeled base.
For Increment 1, portability and deployability were weighted higher in preference than pure
performance but for increment 2, reach and lift speeds can be optimised. The larger 550 and 600
series can easily lift fully loaded containers at maximum outreach distances of 50m. Multiple
containers can lifted at the same time using twin lift or telescopic spreaders. Available from Bromma
or Stinnis for example.

This increases throughput significantly.

RORO Access
For most large ships the simplest way of discharging RORO cargos onto the pierhead will be to
simply lower is ramp on the deck but if the pierhead is raised or simply too high for smaller vessels
they will not be able to lower their RORO ramps.
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A simple solution might be to create a steel beach, notched into the side of the pierhead, protected
by a gate during transit.
An alternative would be to use a buffer pontoon, similar to Increment 1.
Liquid Offload
Whilst the primary objective for Increment 2 is solid cargo, vehicles and container offload, fuel is a
vital commodity. Because of the nature of fuel it lends itself to deployable solutions, dracones and
ship to shore pipelines for example.
However, in order to increase flexibility it might be desirable to incorporate some form of liquid
handling system on the pierhead.
Accommodation for crew and operators, smaller hydraulic jibs, remote operated vehicle (ROV)
operating equipment and space for the access pier to deploy from the pierhead are also required.

Berthing and Mooring

Seabasing developments have concentrated on fender systems and distance measuring equipment,
all to compensate for the simple fact that both platforms are in motion. By providing a stable
platform for the crane, Increment 2 can dispense with these very complex and expensive systems,
none of which are in commercial use or fully developed.
Cargo vessels need to be manoeuvred into place and secured to the pierhead so they can unload or
load. Most likely vessels do not have bow thrusters and dynamic positioning equipment so tugs or
some other method needed. The ACTF proposed a series of winch barges and propellant embedded
anchors to position the cargo ship next to the crane ship.
This is time consuming and so an alternative would be to simply take three tugs as deck loads, lifting
them into the water as required.
Fendering systems provide protection for vessel and pierhead. Pneumatic fenders, high density foam
and other systems can be fitted to the sides of the pierhead.
Although conventional mooring bollards should be fitted to the pierhead there is a relatively new
suction mooring system available from Cavotec called the Moormaster. Moormaster is an
automated system that eliminates the need for conventional mooring lines. Remote controlled
suction pads deploy from the quayside and secure the target vessel.

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The system is now well proven and the larger units can accommodate up to 1m of heave and 7m
tidal range.

As described above, the Increment 2 pierhead is at its simplest, a two large flat platforms that can be
arranged in an L shape and secured to the bed. With the addition of cranes and tugs the system will
be able to manoeuvre multiple ships into place, secure them, and allow them to be rapidly unloaded
or loaded.
The final issue to resolve is transport.
There are three broad options, self-propelled, towed, or carried.
If the towed or carried option is chosen the pierhead can be of extremely simple and cheap
construction. Offshore barges cost in the single or tens of millions of pounds.

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Fitting them with spud legs or whatever form of support is chosen is again, an established and
commercially available option. They are difficult to manoeuvre, ocean going tugs are required and
weather and sea state restrictions the norm.
Using modular or integral propulsion units can provide some measure of self deployment capability
they are not the sleekest of vessels and so transit times are high.
A non powered barge can be carried by a heavy lift semi-submersible vessel, often called a float on
flow off (FLO/FLO) vessel. These are commonly used for outsize and extreme weight cargoes and
offshore construction modules. At the target site, the ship is ballasted down and the barge floated
off. They are also increasingly used for yacht transport.
Combilift, Dockwise, Rolldock, OHT and Hansa operate a diverse fleet of heavy lift vessels, some
semisubmersible. The semi-submersible FLOFLO type of vessel could be used to carry a pierhead
barge, or two, arranged in an oblique pattern across the bearing deck. Speeds between 15 knots and
18 knots are common.
Once deployed, the vessel can withdraw and the pierhead modules positioned using tugs or dynamic
positioning before securing with their spud legs.

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Equipping the lift vessel with spud legs could allow it to be used as the pierhead. It could carry one
leg of L shape pierhead as cargo and form the other leg with itself.
Significant wave height varies between the different ships but maximum allowable seems to be 1.5m
to 2m
Commercially available jackup platforms also offer an obvious potential solution, as described
The first use of jackup platforms was in the early fifties in the oil and gas industry and they have
since then continued to grow in sophistication and capability as the demand for hydrocarbons drives
exploration and exploitation activity into deeper waters and harsher conditions. The relatively new
offshore wind industry has taken these older concepts and developed them in new direction, large
monopile foundation construction and heavy lift at height being two areas in particular that have
seen rapid innovation.
There are a number of different configurations and options for transport, either self deploying or
As with foundation/pile configuration, the optimal solution would be derived from modelling and

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Increment 2 Pier
The Increment 2 Pier connects the Pierhead to the Shore Connector/Interface and is used by vehicles
to move between ship and shore.

General Requirements
There are three general requirements for the pier;


And a number of secondary attributes to consider

The length of the pier is pretty much dictated by the seabed gradient.

For a given water depth, the steeper the seabed gradient the quicker it will be achieved and the
shorter the pier. Other local conditions may influence the length as well, seabed obstructions, reefs
and tidal range for example, but the main factor is gradient.
The pre-installation will determine the actual pier length but Increment 2 should be able to
accommodate a range of potential pier lengths. The figure n, required water depth is a function of
under keel clearance and ship draught. The target is 12m-14m although this may be extended or
reduced depending on mission requirements.
The ELCAS pier can extend to approximately 1,000m but Increment 2 requires much greater depth at
the pierhead logically, the pier must be longer. Distances to the 30ft sounding line an mean low
water vary between just a few tens of metres to over two thousand, all depending on location.

