Naval Sea Systems Command

Expeditionary Transfer Dock (ESD) /Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB)
Program Summary

The Expeditionary Transfer Dock (ESD) and Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship classes are highly flexible platforms that may be used across a broad range of military operations supporting multiple operational phases. Acting as a mobile sea base, they will be part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to provide prepositioned equipment and sustainment with flexible distribution.

NORFOLK (August 3, 2016) USNS LEWIS B. PULLER (T-ESB 3) off the coast of Norfolk conducting airborne mine countermeasure operations.
The ESD and ESB ships were originally called the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) and the MLP Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB), respectively. In September 2015,the Secretary of the Navy redesignated these hulls to conform to traditional three-letter ship designations.

The design of these ships are based on the Alaska class crude oil carrier, which was built by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company. Leveraging commercial designs ensures design stability and lower development costs.

USNS Montford Point (T-ESD 1) and USNS John Glenn (T-ESD 2) are configured with the Core Capability Set (CCS), which consists of a vehicle staging area, vehicle transfer ramp, large mooring fenders and up to three Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) vessel lanes to support its core transfer requirements. With a 9,500 nautical mile range at a sustained speed of 15 knots, these approximately 80,000 ton, 785-foot ships leverage float-on/float-off technology and a reconfigurable mission deck to maximize capability. Additionally, the ships’ size allows for 25,000 square feet of vehicle and equipment stowage space and 380,000 gallons of JP-5 fuel storage.

The government designed CCS will provide inherent modularity and flexibility to ensure that ESD can support and execute a variety of missions including humanitarian support and sustainment of traditional military missions. ESD will provide the core capabilities to transfer vehicles and equipment at-sea and then interface with surface connectors to deliver the vehicles and equipment ashore. The CCS as installed is one configuration for an ESD mission set that can be augmented, allowing future capabilities to support a range of military operations. Ship utility services support provided to the mission deck will enable the flexibility which could include additional capabilities such as berthing, medical, command and control, mission planning, connected replenishment, a container handling crane, and an aviation operating spot. Many of these capabilities have been incorporated in the ESB variant already delivered.

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3) is the first ESB, and along with follow-on ships, ESB 4 and ESB 5, will be optimized to support a variety of maritime based missions including Airborne Mine Counter Measure (AMCM) operations and Special Operations Force (SOF) missions. The ESBs include a flight deck and are designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging support, and command and control assets. USNS Lewis B. Puller has completed her required PDT&T test activities and is preparing for operational tasking later in FY2017.

Updated Jan 2017
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