Increment 1 – Survey and Initial Operations

From the requirements, a basic task list can be created and from this task list, a comparison against current capabilities.

The first is to maintain a high readiness globally deployable survey team to assess a damaged, austere or well found port within the port boundary, below the water surface and approach lanes.

From the survey would come a plan to meet whatever the operational requirements there may be and from there, deploy appropriate resources to meet the plan, simple!

The tasks could range from deploying a linkspan into an established and well found port (for example Kuwait in 2003) or a complete rehabilitation like Haiti in 2010, with all points in between. In the review of current capabilities the mine countermeasures, explosive ordnance disposal and force protection capabilities are already in place and could simply be bolted on to the side of any deployment.

The sensible place to start when trying to describe a new capability is the organisational structures into which they will reside, at least the core capabilities. 17 Port and Maritime Regiment would be the logical starting point but because most of the actual personnel and equipment is likely to be engineering, a Royal Engineers regiment might also be valid, or even a Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers regiment. The Commando Logistics Regiment might also be a potential location.

Looking at the three options I think it would make more sense to attach a composite RE/REME/RLC squadron to 17 Port and Maritime Regiment, it is the logical choice.

To be clear, Increment 1 is focussed on providing an improvement to existing capabilities without breaking the bank. But the most significant cost would be personnel, an extra squadrons worth of personnel would need to be either re-rolled from other units or additional personnel added to the overall establishment. This additional capability would also make use of Army Reserve, contractor and retained reserve personnel.

17 Port and Maritime Regiment has the following;

  • 53 Squadron – HQ and Port Enabling
  • 52 Squadron – Mexeflotes
  • 53 Squadron – Work Boats

17 Port and Maritime is paired with an Army Reserve regiment, 165 (Wessex) Port and Enabling Regiment, which has the following;

  • 264 Squadron – HQ
  • 142 Squadron – Vehicle
  • 232 Squadron – Port
  • 265 Squadron – Port
  • 266 Squadron – Port
  • 710 Squadron – Operational Hygiene

509 STRE (port) would remain within 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group. 24 Engineer Regiment (Commando) would remain but provide force protection and additional combat engineering support for the expanded 17 Port and Maritime / 165 Port and Enabling regiments.

The proposal is to;

  1. Expand 53 Squadron so that it can maintain a high readiness survey function,
  2. Move the port enabling capability in 53 Squadron into a new squadron,
  3. Attach an engineering plant heavy Royal Engineers squadron,
  4. Attach a REME troop
  5. Attach an AGC troop

The range of tasks will be aligned to the requirements described above, to summarise again;

  • Conduct a survey and create a detailed requirement list,
  • Deploy sufficient force protection if deploying alone as a discrete force,
  • Clear the port, approaches and attached facilities of mines, IED’s and UXO’s,
  • Remove debris, wreckage and other impediments if the port infrastructure is damaged,
  • Repair portable and fixed equipment and infrastructure,
  • Dredge berths, turning circles and approach lanes to the required depth,
  • Repair or install mooring fixtures and berths,
  • Deploy and operate cargo handling and transportation equipment,
  • Deploy and operate ship handling boats or tugs,
  • Repair or installed aids to navigation,
  • Repair or install lighting,
  • Deploy a RORO linkspan,
  • Deploy a fire protection capability,
  • Create a RORO ramp,
  • Deploy temporary cargo storage,
  • Employ and pay local civilians as required,
  • Establish liquids storage and distribution facilities.

The only task that would be needed for every deployment is the first one, survey. All others would depend on the conditions of the port, the operating environment and any overarching mission requirements.

They might overlap and run in parallel depending on priorities.

It is also important to reiterate the scope of Increment 1; temporary repair and augmentation of existing facilities. Long term repairs and new build is outside the scope, these tasks being usually delivered by civilian contractors.

Conduct a Detailed Survey

To conduct a detailed survey the team will need to operate above and/or below the water surface. It is an and/or because the survey may well be conducted in a well found port against a very narrow requirement.

The full team might not therefore, always be needed.

