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T AKR-300 Bob Hope Class
Large, Medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships (LMSR)
Model featured: T AKR-300 USS Bob Hope
- circa as commissioned 1998 -
Draft markings (not shown on model)
Constructed to primarily provide afloat pre-positioning of an Army heavy brigade's equipment and a corps' combat support, the ships additionally provide surge capability for lift of a heavy division's equipment from the United States. Four 110-ton single pedestal cranes make it possible to load and unload cargo where shore-side infrastructure is limited or nonexistent. A slewing stern ramp and a movable ramp which services two side ports make it easy to drive vehicles on and off the ship. Interior ramps between decks ease traffic flow once cargo is loaded aboard ship. A commercial helicopter deck allows for emergency daytime landing.
The large ships (950' long and 106' wide), while capable of self-sustained Lift-on/Lift-off operations at a pier and in a "logistics over the shore" scenario, are often used in conjunction with a Roll-on/Roll-off Discharge Facility.
Military Sealift Command's total LMSR fleet consists of nineteen US government-owned, noncombatant ships that were built new or converted from earlier container ships at US shipyards. The LMSRs offset the shortage of militarily useful cargo ships available in the commercial sector - a growing concern as US forces overseas depend increasingly on global power projection.
The nineteen LMSRs include seven of the Bob Hope Class, eight of the newer Watson Class, two converted container ships of the Gordon Class, and two more converted container ships of the Shughart Class.
The Military Sealift Command deployed LMSR ships extensively for transport of Army equipment to support operations in Kosovo in 2001 and later against Iraq. The performance of the ships in these actual operations provided additional support for the conclusions as to their effectiveness and suitability. Cargo included Army Blackhawk, Apache, Kiowa and Chinook helicopters and a variety of wheeled vehicles plus containers for all forces.
Unarmed and without a combat system, the ships do have a C3I suite sufficient to perform their intended mission in conjunction with other Naval vessels. Eleven LMSRs are maintained in a 4-day Reduced Operating Status.
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