MV Asterix

Expeditionary Maintenance Capabilities … for Asterix

The US Navy is expanding maintenance capability in the western Pacific to reduce the time and cost involved for a ship to return to a homeport. In addition to expanding the network of 24 shipyards in 12 countries, the US Navy is developing or relearning the concept of expeditionary maintenance capability.  The concept is for “the provision of maintenance capabilities to ships operating at sea or docked in an area where no support capabilities exist.” Maintenance is delivered in the form of containerized capability (US Naval Institute News Oct 2016). USS Fort Worth, a Littoral Combat Ship, carries two shipping containers while deployed in the Pacific. One container stores tools and spare parts and the other container is a workshop.

The six Elbe-class replenishment ships of the German Navy support squadrons of fast attack craft, submarines, minesweepers and corvettes. The 3,500 tonne tenders carry fuel, fresh water, ammunition and food. The Elbe-class also carry a set of 13 standard containers on the deck. The containers provide workshops for the 35 support members on board to deliver repair and maintenance work at sea (www.naval-technology.com/projects/elbe-class).

MV Asterix will be an excellent force multiplier, allowing ships of the Royal Canadian Navy to remain at sea up to six times longer than if they sailed without an AOR. What if the RCN designed and built containerized workshops to carry in Asterix’s intermodal logistics area? How much longer could missions be extended? As the containers are accessible while Asterix is at sea, could the sheltered decks provide extra workspace for repairs? The RCN’s MCDV and AOPS are capable of carry ISO containers. Is there an opportunity to build more than one set of containerized workshops to load on board a MCDV or AOPS for a mission to the Arctic, the Caribbean or Africa? When Asterix is equipped with a Mexeflote raft, could the containerized workshops be off-loaded onto the Mexeflote to conduct repairs or maintenance on a ship at anchor while Asterix rejoins the fleet to replenish the rest of the group?

Extending the range and endurance of the frigates, MCDVs, submarines and PCTs of the RCN’s Pacific fleet (22 vessels) should be sufficient reason for a second-interim AOR. Could expeditionary maintenance capability change the decision on the need for another interim AOR?

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