US Navy ships conduct floating pier deployment drills in Korea

US Navy sailors assembling the INLS around a power module off the coast of Pohang, Republic of Korea. Photo: US Navy

U.S. Navy’s Maritime Prepositioning Force ships USNS Pililaau (T-AK 304) and USNS 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo (T-AK 3008) recently tested their skills in deploying the Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS), a floating pier-like causeway system.

The INLS is a sea state three (SS3) capable system comprised of interchangeable modules and is used to transfer cargo from Military Sealift Command (MSC) ships to shore areas where conventional port facilities are unavailable or inadequate.

The system was deployed during the Combined Joint Logistics Over The Shore (CJLOTS) 2017 drills that took place from April 8 to 12, in South Korea.

“Training with our allied partners using this system is of the utmost importance,” said Chief Warrant Officer Jokim Davis, Combat Logistics Regiment 35. “By doctrine, we can offload without coming into view of the beach, so we can be over the horizon, 12 to 30 miles out, and discharge equipment outside of view. It improves our response time, as now we don’t have to look for a pier that can support the ramp and the equipment to be offloaded.”

An intermediate module is unloaded from Navy Maritime Prepositioning Force Ship USNS Pililaau (T-AK 304) during the drill. Photo: US Navy

The INLS is comprised of various pontoon sections that can be assembled in a variety of ways to create a Roll-on/Roll-off discharge facility (RRDF). MSC prepositioning ships discharge equipment onto the RRDF, then onto lighterage such as barge ferries or landing craft utilities for transportation to the shore.

Utilizing the instream discharge and lighterage operations, U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Army exercise participants offloaded approximately 620 pieces of rolling stock and containers while ROK Forces offloaded approximately 1,600 tons of rolling stock and materials.

MSC operates approximately 120 non-combatant, merchant mariner-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships at sea, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces.

CJLOTS is a biennial exercise conducted by military and civilian personnel from the United States and the Republic of Korea, training to deliver and redeploy military cargo as a part of Operation Pacific Reach exercise (OPRex) 2017.

OPRex17 is a bilateral training event that highlights combined and joint multi-domain, muti-nodal capabilities by exercising an area distribution center (ADC), an air terminal supply point (ATSP) logistics over the shore (LOTS), and the use of rail, inland waterways, and costal lift operations to validate the operational reach concept. OPRex17 is a part of the annual Korean Peninsula defense exercise Foal Eagle 2017.

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