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At a minimum therefore, the Increment 2 pier must be capable of spanning two thousand metres, a
very tall order. This coupled with the requirement to be rapidly built and globally transportable
makes the pier a significant challenge.
Pier width is driven by two factors, the number of lanes and maximum vehicle width.
Heavy plant such as bulldozers, container handlers and trackway dispensers are considerably wider
than their track or wheelbase. Modern armoured vehicles also have considerable overhang caused
by applique armour. Container handlers such the Rough Terrain Container Handler would be
particularly problematical as they can only travel at a reasonable speed with the container at right
angles to the vehicle. Pedestrian safety barriers also need to be considered.
Ordinarily, this would not be a concern because these overhanging elements could simply overhang
the pier kerb and offset pedestrian barriers used.
However, where it does become a problem is if a panel type construction is used, a Bailey bridge
deck for example, as the structural panels are considerably higher than the kerb and would thus
impede the flow of wide vehicles. Panel bridge construction would tend to result in greater widths
than other methods and the additional structural materials required might increase total deck loads
and load bearing capacity at each pier.
The pier should therefore provide a minimum clear space width of 4m, regardless of construction
If the pier is single lane it could form a bottleneck in a number of scenarios.
For traffic across the pier that is primarily RORO and moving from ship to shore, a single lane is not
likely to be a significant issue. Where it could be a problem is if the traffic on the pier is two way,
articulated vehicles shuttling containers from the pierhead to a shore marshalling area for example.
The longer the pier the greater the time spent on the pier and potential for bottleneck creation at
either the pierhead or shore. Traffic control lights would optimise pier usage but the problem would
remain. Increment 2 is predicated upon speed of offloading and resultant reduction of time spent by
ships at the pierhead so any issue that slows this down needs to be addressed.
A solution that starts with a single lane pier that can be expanded to double lane would provide
speed of installation followed up with increasing throughput.
After dimensions, the next factor to consider is load carrying capacity and it makes sense to define
the pier in terms of Military Load Classification.
To provide assistance to bridge designers, tables of weights of commonly used equipment
combinations have been compiled since the early days of military bridging. As far back as 1887, the
Instructions in Military Engineering manual listed likely weights of things as diverse as heavily laden
elephants and cavalry in marching order. These allowed assumptions to be made about the safe
operation of a bridge and a follow on simplification started from this point was the concept of a
bridge classification.
During WWI this was refined and loads were divided into 4 classes, light, medium, heavy and tank,
with each one having a defining weight, spacing and where relevant, axle loads. Despite this advance
an improvement was sought and in 1928 the Royal Engineer Board started collating details on
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military loads and the increasing number and type of vehicles in service. The details were used to
further categorise loads into Light (Brigade), Medium (Division), Heavy (Corps) and Super Heavy but
the fundamental problem remained, matching bridge capacity to vehicle weight as they had to be
looked up in tables before allowing to cross. This was cumbersome and time consuming and relied
on every type of vehicle appearing in the tables so in 1938 the system was looked at again by the
Royal Engineers Board.
The rather elegant and simple solution they came up with was to invent a scale, or classification,
related to weight but crucially, not only weight.
Each bridge type was allocated load class number and each vehicle was also given a load class
number. Instead of looking up and cross referencing a vehicle against a bridge classification a simple
comparison of load class was performed, if the numbers matched or the vehicle was less than the
bridge classification then it could pass. A spacing of 80ft was assumed at the bridge classification
took into account bending moment and other factors, it was not simply a weight (this is a key
distinction) Instead of weights of vehicles, each vehicle had a class, these starting at 3 and moving up
to 24 in regular intervals.
If a vehicles load class was smaller than the bridges load class then it could cross and to assist with
the rapid cross checking a standardised series of markings was designed, both bridge and vehicle had
the marking in the same colours so a driver could simply compare the bridge sign with that painted
on his vehicle and make the decision whether to cross without reference to bridge commanders or
complex tables.
Civilian bridges were also classified using the new scheme and it ultimately developed into a NATO
standard, the Military Load Class (MLC)
The NATO system uses 16 hypothetical classes; 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100,
120 and 150 as defined in STANAG 2021.
The number is merely an indicator although weight plays a significant part in its definition and a
vehicles and bridge/ferry/raft MLC are calculated differently. Vehicle MLCs use weight, wheelbase,
axle loading, spacing and contact area
Because wheeled vehicles tend to be longer than tracked vehicles and therefore exert differing
concentration of load and bending moment, bridges often have both a wheeled and tracked MLC.
Bridging equipment MLC calculations include weight, spacing of vehicles, safety factors and dynamic
effects or impacts.
The NATO MLC system also defines normal crossing conditions but allows for a reduction of safety
factors in emergency or tactical conditions. It also describes a method for defining a temporary
vehicle classification if none exists. The 16 classes are defined by 16 hypothetical wheeled and 16
hypothetical tracked vehicles of various weights, sizes and axles. It must be understood that MLC is
not a vehicles weight but simply a reference number.
Each hypothetical vehicle has the bending moment and shear forces calculated and plotted on a
graph at 1m intervals up to 100m, assuming a single span simply supported bridge. For other
conditions the curves are re-plotted. Vehicle and trailer combinations form part of the 32 definitions
for tracked and wheeled vehicles. The standard defines treatments for exceptions such as towing
and vehicles outside of the basic 162 classes.