The options are many, but can be loosely grouped into three categories;

  1. A damaged or austere port with no risk or IED’s, mines or attacks e.g. Port au Prince in Haiti 2010.
  2. A damaged or austere port with a risk or IED’s, mines or attacks e.g. Umm Qasr 2003.
  3. A well found port with no risk or IED’s, mines or attacks e.g. Kuwait in 2003

The mechanics of deployment will also require some flexibility.

In a deliberate operation one of the Royal Navy Echo class survey vessels would probably host the survey team and deploy its survey motor boat. In the rapidly deployed scenario, the ship would not be available and therefore an air deployed capability is needed. In this type of operation the survey team would be operating in the context of a wider operation and so would benefit from in theatre transport, force protection and logistic support. This means rapid deployability of the survey team becomes less of a concern because they are already in theatre.

In a response scenario, perhaps as a precursor to a wider operation or in response to a disaster, deployability is a key issue.

The survey team will need to be maintained at high readiness, wagons rolling in 4 to 8 hours followed by a flight into the target area with a boat or vehicle trip to the port. They must also be self-sustaining for a 72 hour deployment period.

If the target port is expected to contain IED’s or have a high risk of attack, some local force protection elements and an RE Search Team (REST) will be needed to support the survey team.

Rather than overt armoured vehicles it would be more practical to use B Vehicle types or light commercials because they would be more deployable.

Therefore, any equipment must be air deployable and vehicle mounted, demountable if operating from a ship.

Before deploying the survey team would extract information from existing sources; satellite imagery, Admiralty Charts and commercial information. This information would be loaded onto rugged laptops and taken with them. During the journey the team would plan the survey, optimal approach routes for example.

Port Map

The baseline requirement for a survey is to determine the general outline of the port, facilities and its buildings, before progressing to the underwater environment.

Most ports will already have some information available in the public domain or available in the Additional Military Layers (AML) data set from the UKHO Defence Maritime Geospatial Intelligence Centre, as ratified by NATO under STANAG 7170, but given the locations of likely target ports detailed information may not be available so a rapid environment assessment is the first stage in augmenting any existing information.

AML supports the following information sets;

  • Contour Line Bathymetry (CLB)
  • Environment, Seabed, and Beach (ESB)
  • Large Bottom Objects (LBO)
  • Maritime Foundation Facilities (MFF)
  • Routes, Areas, and Limits (RAL)
  • Small Bottom Objects (SBO)

In addition to AML, the Defence Maritime Geospatial Intelligence Centre provides Environmental Briefing Dockets (EBD), Strategic Port Products and Beach Intelligence and Survey Database (BISD) but they do not provide specific port capabilities information.

Public domain information will be readily available including satellite visuals and mapping and port information such as that available from the Lloyds List, IHS Fairplay Ports and Terminals Guide or Guide to Port Entry for example.

Commercial satellite imagery providers such as Digital Globe and Saab Vricon can provide geo corrected high resolution satellite imagery and 3D data on demand. A comprehensive picture should be available for most ports and these can be confirmed and expanded using a combination of rapid airborne surveys, physical inspection and local knowledge.

A rapid airborne survey of a port environment could easily be completed using any one of the many commercial unmanned systems now available at low cost. The two market leaders are senseFly and QuestAV. Both can produce hyper accurate geo referenced digital imagery using autonomous unmanned aircraft.

Post flight analysis is carried out to add reference points, ground information and stitch the imagery together into an orthomosaic image. It can then be exported in a number of formats suitable for inclusion in mapping and GIS systems, whether they be publically accessible through a UN On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) and MapBox or defence only.

QuestAV have recently introduced a system specifically for the marine environment called QuestUAV Aqua (imaginative I know!).

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This kind of rapid assessment and mapping system is probably enough for an initial survey, it will allow the team to create an accurate map of the port facilities, list buildings and equipment, evaluate routes and estimate capacities. Additional information can be obtained by traditional surveying techniques and laser scanning to create accurate 3D models.

