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US Navy hones surface combatant expeditionary reloading in Red Sea

USS Laboon has been able to continue operations in the Red Sea more effectively with expeditionary reloading operations. (Michael Fabey)

As the US Navy (USN) leadership pushes for an ability to re-arm ships at sea, the service is learning how to reload its ships in the Red Sea region as its surface combatants continue to patrol the region and protect themselves and other vessels from Houthi attacks, according to USN Commander Eric Blomberg, commanding officer of guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58), one of the ships now operating in these waters.

“As for expeditionary reload, I've already done it more than once,” Cdr Blomberg told Janes on 12 June during an interview on his ship in the Red Sea.

“Last time I was in, we were in and out in under a day,” Cdr Blomberg said. “They're getting pretty good.”

USN Secretary Carlos Del Toro underscored the need to move its initiative to re-arm ships at sea into faster gear on 9 April during a keynote speech at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space 2024 global maritime exposition in National Harbor, Maryland.

“I have directed my team to do everything possible to move our priority initiatives faster than the budget cycle,” Del Toro said. “One of our top near-term force development priorities is re-arming our warships at sea via the Transferrable Rearming Mechanism, or TRAM, for connected underway replenishment of our surface fleet's vertical launch systems (VLSs),” Del Toro added.

“Our team and I identified the promise of TRAM and resourced an at-sea demonstration with our existing below-threshold reprogramming authorities,” he said.

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