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At the end of these complex calculations the MLC number is derived and rounded up to provide a
safety factor. A temporary MLC can be calculated by multiplying the vehicles mass in metric tonnes
by 1.20 for a tracked vehicle and 1.25 for a wheeled vehicle.
Different methods are used for single and multiple span military bridges, civilian bridges, rafts,
ferries and floating bridges that take into account a diverse range of factors. Normal, caution and
risk classes are defined for each bridge that recognises safety factors may be eroded in wartime but
these may also need more restrictions placed on crossing speeds, for example.
STANAG 2021 provides a couple of interesting examples; the Leyland DAF 4 tonner has an MLC of 11,
the Leopard 2A5 an MLC of 66 and the M3 Rig vehicle an MLC of 26. From the early work and
subsequent refinement in the years prior to WWII by the Royal Engineers Board a simple and robust
classification system for bridges, ferries and raft is now a NATO standard.
One of the decisions that therefore needs to be made is the required MLC for the pier.
The largest, MLC 120, will be able to accommodate a main battle tank, tractor and trailer. MLC 120 is
demanding from a bridging perspective, it adds weight and reduces installation time.
An appropriate compromise might be to lower the load classification of the pier to MLC 60, which
would allow a 40 tonne container and articulated trailer at maximum UK road weight (and therefore
a common configuration). This would mean the heavy armour would need to use traditional over the
beach methods unless it can be driven off the ship directly i.e. not on a trailer.
MLC 70 - 80 would allow for future growth and cover the vast majority of vehicle and cargo
Other considerations include lighting, kerbing, lane marking, pedestrian barriers and anti-skid
surface coatings.
Conventional piers usually use dense packed steel or reinforced concrete piles driven into the sea
bed or grouted in place because they have to withstand frequent storms and continuous use over
periods measured in decades.
When looking at the Increment 2 pier it is important to appreciate that the design drivers have
different priorities and longevity is not at the top of the list.
This is not to say it will be flimsy because the actions of wave, wind and tide combined with loading
from vehicles and personnel trafficking the pier will all require a fairly substantial structure, just not
as substantial and a permanently installed pier.
In general, speed of construction has a higher priority than absolute longevity.
The pier is required to interface with the Pierhead but they may be at different heights, temperature
induced expansion and movement from wind, wave and tide will also need to be considered. This
points to a general requirement to decouple the pier from the pierhead and use some form of
flexible connector.

Design and Construction

One of the first questions to ask is should the pier float up and down with the tide and waves, or be
decoupled from the sea by anchoring to the seabed?
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The pier can also be constructed like a bridge, with a clear span and supports, or a pontoon.
ELCAS uses modular pontoons for the complete structure, each container sized building block the
same. They are secured by driving piles into the seabed at regular intervals. This is what drives up
the installation time, the pier itself can only be built in ISO container sized pieces and it needs a great
deal of pile driving using conventional impact hammers suspended from a crawler crane.
Hence, 2 weeks installation time.
Mulberry took the floating approach, this made installation times very low but resulted in a
structure that was susceptible to waves and had a weight limit of approximately 25 tonnes.
For increment 2, there must be faster alternatives and ones that can support much higher payloads,
as above, minimum 60 tonnes with 80 being desirable.
The answer to the float or fix question may be both; fixed in the surf zone and floating beyond. If
floating, should the pier be water supported across its entire length, or held clear of the water by
floating supports or pontoons?
Different combinations may suit shallow water in the breaking waves or deeper water at the
pierhead. Increment 2 should therefore be able to employ a variety of techniques, fixed and floating,
the most appropriate used depending upon the local conditions.
Pier Deck Supports
Assuming that the approach of using a pier deck supported at each end is preferable that a floating
pier deck some of the issues to be resolved with foundation design are similar to those at the
Loads transmitted to the seabed will of course be greatly reduced, but the fundamental issues ae the
The longer the deck, the greater the load transmitted to the seabed and they must also be resistant
to wave, tide and wind loading. Because the pier will traverse the surf zone, wave loading may be
significant, scour likely and soil bearing strength poor in some areas.
A conventional approach would be to use driven tubular piles, supporting a spreader, onto which the
deck sections can be landed. As described in the Pierhead section, pile driving is slow. A 1,000m pier
comprised of 20x 50m individual deck spans would require in the order of 40-50 driven piles. Double
the pier and half the span and the problem with using hammer driven piles becomes obvious, speed.
Alternatives might include;
Floating Pontoon
Many of the floating steel modular pontoons described in Increment 1 are also suitable for use as a
floating pier deck support pontoon and the same range of manufacturers could be used.
Simply put, the larger the weight to be supported, the larger the pontoon.
MSP provide a range of pontoons and useful datasheets that show weight supported for each size at
a given water displacement. An Increment 2 floating pontoon support would need to cope with at
least 2m waves when fully loaded and so the sizing calculation must take this into account.
A 40ft x 8ft x 8ft ISO container sized pontoon can support a maximum of 50 tonnes with a freeboard
of only 30cm, in other words, not enough.
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Doubling stacking, connecting multiple pontoons side by side or arranging in a triangular format
would provide the necessary load carrying capacity, stability and resistance to overtopping by the
most likely wave conditions. Floating deck supports are more suited to the deeper water towards
the pierhead.
A floating pontoon pier deck support would need anchoring to the seabed.
Spud Leg Pontoon
To provide greater stability than an anchor, the same floating pontoons can be stabilised using spud
legs. All the pontoon manufacturers offer freefall spud legs in a variety of lengths and end cap

