Spreading assets around different platforms does more than just mitigate some risk, it also expands a Commander's options and complicates an enemy's targeting.
Via Lance M. Bacon over at MarineTimes;
Military Sealift Command is making Marine-driven changes to its nontraditional fleet to give amphibious forces a greater edge on an ever-evolving battlefield. The developments promise to advance the Corps’ use of alternative platforms for everything from maritime security and riverine missions to disaster response and flight operations.There are some issues to quibble - but let's not let the good and doable lose to the perfect and unattainable;
The MV-22 is also key to this new concept.
...one key conversion will enable dry cargo and ammunition ships to stow an MV-22 Osprey.
MSC dedicated two dry cargo and ammunition ships (the two oldest) to the Marine Corps pre-positioning fleet: Lewis and Clark, and Sacagawea. They provide ammunition, food, repair parts, stores and small quantities of fuel — but the aft flight deck is a highlight among Marine strategists who have used ships from the T-AKE class as alternate command, control, operational and logistics platforms in recent exercises.
Landing an Osprey is not enough. The Corps has asked for a converted hangar that will allow an MV-22 to be folded and stowed. Sacagawea will receive these modifications during a regular overhaul planned to run from October through January, ...Dry cargo and ammo ships aren’t the only ones slated for an amphibious upgrade. Two expeditionary fast transports — Spearhead and Trenton — have upgraded cranes that allow boats and personnel to launch from the mission bay. That modification will eventually be added to all EPF ships, Thackrah said.
Because it is a USNS ship, rather than USS, it cannot conduct “belligerent acts.” While the shallow-draft catamaran can quickly move troops deep into littoral areas, it has no mounted guns or defense systems. And a reasonable explosion would likely tear through the commercial-based aluminum vessel.It is good to hear this is getting people excited - and the fact that we are having to pull people back instead of kicking them forward tells you something.
In fact, its weak structure requires the ship be delivered to theater and remain there.
“They do not do well in rough seas,” Thackrah said. “They are a ship based off the design of a commercial ferryboat. There is a safe operating envelope for the ship, and they are proving that if you violate the safe operating envelope, you can wrinkle them up. But this is not an open-ocean vessel. This is a near-shore, high-speed vessel.”
Many hulls have cracked and been damaged by strong seas. This was evident when Fall River, the fourth ship in the class, was sidelined by one rogue wave off the coast of Florida. MSC has since started reinforcing the bow structure.
“What we do have to say no to is trying to put too many ideas on the same boat. We have run into that,” he said. The ships have been used to do “anything and everything you can dream of. What these guys are thinking of is just fascinating.”
There is "there" there.