Friday, September 4, 2015

A New Class of Ship — 'Expeditionary Support'

A New Class of Ship — 'Expeditionary Support': There are different kinds of submarines, of destroyers and amphibious ships, of patrol and support ships. The US Navy’s unique designation system defines all of them, starting with a root type, like SS for submarine, adding an N for nuclear, adding a G for guided missiles or a B for ballistic missiles.

Now there’s a new root designator — E for expeditionary support.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, working with Adm. Jon Greenert, chief of naval operations, signed off on the E plan and changed the designations of three kinds of ships to the new category:

JHSV joint high-speed vessels will become EPF, for expeditionary fast transport.
MLP mobile landing platforms are now ESD, expeditionary transfer docks.
And AFSB afloat forward staging bases — currently included as MLPs — will become ESB, for expeditionary base mobile.

The changes, announced Thursday by Mabus’ office, are in line with an effort begun by the secretary in 2013 to streamline some of the Navy’s ship designations, which some feel have become too disparate. The topic has been debated within the Navy’s command structure, where some argue the designators should reflect an acquisition program, while others think more traditional terms should apply.