The support pontoon would still float up and down, but the spud legs would limit this movement to
the vertical plane only, reducing the need for anchors and twisting or rolling movement.
If the seabed provides sufficient load bearing strength the spud legs can be used to support deck
loads in addition to providing stabilisation. There would still be no driving as the freefall may provide
sufficient seabed penetration load bearing penetration. Jacking units can be attached and the
pontoon jackup up, either completely clear of the water surface or partially clear.
Perhaps the simplest option is to use a mass with a large bearing surface to spread the load of the
This can consist of sand, gravel, boulders or other granular fill materials contained within a support.
The support could be perforated containers, geotextile bags or reinforced geotextiles like gabions.
Instead of granular fill materials, pre-cast concrete sections could also be used.
Simply dumping boulders or precast concrete block into the sea at deck intervals would be the least
complex but this would require a great deal of material and extended build times, neither desirable
nor practical.
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Steel mesh gabions filled with rocks or cobbles can be lifted into place from a working platform with
a suitable crane. Built up to the required height they would form a sturdy series of deck supports.
Volume calculations are complex and would depend on the pier length and seabed profile but
making a series of assumptions, a 1,000m pier would require 150 construction units, where each
construction unit is 1m high and 4m wide. This would create a 1mx4m wide rectangular unit to
support the pier, stacked to create the correct height. The problem with this assumption is they
would simply topple over under kind of wave load so the support would have to be of prism shape,
like a block Toblerone.
The prism could still be constructed of the rectangular shapes, built up into the required shape.
Again, applying a number of assumptions and making a series of approximations, the gabion volume
required for a 1,000m pier would be approximately 4,000m3. A 20ft intermodal container has an
internal volume of 29m3, 140 containers in equivalent volume. The number of crane moves would
also be significant.
Perforated and filled ISO containers could be used, weights would be higher but crane moves, and
therefore time to install, significantly reduced.
The volume required is so high because of the size of the prism shape at its base in deeper water.
Simple geometry results in high volumes. De-installation would also be very time consuming with
solid concrete blocks or gabions.
This leads to a general conclusion that in deeper water, solid construction is not optimal. In deeper
water, towards the pierhead, the only practical alternative to piling is to use some form of trestle,
frame, floating system or other structure in place of mass.
A properly designed and constructed trestle or deck support would be strong and very quick to
install. The Mabey MAT-75 and System 160 provide examples of what is possible.

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The MAT 75 is a modular bridge support system made from basic column units that are braced at
either 5 or 10 feet centres with individual columns available in 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 12 feet lengths.
Adjustable screw ends and hydraulic jacks can be fitted on top of the columns to support the grillage
beams that would support the pier deck. Pre-assembled units would simply be lowered onto the sea
bed and in order to provide additional bracing against wave loads, outriggers made from the System
160 shoring system would be fitted.
This kind of support will need a wide base foundation or rock/concrete mattress.
Geotextiles have advanced enormously in recent years and are now in widespread use for costal
construction projects. One of the most promising for Increment 2 is the Tencate Geotube
A Geotube is permeable fabric tube of varying length. Secured in place with steel tie rods or frames
it is pumped full of a sand/water sludge using commonly available dredging pumps. Additives can be
added to accelerate dewatering but over a period of time the dewatering process takes place
without external intervention leaving what is in effect a giant sandbag.

Although full dewatering takes months the stability of the tube and load bearing capacity can be
suitable in a period of several hours. They are used for slurry and waste dewatering and the
construction of jetties, artificial islands, groynes, temporary dams, breakwaters, scour protection
and beach erosion barriers.

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Multiple Geotubes can be stacked and filling carried out using multiple entry points with locally
available non cohesive sand and soils.

The pier deck would be simply supported on a Geotube, or stack of Geotubes, placed parallel to the
shore. Geobags are smaller tubes closed at both ends in ready to deploy configuration.
The main advantage of using geotextiles like Geotube is their low weight and volume in transport,
they are very efficient. Fill times will depend on many factors but a typical 2.5m high, 4m wide, 50m
long Geotube with a medium duty pump at 15% sand/water mixture will take 9 hours to fill. Given
that a deck support only needs to be approximately 5m wide the potential installation times are
quite modest.
Alternative Piling
If conventional hammer driven piles are too time consuming alternatives may be used.
Composite or steel sheet piles can be quickly driven into support column shapes and backfilled but
one option that may be promising is helical screw piling. Increasingly used for low disruption and
displacement piling on land there have been a number of examples of their use in road/rail
infrastructure construction and proposals for offshore wind foundations, they were actually used
commonly for Victorian piers, Brighton Pier for example and most motorway overhead signs are
screw pile supported.
A helical screw pile is as it sounds, a large screw driven into the ground using a hydraulic torque
Installation times are very low. Once driven, a tubular or sectional grillage can be placed on top and
this used to support the pier deck.

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A possible means of slashing installation times is to fabricate a grillage and have a series of helical
anchors permanently fitted, ready for driving. Instead of driving sequentially using a hydraulic
excavator torque motor, motors could be permanently attached to each one with a slip ring.
Hydraulic pipework and a manifold would allow a single hydraulic pump connection to be made that
would drive all motors at once.
This arrangement would produce an extremely short installation time.
Pier Deck
There are a number of trade-off points with the pier deck, I have covered load bearing and span
above but the in general, the longer the clear span, the more difficult to install and heavier it will be.
Heavier spans mean stronger foundations that are more difficult and time consuming to install.
Shorter spans on the other hand, are lighter and easier to install with a lesser requirement for
support strength, but require more supports and more lift operations to install for a given length.
Another factor that must be considered is volumetric efficiency. Given that the entire pier must be
transported to site solutions that involve lots of free space and open trusses will require more space
and present transportability challenges.
The optimum deck span to deck span support ratio would be determined from detailed modelling
Pier Deck Design
The pier deck is very simply, a bridge, and bridges come in many designs.
A simple beam bridge comprises steel I beams simply supported at each end with a deck comprising
steel plates, reinforced concrete or some other surface. The most common form of bridging in the
UK is a ladder deck beam bridge. They are simple, easy to install and economic, although there are
more economic methods for longer spans and practical limits to clear deck span are about 30-50m

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An over truss bridge (sometimes called deck or underslung) replaces I beams with a truss design, this
reduces the amount of steel used but creates a much deeper structure, approximately 10-15% of the
span. Over truss bridges are light, easy to install (although more complex to fabricate) and relatively

The through truss bridges uses the same construction technique but places the deck inside the truss,
reducing depth underneath the bridge whilst still retaining the lightweight construction, long span
potential and ease of installation of the underslung or over truss approach.

