Ship to Shore Logistics – 26 (Wrapping Up)

Having defined a fairly broad capability set the means of getting it into theatre has to be considered.

Although they aim to achieve different things CONCEPT 2 is a natural extension of CONCEPT 2 and much of the equipment and personnel required would be involved with both.

To recap;

CONCEPT 1 calls for a rapid repair and/or augmentation of existing ports such that medium sized RORO or container vessels can be offloaded within a 48 hour time period.

CONCEPT 2 calls for a deployable pier head and shore connecting pier that can offload medium sized RORO or container vessels in a 48-96 hour time period.

CONCEPT 1 comprises the following components;

  • Survey and Munitions Clearance
  • Repair and Debris Removal
  • Dredging, Security, Aids to Navigation and Mooring
  • RORO Linkspan and Cargo Handling

The survey and munitions clearance equipment and personnel could be carried by A400M or C17 should the need arise. It would be more difficult to airlift some of the heavy plant, modular pontoons and workboats but there is nothing on the kit list than cannot be lifted by a C17 and most of it can be lifted by A400M.

Ordinarily, CONCEPT 1 would be hosted on a single Bay class LSD(A) and RN survey/MCM vessels.

In practice, this would mean taking an LSD(A) out of the logistics plan for an embarked force but that would be traded against a more rapid force build up by allowing the follow on phase with the Strategic RORO and other civilian vessels.

In a coalition operation, this loss of deck and dock space could be compensated by spreading or using other members of the coalition force.

New equipment includes a small amount of heavy plant, containerised survey workspaces, a modular pontoon system, linkspan, sheet piling rig,  portable lighting towers and generators, a Meercat workboat, tower mounted surveillance equipment, modular dredging rig, landing stage and a number of yard trucks and trailers. This is an extensive shopping list but it is not an expensive one. A quick tot up of estimated costs would suggest no more than £50m capital. On top of that would be the usual support, training, documentation and training costs but even applying a fairly generous three times rule of thumb the introduction costs would be in the order of £150m. This is of course not a small amount of money but it is not huge either.

Most of the personnel and other resource costs are already within the MoD.

CONCEPT 1 could easily be a sovereign capability and unique, even when one includes the US.

If it costs £150m to establish then somewhere, someone would be seeing that amount coming off their project line so this is not as simple as saying ‘want that one’

I will leave it to others to argue what that would be or whether this is sufficiently worthwhile to cause pain elsewhere, my opinion is, it is.

Given the dual use nature it might even provide some opportunity for a bit of trickery re the DFiD disaster response budget. I know this is often raised as the great white hope of anything vaguely related to logistics and I would certainly not be opposed to this kind of thinking, surely it can’t be that difficult.

CONCEPT 2 on the other hand is much more that a tweak here and a small purchase order there, it requires the following;

  • One or two self propelled jackup pier head ships
  • Shore access pier with range of pier supports
  • Construction jackup
  • Deployable breakwater and wide range of equipment handling machinery.

It would also need extensive design, testing and system integration.

Assuming a single Pier Head with the same 3x rule of thumb for non equipment purchase costs I don’t think there would be a great deal of change from £500m which a major project in its own right.

The personnel uplift would not be huge but probably in the order of 200-300 including the Integrated Project Team so this would add more to the ongoing costs and training/exercise costs would also be substantial.

There is no doubt that if realised, the capability on offer from CONCEPT 2 would be unique and the UK might consider delivering this as a sovereign capability (even with raiding the DFiD piggy bank) as an area of specialisation, declared to NATO as applicable.

As Europe seeks to become, even a little, more self sufficient in military enabling capabilities some shared or pooled arrangement would also be worth exploring with NATO and/or European allies.

Across Europe there is a wealth of experience in every single aspect of both concepts, collectively it is an area where Europe leads the world.

Exploiting this expertise, maximising Europe and NATO’s soft power, providing a unique and worthwhile military logistics  capability in an area that is likely to see increasing demand seems a good decision to me.

So there you go, hope you enjoyed reading and commenting on this series as much as I enjoyed writing it.


Other Posts in this Series

Ship to Shore Logistics – 01 (Introduction)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 02 (History – 1944 Europe)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 03 (History – 1982 the Falkland Islands)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 04 (History – 2003 Iraq)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 05 (History – 2010 Haiti)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 06 (Case Study Observations)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 07 (Doctrine and Concepts)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 08 (Requirements and Drivers)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 09 (Current Capabilities and Future Plans)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 10 (Allies – the USA)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 11 (Mid Point Review)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 12 (Ports, Beaches or Both)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 13 (Expeditionary Port Access Concepts)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 14 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 1 – Survey and Munitions Clearance)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 15 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 1 – Repair and Debris Removal)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 16 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 1 – Dredging, Aids to Navigation and Mooring)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 17 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 1 – RORO Link Span and Cargo Handling)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 18 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 1 – Summary)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 19 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 2 – Introduction)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 20 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 2 - Why Not Just Buy JLOTS)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 21 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 2 – Requirements and Components)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 22 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 2 – Pier Head and Material Handling)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 23 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 2 – Access Pier)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 24 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 2 – Fuel)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 25 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 2 – Wave Attenuation)

Ship to Shore Logistics – 26 (Wrapping Up)


About Think Defence

Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!

