Among the items to test in Strock’s matrix, and one of the ones getting a lot of widespread attention, is testing the new Afloat Forward Staging Base with the whole range of aircraft and connectors. The Navy just accepted the first AFSB, the USNS Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller(MLP-3/AFSB-1), on June 12, and a lot of people already want to use it.Interesting...and a must read.
“It is my understanding that that ship is now, I think, at initial operating capability and is planned to go to support combatant commander mine warfare requirements,” Strock said. However, “a lot of people, to include the commandant, said we’d like to get our hands on that thing and that type of capability – and he’s absolutely right. And we have been developing some ideas on how could we use a ship like that – that ship, or a ship like that – to support the CR MAGTF and Marine Rotational Force Darwin.”
Because the MV-22 creates a lot of heat and a tremendous downwash, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) needs to carefully study whether to certify the Osprey for operations on the various ship classes the Marines are considering as alternate platforms. Strock said the Marines are working with NAVAIR now to certify the MV-22 to operate on the AFSB, though none of the aircraft have landed on the Lewis B. Puller yet.
What has me questioning the whole thing though is the claim that the USMC has a shipping shortfall. The only thing that I've seen that indicates that there is a shortage is the creation of these SPMAGTF-CR's.
I knew of NO real need for the units. The claim is that Combatant Commanders needed more forces. I consider that false. TO BE BRUTALLY HONEST, I stand by the claim that this was simply a creation to boost the "need" for the MV-22.
What is happening is that by establishing these non-standard units into the operating forces we're creating a solution to a problem that never existed AND creating a problem where there was none before (twisted wording but I hope you get what I'm saying).
Kill the SPMAGTF-CR, go to a sustainable deployment model, have a bit of surge capacity in your active duty force and ditch the idea of the MV-22 being indispensable and we're back on track to having a reasonable force.
The idea of turning everything afloat into an amphib will never work and will only add unnecessary churn to the US Navy's maintenance schedule. Besides. We've seen San Antonio class LPD's doing work with NASA on shuttle recovery...we've seen the USS WASP taken out of service to perform duty as the F-35 test bed. If we can do that then we don't actually have a shipping shortage.