A bowstring truss design uses an arch and truss combination with less sturdy foundations, the deck
can be placed on top, through or underneath.

Truss bridges use variations on the Warren, Pratt, Howe and Parker truss designs.
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For rapid installation and transportability the Bailey type panel bridge is the next obvious solution to
examine. This panels of a standard size that incorporate warren trusses and can be connected
together to form longer and stronger spans. Various types of transom and bracing can be used to
provide additional stiffness or strength.
The modern version is produced by (among others) Mabey.

What makes the Bailey type panel bridge so successful is its versatility. It is a truly modular design,
able to accommodate varying load requirements, floating, multi-span supported or clear span. They
are also able to be constructed by hand or with mechanical assistance, and importantly, are easily
transportable because the basic building blocks are small and light.
Launching can be by craning a complete span into the gap or launching across the gap using a
launching nose and cantilever technique.

Despite their many fine qualities they are not fast enough for combat operations and so are
generally relegated to logistic support type installation, often replacing bridges deployed in combat
This is intentional, each type of bridge is used in the most appropriate situation.
The rapidly installed bridges tend to fall into two, those that are installed under direct fire, usually by
tanks, and those that may be installed under indirect fire.
The familiar tank launched Combat Support Bridge and the less commonly known support bridges
characterised by the WFEL Dry Support Bridge or BAE General Support Bridge.

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Although there are differences between the Dry and General Support bridges in service with the US
and UK respectively, the operational concept is the same. A launching beam is cantilevered over the
gap and this used to support bridge segments as they are lifted into position, connected and
launched forward. Once the bridge landed, the launch beam is withdrawn.
Not only are they very quick to install, they can support great loads over long spans. The WFEL Dry
Support Bridge can, for example, support an MLC 80(T) or MLC 96 (W) load over a span of 46m and
be built from scratch to trafficking vehicles in less than 90 minutes. Individual 6m 4.4 tonne folding
modules can be stored and transported stacked, two per 20ft ISO container. A 40m span bridge set
comprises a launch vehicle and 5 ISO container sized loads, transported on vehicle and trailer
One of the other benefits they have over panel bridges is during construction, they require little
space on the home bank.
A complete 1,000m Increment 2 Pier set would still only require 1 launch vehicle but would need
166 bridging modules weighing 730 tonnes and requiring nearly 100 ISO containers. Installation
could be in the order of 48 hours in good conditions.
Accept a lower load bearing capacity and the Medium Girder Bridge or Air Portable Ferry Bridge
could be used. These well-established bridge designs flexible and very lightweight, a single story 16m
span for example, may only be able to carry MLC 30 vehicles but weighs less than 8 tonnes.
A bridge deck of 8 tonnes allows it to be emplaced using a Chinook helicopter. Heli-Bridging has
been used operationally in a number of theatres and remains a viable option for lightweight
bridging. 20m spans installed by Chinook would produce a very low overall build time and should be
seen as a realistic option for Increment 2 should a load bearing compromise be viable.
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A number of manufacturers produce portable bridges in varying spans, most of them of simple beam
type construction.
The 1.75m wide Mabey Quickbridge is available in multiple fixed lengths, the largest, a 20m span,
weighs 14 tonnes. Multiple bridge units could be crane installed quickly.
Another option is the Unibridge iBridge, this is a modular bridge that uses sealed 11m box beams
that are interlinked with a simple pin and launched using the cantilever or lift in method. Deck
panels are added once the beams are in place. The larger Unibridge can span 45m.
Although economic factors are important, given the relatively small number of spans required, it
may be possible to investigate the use of high strength low weight alloys.
Carbon fire structural beams and shapes are being increasingly used in historic building restoration
and repair. A number of products are now commercially available that could be used for either steel
reinforcement or steel replacement in bridge sections. Carbon fibre beams have been shown to have
the same strength as steel but with a 60% weight reduction. Foam filled carbon fibre box section
increases torsional rigidity and perforated arch beams have been shown to have incredible load
bearing capacity for minimal weight, a 4kg 8ft arched beam can hold over 1 tonne for example.
In bridging applications, carbon fibre reinforced plastics are starting to gain traction. They are widely
used for repair and reinforcement of existing cast iron bridges with Plymouth University pioneering
much of the research. The first CFRP bridge was completed in the USA, the Bridge Street Bridge (no,
that is its real name!) in Michigan. In Europe, they are increasingly used for lightweight footbridges.
the longest being the 56m Ooypoort bridge in Nijmegen. In the UK, composite reinforced bridges
have generally been used for short spans given the civil engineering world is by necessity,
conservative, this is understandable. The UK Composites industry association has some very god
case studies of composites in construction, click here to read.
Pipex installed the 18m Dawlish Footbridge in a single lift. The West Mill Bridge in Oxford is almost
entirely constructed from Glass Fibre Reinforced Polyester (GFRP) and in 2011, a bridge across t he
River Tweed in Wales was installed that used steel beams reinforced with a composite of silica and
recycled plastic water bottles. The Friedberg bridge in Germany is a good example of a steel and
composite mix bridge. Fiberline, the Danish composite bridge specialist, has a number of very
interesting case studies on their website for pedestrian and road bridges, including the 10m West
Mill Bridge and 52m bridge across the M6 in Lancashire. Triangulated composite decking is also
increasingly being used, much of the research being carried out by Bristol University.
Composites, in all their variations, have great potential for the Increment 2 Pier for structural or
decking components, they are light, strong and corrosion resistant.
Using lightweight bridge beams and decking reduces the need for foundation strength, in this
context, that is a very good thing.
There is no doubt that the pier deck remains the most difficult challenge to address for Increment 2,
not because there are no options, but simply because whichever option is chosen will take a long
time to install purely as a product of the length of the pier.
The requirement is 2 days, at the upper end of the potential pier length, this may not be possible.
Pier Deck Installation
One of the factors that makes conventional military bridge slow (compared to the distances in
Increment 2) is the inability to install bridge segments in parallel, installation starts at one end and
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moves to the other. There are obvious practical reasons for this, ELCAS is the same, it is built out to
the sea from the beach, one module at a time.
For the Pier, there may be opportunities for construction in parallel to reduce overall construction
times, or even, build from the pier and build from the shore, meeting in the middle.
Otherwise, combinations of cantilever and crane lift in could be used.
The most likely practical general arrangement will be to carry the Pier components on the Pierhead
ships/barges and once in place, build out towards the shore, using the Pierhead as a construction
and stores base.
This means the pier supports have to be installed before spanning with the pier deck. Given they will
be installed in free space this will be difficult from a gradually moving forward pier. What is needed
is either a floating or walking platform that can expand the frontal edge of the pier by installing the
pier deck supports in front of the pier.
Enter Wavewalker.