7 thoughts on “Ship to Shore Logistics – 26 (Wrapping Up)

  1. tweckyspat

    Awesome series, thank you.

    I am already a convert but I never understood why UK plc did not maintain a niche excellence in this area. Heaps of bang for the buck; certainly for concept 1

  2. jed

    Superb. May I suggest self publishing it all as an e-book on Amazon to make your self some money ? Its a shame there is no engineering faculty at the Open University, I would make the basis of a cracking 15 point course !

  3. colky7

    As above, excellent series, can’t imagine how much work you put into this. Thanks. Agree with Jed that you should try and get yourself some sort of financial reward as the amount of detail and interest deserves it…

  4. KRT

    You can make the harbour definition less demanding, by embarking tanks by other means, especially JLOTS, and limiting the harbour to logistics with truckloads. This in turn reduces the demands on the pier, one of the bottlenecks of boths concepts if being realized (civilian harbours will not be layed out for transporting battle tanks).
    In wave attentuation there seems nothing more suited to rough sea states than the Bombardon or a derivate thereof. A CONCEPT 2 harbour will likely be exposed to rough seas and not sit in some naturally protected area.
    The pier head must be transportable and quick to install, making it more or less a ship or a barge. I agree with you that this demanding capability might be shared among European allies and a constant production line with standardized dual use exports would be a viable option in my opinion. It does create civilian and military infrastructure each time such a pier head (harbour) is deployed. Having always one such pierhead out of the production line in reserve would help in many natural disaster relief efforts with positive longterm effects, additional to the military value. Plus, it would secure timelines being met for civilian customers.

  5. Leadslug

    Excellent series and no fantasy fleets involved.
    Could the CONCEPT 1 also be part- funded by HMG home office? for use in British emergency for example a lot of the equipment & personnel would be handy in the after-effects of the recent storm surge & the Cumbria floods?

  6. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    As a military-philosophical/’physiological’ ‘panel-of-(conceptual-) tests’, this has been quite instructive:
    - This extensive effort has been a broad investigation of Civil Engineering- and associated Mechanical Challenges, with in-depth details, visuals etc. incl. even some considerations on budgets. As stated early on, it leverages a plethora of ‘systems’ designed for mostly ‘other’ (non-aggressive) purposes. All around broad awareness.

    And then – perhaps made redundant by an equally in-depth discussion some time earlier, but apparently not integrated with… – NO WORD on how to actually get to the point where setting up ‘Logistics-Central’ would seem remotely plausible tactically, politically !!??

    Unless this is exclusively about (mid-duration/adequate lead-time ?!) HA/DR scenarios, it would seem that establishing these conditions first – ‘shaping’ the theater – should somewhere be part of this narrative – at least with some reference to (presumably) some earlier equally-in-depth treatment of “Ship to Shore – Logistics: Phase -1 How do we get there with what ?”

    “Phase-1″ will massively influence what can plausibly be
    - planned for,
    - scheduled-in,
    - built-commercial-teams-around,
    - systems-contracted-for,
    - assembled-in-preparation-of,
    - towed-across-the-ocean-for,
    - specifically-formulate-contracts-for-respective-well-paid-specialists,
    - seasonally-correctly-phased-for.

    Even as a matter of immediate HA/DR mission, much of this will take longer than many folks and systems of local governance can physically sustain themselves in anticipation of… Is not even HMS Illustrious pretty much already done with the Haynan-aftermath.

    As a military-philosophical/physiological ‘test’ of current thinking ‘over-there’ on the inextricably-intertwined complex of both aggressive-amphibious and follow-on engineering issues, this has been quite ‘revealing’ indeed.
    My mind would have been put at ease early on, if “Ship-To-Shore Phase-1…” had been reasonably resolved before the big tool-chests and machinery come out to put together the massive bits of however temporary shore-side infrastructure.

    Could somebody (patiently) advise on where to read up on “Phase-1″ to put this 26 chapters-effort into context to arrive at a conceptual whole ? Between the energy invested in producing this study, and the energy invested in it by its readers, I hope that I find myself just ‘woe-fully’ under-informed of some matching earlier effort.

    In any scenario, the question remains of how would that ‘shaping’ force be pulled together from what assets ? The NATO-MEB proposal to stand up a potent force met little resonance – despite the fact that in the context of these 26 chapters, “Phase-1″ has to be executed first somehow…

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