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May 2011 Issue

US Chief of Naval Operations Requests More Ships
Addressing the Surface Navy Association's symposium January 13, the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead emphasized the need to increase the number of ships in the U.S. Navy. The Navy currently has a 286-ship force, but 313 is commonly referred to as the "floor" of what the Navy needs, Roughead has said.

Several classes of ships built in the 1980s are expected to "age out" around the time the Navy plans to replace strategic submarine and nuclear aircraft carrier fleets in the 2020s. "The looming prospect of block end of service life ... requires action in the very near term to chart a course through that very challenging period," Roughead said.

US Navy, Marine Corps Provide Support To Japan Following Earthquake, Tsunami
After Japan was hit by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11, an MC-130P aircraft carrying U.S. Marines arrived at Yokota Air Base in Japan on March 12 as the first wave of American disaster relief forces.

Beginning on March 12, marines and sailors from III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) supported relief operations and provided command and control, aviation and logistics support. Marines from III MEF Okinawa quickly deployed needed supplies and aid to areas in need, the Navy said. CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters deployed to Naval Air Facility Atsugi.

On March 12, The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the USS Tortuga (LSD 46) were positioned off the coast of Honshu, with Ronald Reagan serving as a place for Japanese helicopters to refuel. Two escort ships conducted search and rescue. The USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), loaded with relief supplies, deployed from Singapore. USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Campbell (DDG 85) and USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) were directed to assist Miyagi Prefecture in sea search, rescue and recovery operations.

U.S. Marine Corps aircraft were moved from Okinawa to the U.S. military bases on Honshu. As of March 17, two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters from the U.S. Naval Air Facility Atsugi had delivered 1,500 pounds of rice and bread to people in the town of Shiroishi in one of the worst-hit areas.

The U.S. Navy provided five high-capacity pumping systems to help cool the core of the damaged No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant on March 17. U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka transferred 1.9 million liters of freshwater via two barges to cool the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant March 25.

Essex Amphibious Ready Group elements and Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) members combined efforts to restore power to Oshima Island on March 27, providing residents with electricity for the first time in 16 days. The team also transported commercial electric utility vehicles, a fuel truck, a water resupply vehicle and a civilian work crew from the Tohoku Power Co.

The Navy had 19 ships, 133 aircraft and 18,165 personnel supporting this operation as of March 30. U.S. 7th Fleet forces delivered more than 240 tons of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies in support of JSDF.

Using ROVs Instead of Divers for Inspections Saves Time and Cuts Costs, Navy Says
U.S. Navy divers at the Southwest Regional Maintenance Center in San Diego, California, became the first Navy regional maintenance centers to use remotely operate vehicles (ROVs) for underwater ship husbandry repairs, inspections and assessments, as well as battle damage repair and anti-terrorism response, the Navy announced in April.

By using ROV technology rather than human divers, the Navy reported a decrease in response times and costs while increasing naval installation underwater security efforts.

It can take five hours for a five-man dive team to prepare and execute a 10-minute dive inspection on an underwater component in an emergency, Navy divers said. A two-person ROV team can complete the same job in 30 minutes.

"Southwest Regional Maintenance Center's ROVs have proven to be a viable option for quickly organizing a waterborne inspection. These assets are able to maneuver and control areas that are less accessible to a fully staffed Navy dive team," Navy diver 2nd Class Andres Soto said.

ROVs are resistant to the many hazards associated with diving, such as decompression sickness, radiation exposure, waterborne pollutants, electrical currents, high-capacity suctions and discharges under a ship's hull. An ROV can also remain onsite indefinitely and is not constrained by limited air supply, physical limitations or space restrictions of diving. These units also have the capability of connecting to a satellite feed to allow fleet commanders and their staff to observe and evaluate ship damage from their desktop computers, reducing the turnaround time.


2012:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2011:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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