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Guam-based submarine tenders prove valuable for LCS maintenance

The US Navy (USN) is placing increasing reliance on its ageing submarine tenders for the support of its littoral combat ships (LCSs) in the Indo-Pacific, according to Captain Tom Ogden, commander, Destroyer Squadron Seven (DESRON 7).

Based at Guam in the Pacific, USS Emory S Land (AS 39) and USS Frank Cable (AS 40) primarily used to provide expeditionary intermediate level (I-level) maintenance and repairs, as well as hotel service and logistics support to deployed nuclear-powered guided missile and attack submarines (SSNs) deployed in the 5th Fleet and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.

“Having the tenders here [in Guam] is huge,” said Capt Ogden, during an 11 June media briefing on LCS operations and naval integration in the region. “They are not only supporting submarines, they are also supporting the other ships [such as LCS] we have here.”

One case in point was the recent employment of a tender to support maintenance teams that had travelled out from San Diego to perform maintenance on LCS vessels. “As an example of the tender work, we had a bolt [we] were trying to remove, a large bolt,” said Capt Ogden. “And we didn't have the capability on the LCS to remove it.

“On the tender, they were able to machine a tool that can remove this bolt. That's something about being just in the vicinity of the tender, you can bring maintenance capability over here to any ship in the region. You can increase the level of [maintenance] availability that can be done on ships.”

With both submarine tenders commissioned in 1979, the USN is now taking the first steps towards replacements. A draft solicitation for AS(X) preliminary design activities is due to be issued shortly.

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