The Wavewalker system is integral to the Increment 2 pier, a walking leg jackup platform used for
construction and geotechnical investigation in rough seas, surf zones and beaches.
To quote from the description;
WaveWalker 1 is an innovative jackup which can be operated in conventional 4-legged
mode or as an 8-legged, self-contained walking jackup platform, capable of safely
operating and bi directional movement whilst elevated allowing the jackup to move and
relocate without floating.
The key is to relocate without floating

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This allows it to operate in the surf zone, basically striding forward over the waves.
Wavewalker 1 has 8 no. independently jackable legs. Each of these is carried in a leg
bearing unit, which slides on bull rails built into the hull structure. Once on location, 4 legs
on two opposite hull sides are lowered to seabed and the rig is jacked up in the
conventional manner. The other 4 legs in raised position are then slid to the end of the
walking stroke by the walking cylinders. These legs are then lowered to the seabed and
weight transferred to them. The initial 4 jacklegs are then retracted clear of the seabed and
the walking cylinders driven to the extent of their stroke, causing the hull to slide 4 m in the
required direction. The raised legs are then lowered to the seabed and weight transferred
to them. Finally, the unloaded legs are jacked up clear of the seabed and reset to the start
position. In this way a 4 m walk is completed and the cycle can be repeated if required
overall walking speeds of up to 40 m per hour are achievable
It is quite large, at 32m by 32m, and has a coverable moon pool, a number of cranes and
accommodation for multiple crew members. As it walks forward it maintains a steady height, this
will allow it to drag an already positioned pier deck forward.
Using the moon pool and cranes it could install any of the pier deck support systems described
above and it has enough space and deck loading capacity (400 tonnes) to carry enough for the
complete Pier.
The build sequence is therefore;
A Wavewalker like walking jack-up platform is launched from the semi-submersible Pierhead upon
arrival at the operational location or towed in from a nearby friendly port if one is available. Onboard are the correct type and correct quantities of pier supports for the complete Pier span as
confirmed by the pre deployment survey.
As it walks from the Pierhead to the first pier support location it drags behind it the pier beams/deck
components. The deck would be attached using a hydraulic mechanism and payed out from the
Pierhead platform, positioned using the mobile cranes.
At the first pier support position it deploys the support through the moon pool. Once complete the
platform jacks up clear of the support, walks forward and once in position, sets down the deck onto
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the support. Whilst this is being carried out, the second Pier deck module is positioned at the pier
head ready for movement forward.
With the first Pier segment in place and secured to the support, the second Pier segment is moved
forward, along the length of the first and secured by the Wavewalker platform using the hydraulic
mechanism at one end, the other supported by rollers.
The walking platform walks forward to the second Pier support location, again, dragging the Pier
deck behind it. In the second pier support position, the sequences is repeated. Install the support
through the moon pool, elevate, walk over a short distance, and secure the front edge of the Pier
deck on the newly installed Pier support. Small deck segments would be need to cover gaps between
the multiple Pier deck segments but these would be quickly installed using mobile lifting equipment,
likely sizes would be able to be lifted by a JCB type loader.
The sequence is repeated for all Pier segments. Supplies of Pier decks are progressively depleted
from stocks on the Pierhead and stocks of Pier supports from the walking platform.
This would be a sequential operation, no ability to parallel or simultaneous installation but dwell
time at each point would be relatively low and it is a simple process without the requirement for
heavy lift cranes or large amounts of space for cantilever launch.
As the walking platform would be raising and lowering over the Pier supports the Pier deck coupling
mechanism would need a bearing or hinge mechanism to accommodate the movement.
Increment 2 does not necessarily need the exact same specification as Windwalker 1 but certainly,
something like it.
Eliminating time consuming crane lifts, launching beam or cantilever launch techniques by the
simple expedient of walking Pier deck segments forward and placing them onto a series of supports
would result in a much reduced installation time.
By adjusting the design of the Wavewalker platform it may be possible to increase walking speed by
sacrificing loads and leg height. Given the likely operating water depths and loads, this is hopefully a
feasible design change. If we could increase to 50m per hour, a 1,000m Pier could be walked in 20
hours. With a 50m span and 1 hour spent at each location deploying the support an placing the deck,
the target Pier length becomes achievable within the target 2 day installation period. This method
also minimises personnel required.
There are many assumptions here, this is acknowledged. Is one hour enough for a pier support
installation, would the cycle time of moving the Pier deck from Pierhead to installation location
introduce a delay, can the deck accommodate height changes and twisting forces whilst being
installed an many more.
This is merely a suggestion for a possible combination of Pier deck, pier support and an installation
method that maximises speed whilst minimising the need for personnel and heavy lift cranes.
To repeat the oft repeated phrase, it would all need modelling and confirmation by trials.
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There are a number of alternatives.

