The Drive: America’s Huge Afloat Forward Staging Base In Action
The Navy’s sea basing capabilities are being massively upgraded with these oil tankers turned one-third aircraft carrier, one-third marina and one-third command and control center.
We have followed the progression of both the Expeditionary Mobile Base and the Expeditionary Transfer Dock, both variants of the Navy’s modified Alaska class oil tanker designs. A small fleet of these two types of ships will allow the Pentagon to have a persistent and capable maritime presence nearly anywhere on the high seas, and rapidly access land masses by conveying masses of military equipment with efficiency never realised before.
The USNS Lewis B. Puller, named after the famous Marine "Chesty" Puller, is the first of three planned Expeditionary Mobile Bases. The ship measures 764-feet long, 164-feet wide, and displaces a whopping 78,000 tons. Its identical sister ship, the USNS Hershel "Woody" Williams, is now under construction in San Diego, and a third ship has been funded. These ships are meant to tackle a slew of tasks, including counter-mine, special operations, humanitarian, counter-piracy and maritime security missions. They can even support large-scale amphibious operations.
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WNU Editor: These are huge ships.