3D building scan

In parallel with the ports built environment is its underwater environment; berths, turning circles and approach lanes. A hydrographic survey is required. Under keel clearances and declared depths are an important factor in determining whether a vessel can use the port, vessel squat, manoeuvring characteristics, accuracy of tidal ranges, sea state and rate of siltation will also need to be understood. S-57, the relevant standard, requires uncertainty to be quantified in ‘Zones of Confidence’

The Echo class hydrographic vessels have a wide range of survey equipment and for ports and harbours. The launches allow survey equipment to be carried into very shallow waters to collect data which is then merged and referenced to complete the complete picture. Equipment carried on the 9 tonne 9m long survey launches includes  a Kongsberg 2040 Multibeam Echo SounderKongsberg EA400 Single Beam Echo Sounder and a GeoAcoustics (now Kongsberg) 2094 Side Scan Sonar

The EM2040 is used for high resolution mapping and inspection in shallow water. For accurate survey work and second layer detection, the EA400 single beam echo sounder is deployed in conjunction with GPS. The Sonar 2094 is a dual frequency sidescan system used for wide area sea bed scanning. These systems and technologies are combined with RN survey expertise to produce extremely accurate surveys and charts of the seabed and water column. Multibeam, single beam and sidescan sonar is usually used for bathymetry or depth and relief measurements. Tilting the sensor allows data to be gathered right up to the water surface and the high resolution produces photo like very accurate imagery. A higher frequency scanning sonar is often used for collecting imagery from underwater structures, scour, sediment accumulation and pier damage for example and these are sometimes combined.

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hms enterprise loch ewe 2013[/tab]


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SMB Sapphire and Spitfire[/tab] [tab title=”2094 Sidescan Sonar”]

Kongsberg 2094 Sidescan Sonar[/tab] [tab title=”Kongsberg 2040 Multibeam Echo Sonar”]

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Kongsberg EA400 Single Beam Echo Sounder

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Misratah-Survey [/tab] [tab title=”Seabed”]

Bathymetric Survey 1

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A new technique that is gaining traction is to combine above and below water scanning to present a single model.

3D Scan 1

Laser scanning is also being utilised for this combined view application.
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3D Scan 2 [/tab] [tab title= “3D Scanning 2”]

3D Scan 3

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Unmanned systems such as the Royal Navy REMUS 100 AUV’s could be employed in the rapid environmental assessment and survey tasks. They are compact, robust and proven and have all the necessary modules, sensors and software to allow their use in a port environment, especially if there is a suspect mine threat.

The REMUS 100 is documented in the current capabilities section.

Tide gauges will be used to confirm tidal information, this is important to establish declared depth ranges at different times of day. Valeport and RS Aqua are two UK manufacturers that can supply internally powered and data logging gauges. They can be easily fitted using standard hand tools.

Tide Guages

Close inspection will require a diver team.

Divers can be drawn from the Royal Engineers, Royal Logistic Corps or Royal Navy, using existing capabilities and equipment.

One of the observations from the Haiti case study was the need to operate in an environment that contained sewage, petrochemicals and other unpleasant pollutants. Protective equipment is available and should be included as required. The ‘Dirty Harry’ system from Divex is a good example, a complete system designed specifically for diving in contaminated waters.

Divex Dirty Harry System

Once the survey team has established the basic outline of the ports facilities and started work on the water environment they will need to assess the state of the ports buildings, vehicles, power distribution, lighting, container handling, security and aids to navigation.

This of course, cannot be done remotely, neither can the survey ignore workers and administrators of the port.

The team will need to conduct a physical inspection of plant, equipment and facilities and wherever possible, conduct this in conjunction with the locals, for it is they that will have intimate knowledge that should not be discounted. Using the mapping and GIS system fixed infrastructure can have additional data attached.

A bespoke application may be needed that allows rapid capture of imagery and status information in order to build up the overall picture and transfer as necessary to any shared data set.

Although I have not discussed this a great deal the need for a common and cohesive ‘picture’ of the port, its facilities and environs is one of the most important parts of the survey process. Having isolated pieces of data will result in wasted effort.

The final part of the equipment component is to make a choice on vehicles and boats.

Where the team is staging from one of the Echo class survey vessels the survey launch would be used but in a rapid response scenario another survey launch or workboat will be needed with the same types of equipment and a processing environment on one of the team vehicles.

Launch and recovery of the survey motor boats from HMS Echo or Enterprise does not need to concern itself with road and air transport issues but in the rapid deploy scenario, the team must take one with them. The current craft on HMS Echo and Enterprise are capable, but rather large, and this makes rapid deployment by road and air problematical.