The first would be to use a smaller walking leg jackup platform as a working platform fitted with a
heavy lift crane. Operating in a conventional mode it could provide a stable work platform for crane
The second alternative is based on the understanding that none of the Pier components are
naturally buoyant, and these

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A 40m-50m ladder beam span could be fitted with a tracked drive unit at each corner and lowered
to the seabed using a passive heave compensating crane attachment. At each corner would also be a
spud leg, on a rotating fixture to allow them to be easily stacked whilst in transport.
Once on the seabed, the hydraulic motors would be attached to a floating powerpack and simply
driven toward the shore. Once in position, the same hydraulic powerpack could power the jacking
units to raise it clear of the surface. Finally, it would be locked in position and decked, perhaps even
using a trackway solution like that from Faun.
Underwater excavators are available from a number of manufacturers.
For Pier spans supported by floating pontoons the pontoon can be flooded and when in position,
pumped full of air to raise the deck.

Increment 2 - Shore Interface and Beyond

One of the key objectives for Increment 2 is that it is able to access a variety of shore terrain , not
just gently sloping beaches; seawalls, rocks and flood defences for example.
If the walking leg jackup platform option is used, after completing construction of the Pier it would
be surplus to requirements and therefore, perfectly suited to traversing any water edge obstacles.
A Pier segment with self levelling bankseat beam would then rest on the ground and provide a road
surface to the shore.
Other than that, a conventional jackup platform using modular pontoons would provide a good

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Where the shore landing spot is a beach, the geotextile solutions described in the Pier section would
provide a simple, quick and cheap solution for landing the final Pier segment.
Somewhat of a short section this!

Increment 2 - Wave Attenuation

In order to allow safe and efficient offloading at the Pier Head the relative motion between the free
floating ship and fixed Pier Head must be minimised.
Conventional breakwaters are usually massive reinforced earthworks, sometimes with protective
sheet piling. Protection against erosion caused by waves is provided by combinations of geotextiles,
aggregates and in many cases, large concrete blocks lifted into position such as those made by Xbloc
None of these solutions are practical for Increment 2.
The first recorded use of a floating breakwater was at Plymouth in 1811 and since then the floating
breakwater has evolved in a number of specialist areas such as marina and aquaculture.
Going back to D Day, the problem of wave attenuation was a big one, the location and time the
invasion was planned for meant waves would be significant and much thought was given to the
issue. After many different ideas were tried the actual means of wave attenuation coalesced on
three methods.

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The image above clearly shows the effectiveness of the wave attenuation capabilities of the
combinations of these methods.
First were a row of 60 blockships, old and obsolete ships that were stripped, towed into position and
sunk. Preparations including destroying their water tight bulkheads to ensure they sank quickly
when amatol charges punched holes into their hulls. Once in place, they were overlapped and sunk.
The overlapping was needed to prevent scouring at the bow and stern. The lack of such overlapping
on UTAH meant the US blockships suffered from this effect and several of the ships had their backs
broken by voids opening up underneath them.
Their main advantage was they could get to the beaches under their own steam, not requiring
precious tugs but due to their comparatively low height there were unable to be used across the
entire area and thus, deeper concrete caissons were needed.
Second, were large concrete caissons called PHOENIX, 150 of these were built in six depth variations
to accommodate different water depths, the largest (Type A1) displacing 6,044 tons and the smallest
(Type D), 1,672 tons. Each was a standard 60m in length with a boat hull to facilitate towing
operations. Some of the PHOENIX caissons had anti-aircraft guns and barrage balloons, with the
necessary crew quarters built into the structure. The caissons were pre-fabricated in the UK and
when towed into position their scuttling valves were opened, flooded and sunk.
Finally, an anchored wave attenuation device called BOMBARDON was used. These were 200 foot
long cruciform cross section floating steel constructions that were anchored to the sea bed and each
other in long strings. 24 Bombardons, each with a 50 foot gap between them, created a breakwater
1 mile long. Water was then let into the three lower fins as ballast. Each was designed for a Force 6
storm, unfortunately.
Of these three methods, only one could be considered as a floating breakwater, the Bombardon, and
only one that could be considered for increment 2.
Floating breakwaters are often selected for deeper water, where soil conditions preclude the
construction of soil and rock structures and where water quality needs to be maintained,
aquaculture being particularly sensitive to this.
Short choppy waves can be affectively attenuated with floating breakwaters but longer period waves
encountered offshore can be difficult to deal with because the transmitted wave (that behind the
breakwater) depends on the ratio between the incoming wave and width of the breakwater.
In the years since the Bombardon there has been a great deal of research into floating breakwaters
and many designs and configurations tested. The increasing size of container vessels and the need
for smaller feeder ports has also resulted in a modest increase in research in floating breakwaters.
Floating tyre or log mats can be used although they are not easy to deploy and less effective than
other types, they are cheap though.

