Among the Navy’s newest support ships is the Supply (T-AOE) class fast combat support ships which combine the functions of fleet oilers (AO), stores (AFS), and ammunition (AE). The class consists of four ships which entered the fleet in the mid to late ‘90s. The ships provide underway replenishment and have the speed necessary to operate with carrier groups. Cargo capacities are 156,000 barrels of petroleum products, 1800 tons of munitions, 400 tons of refrigerated stores, and 250 tons of dry stores. Crew size is around 200 compared to the preceding
class T-AOE crew of around 600. Sacramento
Unfortunately, the Navy, in its all-consuming quest to find funding for new construction (see, "The Altar of New Construction"), is considering retiring the class after only 16-20 years of service. As reported by Defense News website (1),
"By 2013, the service announced it would inactivate the Bridge in September 2014 and the
Rainier a year later."
Additional proposals envisioned placing the remaining two ships in reserve status.
As reported in the article, fleet-wide reaction to the retirement/reserve plans was overwhelmingly negative. The response may prompt the Navy to revise its plans. We’ll have to wait and see.
|T-AOE - Another Early Retirement?|
The point is that the Navy is continuing its seemingly never-ending series of bad decisions.
The newest carriers or Burke Flt III’s are useless if they can’t be kept supplied. More generally, the Navy seems totally unmindful of the reality that all the newest ships in the world can’t compensate for poor maintenance, sub-optimal manning, inadequate training, limited replenishment, etc. which are the result of the Navy’s obsessive fixation on new construction. That fixation at the expense of all else is crippling the Navy’s fleet size and readiness.
(1) http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140712/DEFREG02/307120025/Big-Supply-Ships-May-Get-Reprieve-Now , Defense News, “Big Supply Ships May Get Reprieve - For Now”, Chris Cavas,