Although the A400M or even C130 might be sometimes used it is more likely that a C17 on national tasking will be used for the rapid response task and so it is the C17 cargo bay dimensions that need to be considered. Maximising the cube is important because it leads to considerations of whether to use trailers or different types of vehicle and of course, what type of boat to use.

C17 Cargo Bay Dimensions

As the diagram above shows, taking out the ramp space (which is often used for pallets) the C17 has a cargo box of approximately 5.5m wide, 20m long with a height depending how far along the cargo bay you are, between 4.5 and 4m.

Whatever the survey team use, it must fit inside those dimensions.

The easiest option would be to dispense with a large boat altogether and use inflatable craft like the Zodiac FC470 Inflatable Raiding Craft MkIII or Avon WS525 inflatable craft used by the mine countermeasures force, but I think this would be a sub optimal solution given the amount of sonar, motion sensing, display and positioning equipment needed to be carried for the survey task.

Avon and Zodiac

A general purpose workboat is also required for other tasks such as surveying aids to navigation and diver support so it would be good to combine the two.

It is here that a number of compromises and trade-offs might have to be made; the survey and diver support role requires consideration of speed, shelter, hull strength, power provision, manoeuvrability, deck space, endurance, sea keeping, stability, fuel consumption and any number of other characteristics.

Above all though, transportability and ease of launch and recovery are the main limiting factors.

Launch and recovery via a slipway ramp or beach may not be possible and so launch over the quayside using a hydraulic jib or crane may be the only viable method, this will impose weight limits unless we also want to send a crane with the survey team.

In order to accommodate both methods (slipway and jib) the workboat will have to be trailer mounted.

The equipment most likely to fit the basic requirement is the RE/RLC Combat Support Boat and its specialist trailer.

Combat Support Boat Trailer 02

Unladen weight is 4.75 tonnes, length 8.8m, beam 2.77m and draught 0.65m. It is smaller than the Mustang Marine Spitfire/Sapphire survey launches embarked on Echo and Enterprise, but not that much. The CSB trailer from Oldbury adds another 6.1 tonnes, and is 10m long.

At over 11 tonnes, the CSB and trailer is not a small load and so it is usually towed by large logistics vehicles, as the image above shows.

Together, the total length of the trailer and truck will be short of the 20m of the C17 cargo deck. At over 3.5m width it would only leave 2m width for any other vehicle which might result in a C17 only able to carry a single truck and a single CSB trailer. We could try and use a shorter vehicle, a shorter or narrower boat. A short wheelbase MAN HX60 is available but not in service and would not release enough length to be useable for another vehicle in any case.

The shorter vehicles in service like Land Rovers and Duro’s do not have the towing capacity.

There are vehicles available on the open market such as the Mercedes Benz Unimog Tool Carrier that has the towing capacity and approximately 5.2m long. This would allow another short wheelbase vehicle to fit within the 20m C17 cargo deck but still leaves the width problem, two very short wheelbase vehicles and the CSB/trailer would be all that could be carried.

A shorter and narrower workboat would unlock much of the C17 useable space, although of course, it may be compromised as a work boat. One that could be stacked would also be useful if two stacked was less than the 4.5m height of the C17 cargo deck.

These are interesting trade-offs but deployability is the driving factor which leads to an outline specification of 5-6m long and less than 2.5m beam. For durability, aluminium construction is preferred, with a lightweight or demountable wheelhouse shelter. There are many small craft manufacturers in the UK who should be able to fulfil such a requirement, the images below show Alnmaritec 6m x 2m workboats without a wheelhouse.

Alnmatitec workboat

Another possible design choice is a 6-7m workboat from Munson Workboats in the USA. Resembling a small landing craft they are adaptable, available in many configurations and sturdy, with a good track record.

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Munson Workboats 2

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Munson Workboats 4

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Munson Workboats 1

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Munson Workboats 3

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The craft can be fitted with the survey and diver support equipment.

One of the key attributes of these smaller work boats is their relatively narrow beam, less than 2.4m. It is this narrow beam that is so critical for carriage inside the C17 because it allows a second payload to be carried side by side, in our case, another set of vehicles.