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A more common types is the floating box, concrete or steel in construction, often foam filled, linked
together with flexible pins and moored to the sea bed.
The first image below shows a floating pontoon breakwater installed in Holy Loch, Scotland. The
240m long structure comprises twelve 20m long pontoons, each weighing 42 tonnes and the second
image below, a similar concrete box construction floating breakwater in Italy from Ingemar

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The images above shows clearly their utility in exposed water and the unit is designed for a
maximum wave height of 1.5m before being over topped, with a maximum wave length of 18m and
period of 5 seconds. This would correspond to a sea state of between 3 and 4. To improve efficiency
they can be post tensioned in order to increase stiffness although this creates significant forces.
Floating or bottom tethered pontoons or tubes have also seen widespread use with individual
designs being influenced by specific conditions encountered at the intended location.
A significant advantage of inflatable breakwaters is their ability to absorb wave energy by structural
deformation, unlike fixed pontoon or box structures. This can also result in lower stress on the
mooring system. They can also be inflated and deflated in situ, an obvious space advantage for a
deployable solution but can obviously be deflated by puncturing.
Newer designs, generally aimed at the marina and leisure market used moulded plastics to form long
flexible strings of breakwaters, examples include Waveeater and Whisprwave

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Fixed tubular semi-submersible types are also available.

The Canadian company Narvaltech produce a floating breakwater that utilises 5 tubes arranged in a
cruciform shape. Each module is 7.3m long and weighs 7.1 tonnes. They can be arranged in single or
double parallel patterns to maximise wave attenuation.
Other proposals include the use of artificial kelp barriers used in conjunction with inflatable beam
The most likely failure point in any floating breakwater is the mooring because it has to maintain the
floating structure across a vertical range, alternating between slack and taut. Many studies have
shown that the influence of the mooring system on the overall effectiveness of the floating
breakwater is significant. Mooring systems that can accommodate depth variations are most
effective, those from Seaflex being good examples

In the mid-nineties the USACE Military Engineering RDT&E Program of the Coastal and Hydraulics
Laboratory (CHL) carried out what was probably the most comprehensive study into deployable
breakwaters since the Bombardon.
As described above, floating breakwaters are most effective when their width is a quarter
wavelength, in open water where long wavelength waves are more common than choppy short
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wavelength waves closer to shore the problem becomes extremely difficult due to simple
dimensions required.
RIBS was required to reduce wave height by 50% in Sea State 3 to 2, be survivable at Sea State 5 and
be able to be deployed and redeployed quickly using in service shipping. It was not specifically aimed
at creating a stable platform for ship offloading to a fixed pier but for offloading large ships to
lighters. The same principle still apply to Increment 2 though.

After testing many designs the CHL came up with the Double Delta shape. The cells were filled with
expanding foam and a rigid curtain extended between them at a sufficient depth to stop wave
energy penetrating beneath the breakwater.
It would be deployed in a V shape with the tip of the V facing into the waves, the floating structure
deflecting waves rather than reflecting them as traditional breakwaters might, this was a big
departure from those described above.

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At the point of the V was a nose buoy that was moored to the surface and allowed the angle to be
varied between 0 and 60 degrees. Scale testing indicated up to 85% wave attenuation.
The first tests used a rigid structure but these were rapidly changed to inflatable beam structures,
called the Hydro RIB
The final test was at full scale using a design called XM-2001 that unspooled from a large bobbin
before pressurisation
The larger scale testing demonstrated reduction from upper sea state 3 to 1 in the lee of the
Pretty damned impressive and more so because the deflection mechanism allowed moorings to be
relatively low strength and simple.
RIBS was as cheap as chips and self-evidently, extremely effective. Deployment was simple and the
whole assembly was very compact pre installation.
Although RIBS has not yet been deployed it is being developed further for the roll on roll off
platforms used for ship to ship transfer.
The RIBS system, perhaps combined with some of the commercially available systems would be a
relatively simple drop in for Increment 2 and provide localised sheltered water at the Pierhead

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Summary and Final Thoughts

Let me start the summary by saying I am not an offshore or geotechnical expert, just someone
interested in the subject. This series of posts should be viewed in that context, an interested party
with no great expertise!
I make number of assumptions that would need to be tested, even assuming the basic premise of
the proposal is correct, which is equally open for debate.
We should absolutely recognise though that such expertise does exist, and exist in the UK and
Europe. Whether that is in military bridging, port construction, offshore engineering or geotechnical
surveys, Europe has a rich vein of research, technical and engineering capability as a result of
decades of experience in the oil and gas and renewables industries which to mine for solutions.
It is in these organisations that we must look for solutions, not BAE or Lockheed Martin.
Increment 1 is achievable within the context of a UK only defence budget. The equipment described
is all commercially available off the shelf and apart from maintaining a high readiness survey
capability, not especially challenging from a personnel perspective. There may be some additional
personnel but with some reprioritisation and imaginative use of reserves and contractor could be
achieved without breaking the bank.
It would however, deliver a step change in port opening capability in response to requirements for
expansion or repair of existing locations.
Given the dual use nature it might even provide some opportunity for a bit of trickery re the DFiD
disaster response budget. I know this is often raised as the great white hope of anything vaguely
related to defence logistics and I would certainly not be opposed to this kind of thinking, surely it
cant be that difficult, we really do have to get better joined up across Government departments for
dual use capabilities.
Increment 2 on the other hand, is extremely ambitious.
Yet for all the ambition embodied by the Increment 2 requirements it is achievable. All of the
technology solutions described are commercially available, absent is new materials research,
software integration or cutting edge fabrication.
Is it affordable within the MoDs budget, probably not.
This means it would need to be a shared solution with individual nations taking budget and
operational responsibility for the individual components.
Impossible, no, difficult, yes.
As Europe seeks to become, even a little, more self-sufficient in military enabling capabilities some
shared or pooled arrangement would also be worth exploring with NATO and/or European allies.
Across Europe there is a wealth of experience in every single aspect of both concepts, collectively it
is an area where Europe leads the world.
Exploiting this expertise, maximising Europe and NATOs soft power, providing a unique and
worthwhile military logistics capability in an area that is likely to see increasing demand seems a
good decision to me.
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So there you go, hope you enjoyed reading and commenting on this series as much as I enjoyed
writing it.

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