Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Military to Test Floating Seaport During Culebra Koa Exercise | Military.com

Military to Test Floating Seaport During Culebra Koa Exercise | Military.com: Thousands of sailors and Marines, but also Army and Air Force personnel, will participate in exercise Culebra Koa, May 18-21, to practice large-scale expedition- ary operations.

The centerpiece of the test is an unlikely Navy vessel: the 785-foot USNS Montford Point, a "mobile landing platform" based on an existing commercial design, an Alaska-class crude oil carrier, but with the center section removed to provide a submersible deck.

Described as a floating port at sea, the Montford Point has the ability to mate up with supply ships to offload equipment. Material can be moved across the Montford Point's deck to big waiting hovercraft known as "landing craft, air cushion," or LCACs, for delivery ashore.

Participating ships also will include the helicopter carrier USS Essex, amphibious ships USS Rushmore and USS Anchorage, the Pearl Harbor-based cruiser USS Port Royal, the cargo ship USNS Dahl and the joint high-speed vessel USNS Millinocket, Navy officials said.

"Sea-basing provides the means to generate Marine Corps forward presence and facilitates rapid response to emerging crises without the need to establish bases ashore," Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth Glueck said in a December report.

The Montford Point was launched in 2012. Last July the ship practiced docking and launching with 87-foot hovercraft and 26-foot Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles off San Diego.

In late October, meanwhile, the Montford Point linked up with the cargo ship USNS Dahl to practice humanitarian assistance operations.