The next key decision is means of transport and launch and recovery.

Because of the potential conditions at the target port the workboat may be launched in three modes;

  • Slipway
  • Beach
  • Lift in

Slipway and beach launch would use a trailer, these are widely available.

If no facilities exist for slipway or beach launch the workboat could use the lift in launch method, effectively, craning it over the side of a quayside.

The conventional solution would be to use a hydraulic telescopic jib as fitted to many British Army vehicles but this might be unsuitable as this type of jib generally speaking, is not used for lifting and lowering loads beneath the ground or load bed level.

Cranes are usually used for boat launching.

Boat launch crane

Taking a crane with the survey team just for launching and recovering the 1-2 tonnes workboat would be wasteful.
Three options are available.

First, use a larger jib than would be needed just for the weight that would accommodate a higher lift using fixed length strops and therefore enough clearance to reach lower than ground level. Second, use a truck mounted crane and third, use a demountable device.

A demountable crane such the Unic URW-376 has the lift and reach for the workboat and when stowed, is relatively compact, especially in height, an important factor for air carriage. It is already in service with the RAF for use with the Chinook fleet and has air carriage and sling loading clearances.

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Unic Crane RAF[/tab] [tab title=” Unic Spider Cranes Video”]

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Weight is approximately 4 tonnes and they could be easily carried on a truck, when folded they are 4.3m long, 1.3m wide and 1.8m high. The demountable option might also provide greater access than a truck mounted version, especially if the quayside is damaged.

Unic also make a range of truck mounted cranes that offer a number of advantages over hydraulic jib cranes such as greater outreach the ability to position loads beneath ground level. They could be mid or read mounted on a suitable truck. Mounting at the mid-point provides stowage direction flexibility, either over the cab or over the load bed. Reversing such a truck into the C17 with over cab stowage of the crane boom would allow the boom to use the ramp void, thus preserving useful load space.

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Unic cranes[/tab] [tab title=”Stowage Options”]

Unic truck mounted crane[/tab] [tab title = Unic Truck Mounted Crane Video”]

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Truck mounting looks like the sensible option.

Taking into account the towing frame and attachment points the length of the workboat on its trailer would be approximately 8m, leaving 12m free for a towing or other vehicle(s)

Although the C17 cargo deck is approximately 5.5m wide this does not mean that two vehicles of 2.25m wide can be carried side by side. There has to be space to actually drive the vehicles in and for securing chains to be fitted. Vehicle width is therefore very important for the objective of maximising the available space.

Vehicle selection is influenced by any number of factors; volume and weight of stores, number of personnel, dimensions and weights, suitability for towing and crane mounting, mobility requirements and support arrangements to name but a few.

It would be preferable to use an in service vehicle from a support and training perspective but for such a niche role as this, alternatives might offer a better outcome. These alternatives may range include light commercial vehicles.

For the workboat towing role, and because it may have to be launched from a beach, a reasonably high level of mobility will be required. Because of width, overall length issues and a desire to avoid putting all the survey eggs into a single basket, I have discounted the in service MAN HX/SX Support Vehicles.

For the purpose of this exercise I am going to look at a handful of vehicles, some in service, some not.

Pinzguaers and Duros are in service and enjoy established logistic support infrastructure. They have both been used with box bodies and trailers and easily transported by C130, C17 and A400 aircraft.

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Mowag Duro 1[/tab] [tab title=”Duro 2″]

Mowag Duro 2

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Mowag Duro 3

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Pinzgauer 1

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Out of the two, the Duro is perhaps the better choice as especially high mobility is not required and it is still being manufactured and supported by General Dynamics.

At 2.16m wide and between 5.7m and 6.7m long for the 4 axle and 6 axle variants respectively it would fit comfortably in the single 20m C17 lane, even with an 8m workboat trailer. The Duro might have a problem with sandy and shingle beaches and mounting the Unic crane so its selection is not certain.

The The Iveco Daily 4×4 would provide a good alternative at very low cost but again, beach mobility, towing power and suitability for crane mounting would preclude it.

