US Navy ships in astern replenishment maneuver

The U.S. Navy said its Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Richard E. Byrd and Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Pioneer conducted an ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ astern replenishment-at-sea in waters south of Japan, Aug. 24.

Unfortunately, the service did not share pictures of the maneuver at the moment.

“While replenishments-at-sea are routine, astern refueling is unique and requires precise navigation and coordination,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Ileto, fleet replenishment scheduler for Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific. “Pioneer and other minesweeping vessels have fueling stations on their bows and require astern refueling.”

Ships fueled at sea during normal replenishment evolutions connect to each other alongside. Astern refueling is the earliest type of replenishment operation used by the U.S. Navy. The receiving ship follows directly behind the supplying ship. This evolution is more limited, as only one transfer rig can be set up.

The astern refueling of Pioneer reflects the flexibility of Military Sealift Command ships and crews to deliver innovative expeditionary logistics support to the fleet. Richard E. Byrd and Pioneer are currently operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

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