Sea Transportation: November 27, 2002


One of the aftereffects of the 1991 Gulf War was that the United States lacked specialized shipping needed to move lots of trucks and armored vehicles to far off battlefields in a hurry. So the Department of Defense built or bought a fleet of 19 LMSRs (Large, Medium-speed, Roll-on/Roll-off Ships). There are also called "Ro-Ros". By 2001 the program was completed, with four classes of T-AKRs (the navy code for this type of ship.) Each ship had from 260,000 to 390,000 square feet of deck space for vehicles. The ships had a displacement of from 55,000 to 63,000 tons and all could travel some 900 kilometers a day. This puts these ships within no more than three weeks travel time from any port on the planet. The "roll/on roll/off" description was literal. The ships are basically floating parking garages, with motorized ramps that allow vehicles to be quickly driven on, and off from a pier. Some of the LMSRs are used, literally, as floating garages, holding trucks and combat vehicles near potential hotspots. Thus within days, or a week, the LMSRs can land their equipment and have it go into action with crews that were flown in.


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