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Iveco Dailey 4x4 1

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Iveco Dailey 4x4 2

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The next obvious choice is a Mercedes Benz Unimog

The Unimog is available in two major variants, the implement (or tool) carrier and the all-terrain, each having a number of models and options. The implement carrier can be fitted with numerous attachments for many different industries and the all-terrain is optimised for load carriage in difficult terrain.


For towing and launching/recovering the workboat, either would be suitable, but the all-terrain, arguably more versatile.

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Mercedes Benz Unimog 5

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Mercedes Benz Unimog 4

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Unimog 1

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Unimog 2

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Adding a Unic crane would be simple and a crew cab would provide additional seating for personnel. The load bed could be used for other stores. With an overall width of 2.48m and height of 3.5m with the Unic crane it fits well inside the C17 envelope. The long wheelbase variant is 6m long and so taken together with the workboat trailer it would be 14m long, leaving at least 6m, not accounting for the tail ramp area.

It would be subject to trials and confirmation but a single C17 should be able to carry at least one other similarly sized vehicle if it is loaded in single file and uses the ramp area. If side by side loading were possible then this could increase to at least three additional vehicle, more if smaller vehicles like the Iveco Daily or Duro were used.

It would be desirable to keep all vehicles the same for obvious support reasons but detailed load planning might force the issue.

Each vehicle would need air conditioning, heating and other modifications to make them suitable for use in a waterside environment in either very hot or very cold conditions. Additional stores carried would include fuel, water and rations for at least 72 hours, spares and tools, shelter, the REMUS 100 AUV’s, survey RPAS, computing and communications equipment, diver support and medical supplies. One of the vehicles could be used as a working environment or tentage carried as normal.

One option for shelter and a working environment would be to simply throw a 12×12 tent and some folding tables onto the back but in extremes of climate this might not create an optimal environment for the survey team to work so a demountable ‘command post’ container could be used. Using a demountable container would allow it to be offloaded and the vehicle used for other purposes during the survey.

Because the container would not need to be continually loaded and offloaded a hydraulic system would not be needed although a hydraulic jib would be fitted to the vehicle with the survey boat and could be used. The other method of offloading the command shelter would be to use a Haacon system.

Fitted to the side of the container would be a ‘lean to’ shelter that could provide additional space, or, the shelter could be extendable. There are also many options for air beam or rigid frame soft skinned shelters (tents to you and me).

The basic plastic box is also subject to thinking on packing density and how they fit on pallets and in containers. A good example is the Peli ISP2 case (previously Hardigg Industries) that are available in 64 dimension options. All of them have a grid pattern on the lid and base so they interlock which reduces case movement when stacked without strapping. There are also a number of accessories available such as forklift runners for the larger cases. Already in service with deep trousered NGO’s, and the MoD, is the Zarges Euro Container, again available in size combinations that are optimised for Euro Pallets.

[tabs] [tab title=”Soft Skinned Shelter”]

Shelters 1

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Shelters 2

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Peli ISP boxes

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Communications in the local area between teams would be delivered by VHF radios and for reach-back communications, especially data transfer, a compact satellite system could be used. There are many available in service and commercially.

To conduct a typical 72 hours survey task the team comprise approximately 12 personnel.

An interesting alternative to using a conventional workboat and trailer would be an amphibious vehicle. The reason an amphibious vehicle is worth considering is to maximise space inside the C17 and avoid the need for a trailer to launch and recover the workboat on a beach. Most available designs are optimised for short river crossings or similar short distance calm water applications, not launch and recovery over a beach or survey and diver support tasks inside a port.

Contenders might include;

The CTruck Avenger amphibious rescue and survey vehicle, Searoader Amphitruck and Gibbs Phibian. The Sea Legs concept is also worthy of consideration, although the workboat would still need transporting via vehicle for any appreciable distance it would negate the need for a trailer. The technology has been licenced to a number of builders including Stabicraft and ReconCraft.

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Getting There in Strength

Following the survey task a series of work packages would be created, resourced and delivered as part of follow on port opening/augmentation activity. These tasks may be carried out in parallel, in their entirety or just one or two.

Increment 1 is designed to be flexible.

Except for the survey task, the majority of Increment 1 capabilities will be deployed by sea and the most likely host vessel would be one of the Bay class LSD(A)’s.

