The U.S. Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) expeditionary transfer dock USNS Montford Point (T-ESD 1) showed off some “skin-to-skin” maneuvers last week in the Pacific Ocean, part of the U.S. Navy’s new seabasing capabilities.
The exercise was held July 21-22 and involved the maritime prepositioning force (MPF) ship USNS Dahl (T-AKR 312). During the exercise, the two ships’ showed their ability to transfer large cargo, such as vehicles, at sea, with Montford Point acting as a floating pier for a simulated offload.
Montford Point is categorized as an expeditionary floating pier-at-sea, tasked to provide a pier-at-sea to move and transfer cargo from large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) ships onto Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) vessels to provide seabasing capabilities for the Navy and the Marine Corps.
During the “S2S” exercise, the ships navigate alongside each other and are moored together. Once connected, the MPF ship lifts Montford Point’s ramp with her shipboard crane and connects it to the MPF ship. Once the ramp is connected, vehicles and cargo can be rolled on and off with efficiency. No equipment was actually transferred during this exercise.
“Montford Point provides combatant commanders the ability from over the horizon to transfer and deliver personnel and equipment ashore to a limited or unavailable port,” said Navy Capt. Eric C. Lindfors, commodore, MPSRON-3. “This ability provides a unique capability within the [U.S.] 7th Fleet area of responsibility, enabling instream operations from a variety of non-traditional locations.”
The U.S. Navy considers Montford Point’s flexibility critical for humanitarian response to natural disasters and for support to warfighters ashore. The size of the ship allows for 25,000 square feet of vehicle and equipment stowage space and 380,000 gallons of JP-5 fuel storage.
USNS Montford Point is operated by Military Sealift Command, which operates approximately 115 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.