As described in the existing capabilities section they are versatile and capable vessels. We should not that in loading a Bay LSD(A) with port opening stores any amphibious or other operation would be denied the capacity.

To recap on their capacities;

Capacity includes 1,150 lane meters for vehicles and containers, 2,000 tonne cargo capacity and accommodation for between 350 and 700 personnel depending on overload conditions. This is enough to accommodate the engineering and logistics personnel

Smaller landing craft or work boats can be carried on deck and lifted to the surface by the 30 tonne capacity deck cranes. Mexeflotes are side loaded, one on either side of the hull and with a single LCU Mk10, the ship to shore transport capacity is high. This allows stores, vehicles, plant and personnel to be transferred into the target port in a relatively short time.

Because the port augmentation operation has relatively little need for aviation the extremely large flight deck could be used to carry extra stores and vehicles.

A single LSD(A) is therefore likely to be enough for most of Increment 1 tasks.

It is also likely that in all but the rapid response mission there would be one of the Echo class survey vessels and MCM vessels as required. The survey, dive support and mine clearance personnel and equipment would be hosted on these vessels, there would be no need for demountable systems.

Once in place the planning team will need to balance the needs of establishing enough engineering capability onshore with the need to get the port open or ready for additional shipping. The use of lighterage such as landing craft and Mexeflotes should be kept to a minimum because it is a fundamentally inefficient means of transferring anything from a ship to shore. This might result in a minimum use of such lighterage in order to offload just enough equipment to effect a repair, for example, to allow the LSD(A) to dock and unload using normal means.

Each situation will be different.

Most port environments will have a small slip way or beach that will allow the LCU and Mexeflote to offload. Equipment may then need to be driven off the beach or slipway and into the port.

Force Protection and Mine/IED/UXO Clearance

Clearance of mines, IED’s and UXO’s is likely to be on ongoing operation conducted in phases.

Force protection, mine, IED and UXO clearance would be delivered by existing capabilities described in the current capabilities section of this document, no additional equipment or personnel would be needed.

It is unlikely that major combat operations would be ongoing at the same time as port augmentation for theatre entry or disaster relief but there may be harassing indirect fire or simply heightened tension as a result of the existing security environment. Pilfering from the local population may also be an issue, especially for fuel and other valuable commodities.

Personnel, stores, fuel, vehicles and other equipment will therefore need protection after initial clearance operations have concluded. Once a safe area has been cleared, the first task will be to create a protected compound for the port operations and engineer squadron(s) involved with the operation. There may be existing fenced off or secure areas and these would generally be first choice but if not, a temporary solution will be needed.

If there are empty ISO containers available they would be easy to reposition and use as barriers. They could be augmented with HESCO barriers or simple solutions such as Heras Readyfence or Ready Hoard, whatever is most appropriate and easiest to implement. Heras panels can be fitted with a cheap and effective fence mounted detection system or the wireless intrusion sensors like the Heras Sentor (there are many more alternatives available).

Defencell, is an alternative product to HESCO with some key differences.

[tabs] [tab title=”Heras Readyfence”]

Heras readyfence

[/tab] [tab title=”Heras Hoarding”]

Heras hoarding

[/tab] [tab title=”HESCO RAID”]

[/tab] [tab title=”HESCO CART”]

[/tab] [tab title=”Defencell”]

[/tab] [/tabs]

It should also be noted that in some instances, especially those of a well found port is being augmented in some way, there may be no requirement at all for protected compounds, additional work spaces or other facilities.



Table of Contents


Case Studies

The Normandy Landings

The San Carlos Landings

Umm Qasr


Current Capabilities

UK amphibious Doctrine


Mine Countermeasures

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)

Amphibious Assault and Logistics

US Amphibious Logistics

Making a Case for Change

Increment 1


Survey and Initial Operations

Repairing and Augmenting the Port

A Summary and Final Thoughts on Increment 1

Increment 2


Existing Solutions and Studies



Shore Connector

Wave Attenuation

Closing Comments

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August 31, 2015 7:25 am

I think it’s now just 51 and 52 Squadron? From a FOIA.

January 9, 2016 2:14 pm

There was a paper on transonic hulls, a triangular wedge that the authors claimed could also be adapted for submerged ops for the last few km.

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